Women can expect changes in their periods with aging, but if flow becomes heavy, painful and prolonged, they should see a doctor. Dr. Charles Moniak, an OB-GYN at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital in Fountain Valley, California, says many women who have heavy, painful periods have fibroid tumors or noncancerous growths in their uteruses.
About 40 percent of women have fibroids, often with no symptoms.
Tests: A pelvic exam. If more questions arise, an ultrasound is done.
Treatment: Fibroids can be monitored every three to six months and left untreated. Monitoring is important, however, because fast-growing fibroids can be cancerous. For pain or increased bleeding, nonsteroidal pain relievers can help. Sometimes birth control pills or hormones are prescribed. Surgery can remove the fibroids, but they often grow back.
For more information: Talk to your gynecologist about your symptoms.
Continued on page 7: Excessive Thirst and Frequent Urination