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Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2010 Oct;152(2):133-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2010.07.016. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

Clinical practice guidelines on menorrhagia: management of abnormal uterine bleeding before menopause.

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Centre Hospitalo-Universitaire de Tours, Hôpital Bretonneau, Service de Gynécologie, Tours 37044 cédex 1, France.



Normal menstrual periods last 3-6 days and involve blood loss of up to 80ml. Menorrhagia is defined as menstrual periods lasting more than 7 days and/or involving blood loss greater than 80ml. The prevalence of abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is estimated at 11-13% in the general population and increases with age, reaching 24% in those aged 36-40 years.


A blood count for red cells+platelets to test for anemia is recommended on a first-line basis for women consulting for AUB whose history and/or bleeding score justify it. A pregnancy test by an hCG assay should be ordered. A speculum examination and Pap smear, according to the French High Health Authority guidelines should be performed early on to rule out any cervical disease. Pelvic ultrasound, both abdominal (suprapubic) and transvaginal, is recommended as a first-line procedure for the etiological diagnosis of AUB. Hysteroscopy or hysterosonography can be suggested as a second-line procedure. MRI is not recommended as a first-line procedure.


In idiopathic AUB, the first-line treatment is medical, with efficacy ranked as follows: levonorgestrel IUD, tranexamic acid, oral contraceptives, either estrogens and progestins or synthetic progestins only, 21 days a month, or NSAIDs. When hormone treatment is contraindicated or immediate pregnancy is desired, tranexamic acid is indicated. Iron must be included for patients with iron-deficiency anemia. For women who do not wish to become pregnant in the future and who have idiopathic AUB, the long-term efficacy of conservative surgical treatment is greater than that of oral medical treatment. Placement of a levonorgestrel IUD (or administration of tranexamic acid by default) is recommended for women with idiopathic AUB. If this fails, a conservative surgical technique must be proposed; the choices include second-generation endometrial ablation techniques (thermal balloon, microwave, radiofrequency), or, if necessary, first-generation techniques (endometrectomy, roller-ball). A first-line hysterectomy is not recommended in this context. Should a hysterectomy be selected for functional bleeding, it should be performed by the vaginal or laparoscopic routes.

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