Women who suffer heavy periods are being invited to join a research study to test a new treatment for their condition.
The trial will find out if boosting levels of a hormone produced in the lining of the womb can reduce blood loss during menstruation and ease women’s symptoms.
Researchers believe that a hormone – called cortisol – helps the small blood vessels in the womb lining to function well.
If cortisol levels are too low in the womb, it can increase blood loss, researchers say.
This study will test whether a drug that mimics the actions of cortisol – called dexamethasone – will boost the hormone to typical levels and reduce menstrual blood loss.
The research aims to identify whether a short course of the drug, at a low dose, could also be used to manage heavy periods.
Women who join the study will be asked to monitor their periods for two months.
They will then be randomly assigned to receive either a short course of dexamethasone or a placebo pill for five days before their period is due, for the following three months.
As is usual in clinical trials, neither the doctors nor the participants will know which medication they receive.
Professor Hilary Critchley of the University of Edinburgh’s MRC Centre for Reproductive Health, who is leading the trial, said: “Women who experience heavy bleeding during their period will often struggle with very challenging symptoms that impact their daily life.
“Many of the current treatment options such as the contraceptive pill or hysterectomy affect a woman’s fertility, and so we are keen to develop treatments that offer women a greater choice. Now we need more participants – to complete this vital research”.
Women who are interested in joining the study can contact 0131 242 2483.