Menorrhagia (excessive periods) is a very common reason for consultation with
general practitioner, and the most common reason for referral to gynaecology clinic.
The clinical definition is blood loss exceeding 80mls per period but measurement is
seldom undertaken in routine clinical practice. Research has shown that many
women presenting with menorrhagia have volume of blood loss in the normal range
and that women's concerns are mainly the impact of periods on their lives, less about
the volume of blood loss. The clinical definition of menorrhagia requires
reconsideration, to better reflect the contemporary menorrhagia complaint.
To examine the multi-faceted menorrhagia complaint in terms of: subjective account
of menstrual periods and symptoms, psychosocial measures, socio-demographic
factors, and objective measurement of the menstrual loss.
The research comprises three overlapping parts: (1) a cross-sectional survey with (2)
an embedded detailed prospective menstrual collection study, and (3) a follow-up
(cohort) study of the earliest recruits to the survey group, the latter undertaken by
case-note review. Local Ethical Research Committee approval was obtained for the
All women aged 25 to 49 years newly referred for menstrual problems to
collaborating consultants at gynaecology clinics at Edinburgh and Glasgow Royal
Infirmaries, and Glasgow Western Infirmary. Problems eligible for inclusion in the
survey were excessive periods, period pain, premenstrual changes, 'period problems'
(non-specific) and irregular periods. Only those with putatively heavy periods
(referral for that reason, or subjective judgement) were invited to have their blood