Women who chronically have heavy menstrual periods face a difficult choice. Many cases of abnormal bleeding stem from a hormone imbalance, and drugs containing progesterone and estrogen often alleviate the problem. Medications don't always work, however. Another option is a hysterectomy, or removal of the uterus, which stops menstrual bleeding. But it is major surgery and ends a woman's reproductive life.
A U.S. study now finds that women who fail to improve after taking a hormone-based drug do better if they undergo a hysterectomy than do women in similar circumstances who try other drugs instead. A separate but similar study by Finnish researchers finds little difference between surgery and extended drug therapy.