Drugs to Stop Menstrual Bleeding

The term "menorrhagia" refers to very heavy menstrual bleeding, considered passing more than 80 ml of blood (or 16 saturated sanitary products) per menstrual period. Menorrhagia also includes flooding or passing large blood clots. Causes do not appear to be clear cut, but remedies exist to staunch the flow of heavy menstrual blood. Medical intervention for menorrhagia, heavy bleeding due to periomenopause and regular menstrual bleeding in the form of drugs include hormonal birth control, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and progesterone.

Drugs to stop menstrual bleeding include hormonal birth control, progesterone and GnRH agonists. (Image: 4774344sean/iStock/Getty Images)

Hormonal Birth Control

Hormonal birth control is often used to stop menstrual bleeding. Some hormones prevent ovulation by blocking the release of the egg from the fallopian tubes; these hormones are used in medications to prevent pregnancy. Side effects of some hormonal birth control methods--pills, injections and implants--include lessening or complete cessation of the menstrual period. Injections and pills remain the most effective hormonal birth control options for stopping menstrual periods completely. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some birth control pills are designed to be taken in such a way that periods are reduced or halted, and half of women using hormonal injections no longer experience menstruation; after a year, 75 percent of women do not have periods.

Gonadotrophin-Releasing Hormone Agonists

Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone, or GnRH, agonists are useful in stopping menstrual bleeding. This drug mimics a hormone in the human body produced in the pituitary gland in the brain. This hormone stimulates the ovaries to develop eggs and produce estrogen, which stimulates the menstrual cycle to occur. Taking GnRH agonists confuses the body into blocking egg development, estrogen production and menstrual bleeding. It is primarily used by physicians as a treatment for endometriosis.


Progesterone is sometimes used to cease the flow of menstrual blood. Progesterone therapy counteracts estrogen's effect of making the endometrium, the layer of tissue shed during menstrual periods, thick and fragile. High doses of progesterone can limit or stop menstrual bleeding. Progesterone therapy is often used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in perimenopause in women and can also be used to decrease the risk of endometrial cancer.

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