Dr. Dean

I Am Bleeding Too Much. Should I Have My Uterus Cauterized?

Posting Date: 08/17/1999

Tammy in Longview, Texas: I am bleeding in between periods and, also, my periods are so stinking long.

A doctor has suggested cauterizing my uterus. I'm tempted, but it sounds entirely too good to be true.

Visit the Women's Health Center

If I do have a cauterization, could the scar tissue interfere with a biopsy should I need one to check for cancer some time in the future, say 30 years from now?

Dr. Edell: No, as far as I know, scar tissue wouldn't interfere.

But you bring up a good point. Even if the lining of the uterus is removed, a woman can still get cancer. Some tissue may get left behind.

I want to make a general comment about the complaint of too much bleeding. It's a very common complaint that accounts for most of the hysterectomies, too many, which are done in this country.

You might be surprised to find that we don't really have a standard to evaluate how much bleeding is too much. Women don't measure and compare how many c.c.s or milliliters their flows are. They don't weigh their tampons and pads throughout a whole period to measure the actual blood loss.

A few studies have found that women become upset when their periods increase from the amounts they've been used to all their lives. So while a woman's flow might be heavier than is common to her, she is not bleeding more than the average. Many women who think they are bleeding like crazy, are not. They are bleeding normally.

Then along comes one of these pelvic pirates who will try to convince a woman that she has no use for her internal organs. He will do surgery for no verifiable medical reason. Obviously, if you're sick and your uterus needs to come out, it comes out.

But the uterus' contribution to a woman's well being and to her sexuality is under-appreciated. Your uterus is a vital organ; you want to keep it.

Now, cauterization, by an experienced doctor only, can be beneficial in saving you from a hysterectomy. One type of cauterization involves using a roller ball which removes the lining of the uterus.

Every month, I witness what a hassle this bleeding is for women. I see it and I say to myself, "Thank God I'm a guy!"