“Filipino or Asian women think that because menstrual blood makes up a lot of dirty blood, the more blood you lose the better,” says Dr. Delfin Tan, who heads the section of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility in St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City during the product launch of Qlaira at the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
“In the Philippines, clinical experience indicates a significant increase in the prevalence of heavy menstrual bleeding but this has not been given serious attention,” continues Dr. Tan.
That is why Bayer through its latest offering, an oral contraceptive estradiol valerate/dienogest or Qlaira® brings to mind a way to significantly reduce Heavy Menstrual Bleeding (HMB), or what used to be called dysfunctional uterine bleeding and menorrhagia (two different terms).
If you worry about your menses going too quick, you need not worry as that is not HMB. Dr. Tan shares, “You can have two menses in a month as long as the interval from the first day to the next menstruation is 24 days. You can go through a month without menstruating because the interval could be as long as 38 days.”
Dr. Ian Milsom, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology from Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden says.“If you want to check very easily if you have HMB, there are two simple questions you can ask yourself.”
- Do you get up at night to change your sanitary protection? If you do then you are most likely to have HMB.
- How many sanitary pads do you use during your period? If you’re soaking every hour then it’s likely you have HMB.
HMB is common during the start of the fertile age or those beginning their menses at age 12 and 13. It is, however, more common in women aged 35 to 45.
Studies have estimated that up to 52 percent of women experience HMB at some point in their lives.In clinical practices, the prevalence of HMB is likely to be underestimated as only a minority of women seek medical advice for this condition.
However, those who fail to seek medical attention may not see the risks that they are putting themselves in. A woman who has HMB, says Dr. Milsom, “is very likely to have anemia, and become very tired and not have the normal strength, this is why it influences working performance. It is also emotionally stressful to have this menstrual bleeding. It’s an economic bleeding because you have to use more sanitary protection. It’s an economic burden to society because it means that you are away from work.”
“Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common problem that can have a significant negative impact on a woman’s everyday activities. New analyses confirm that estradiol valerate/dienogest is an attractive treatment option for women with heavy menstrual bleeding,” said Dr. Milsom.
Netdoctor.com reports that (http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/health_advice/facts/menstruationheavy.htm) causes of heavy menstrual bleeding are the following:
- In younger women, heavy periods may be due to a temporary hormone imbalance, which eventually corrects itself.
- For women 45 years of age onwards, or those in the menopausal phase, heavy menstrual bleeding often indicates hormone imbalance. However, the possibility of heavy periods due to an underlying disease increases with age.
- Other medical conditions that may be indicated by heavy menstrual bleeding include fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, polyps on the lining of the womb, and a condition called dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), which refers to heavy menstrual bleeding without any known reason.
Both Dr. Tan and Dr. Milsom agree that it’s time to see a gynecologist if the bleeding is disrupting daily activities and affecting one’s quality of life.
Interventions and oral contraceptives
Any interventions should aim to improve quality of life measures. According to Dr. Tan, when you go visit a doctor, your ob-gynecologist would be more concerned for tumors or infection, especially if you are of age. Also, there are drugs such as Qlaira available in the market today to treat HMB.
Qlaira is a combined contraceptive and an approved treatment for HMB. This is the first contraceptive that provides women with a non-invasive, short-acting treatment that preserves their reproductive health. It delivers estradiol, the same estrogen produced by a woman’s body.
Clinical trials show that Estradiol valerate/dienogest or Qlaira have helped reduced the blood flow by as much as 88 percent after treatment versus baseline. Reduction in HMB is a class effect, however oral contraceptives are typically known to reduce menstrual bleeding by 35-43%.
“What Qlaira could provide would be lighter bleeding, significantly shorter bleeding and spotting days for women. The preparation provides good cycle control, it is an effective contraceptive, and provides potentially fewer hormone side effects,” said Dr. Milsom.