Objective: Menorrhagia is defined in terms of statistical"abnormality"as blood loss of >80 mL. We examined the usefulness of this definition in women who were referred to gynecology clinics with heavy periods.
Study design: A questionnaire survey of 952 menstrual complaint referrals at 3 hospital gynaecology clinics in Glasgow and Edinburgh included 226 women with heavy periods who had also consented to the measurement of their blood loss.
Results: Women reported a range of problems with their periods, but absolute volume (31.2%) was less prevalent than period pain (37.5%), mood change (35.7%), and change in the amount (volume) of the period (33.8%). Although there were associations with volume, these associations were due to the heaviest and lightest of the loss groups, whereas the 2 groups with loss either side of 80 mL were virtually indistinguishable.
Conclusion: The 80-mL criterion for menorrhagia is of limited clinical usefulness because it is prognostic neither for problems nor iron status and apparently does not guide management.