Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is defined as excessive menstrual blood loss which interferes with a woman's physical, social, emotional and/or material quality of life. It can occur alone or in combination with other symptoms.

HMB is not associated with significant mortality and may be considered unimportant by some healthcare professionals. Many women with HMB consult healthcare professionals in primary care and HMB is a common reason for referral to a specialist.

In the early 1990s, it was estimated that at least 60% of women presenting with HMB went on to have a hysterectomy. This was often the only treatment offered. Hysterectomy is a major operation and is associated with significant complications in a minority of cases. Since the 1990s the number of hysterectomies has been decreasing rapidly. This guideline makes recommendations on a range of treatment options for HMB. It aims to help healthcare professionals provide the right treatments for individual women. Healthcare professionals should be aware that it is the woman herself who determines whether a treatment is successful for her.

New evidence on progesterone-receptor modulators (mifepristone and ulipristal acetate) as a medical treatment for fibroids was reviewed in 2016 and recommendations added.

More information

To find out what NICE has said on topics related to this guideline, see our web pages on heavy menstrual bleeding and endometriosis and fibroids.

  • National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)