When you bleed between your monthly periods, bleed for too long, or have an extremely heavy flow, you have abnormal uterine bleeding. The average menstrual cycle lasts around five days and occurs every 21 to 35 days. Abnormal uterine bleeding is always not reported with women who are experiencing any symptoms. It is recorded that 3-35% of women worldwide are diagnosed with abnormal uterine bleeding.
Every woman suffers from abnormal uterine bleeding at some point in her life. It can cause both emotional and physical stress. Though abnormal uterine is common, its management can be complex. Before going to know how to manage abnormal uterine bleeding, every woman should know the reason behind it. Abnormal uterine bleeding is any bleeding from the uterus through the vagina other than the normal monthly period. Extremely heavy bleeding during the periods can also be considered abnormal uterine bleeding. It is also known as Dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
One indication of irregular uterine bleeding is vaginal bleeding between cycles. Abnormal uterine bleeding can also be defined as excessively heavy bleeding throughout your period. Menorrhagia is defined as significant bleeding during a period and/or bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days. Women may bleed enough to go through one or more tampons or sanitary pads every hour. Some unusual signs of abnormal uterine bleeding are:
Bleeding at unusual times
Unusually very long periods
Inconsistent menstrual cycles
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Abnormal uterine bleeding can be caused by many reasons. Some of the main reasons which could cause abnormal uterine bleeding include:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
PCOS is the common hormonal disorder that causes enlargement of ovaries and the formation of cysts on the edges. Women with PCOS have irregular bleeding and experience fertility issues. It can cause acne, excessive hair growth on the face and body, and even weight gain in women who suffer from PCOS. The lack of ovulation in women with PCOS can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.
Hormonal imbalances due to other medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. When the body produces excess or too little thyroid, the menstrual cycle can be disturbed. Even a low level of progesterone in the body cannot induce ovulation which disrupts the regularity of menstrual cycles and causes abnormal uterine bleeding.
Problems in Pregnancy
If women who are pregnant and experiencing any type of spots are considered to have abnormal uterine bleeding and they should be evaluated by their obstetrician immediately. Abnormal uterine bleeding during pregnancy can indicate an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.
Side Effects of Medications
The use of oral contraceptive pills can make changes in the regular menstrual cycles. They can alter the normal flow during the periods and cause bleeding in between the cycles which are considered abnormal uterine bleeding.
A Side Effect of IUD
Abnormal uterine bleeding is mostly seen in women with an intrauterine device. It often causes a heavier flow during the periods, especially during the first three months after insertion.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that affects the womb and/or uterus. Abnormal uterine bleeding is one of the main symptoms seen in women with pelvic inflammatory disease. PID can cause heavier flow during periods than usual or bleeding between periods or bleeding after intercourse.
Fibroids, Abnormal growths, Polyps
The presence of abnormal uterine growths such as fibroids and polyps near the uterine lining can interfere with the blood flow to the lining. These can cause heavy periods, prolonged periods, or spotting between the menses which are considered abnormal uterine bleeding.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is a health condition that shouldn’t be handled alone. It needs immediate and proper treatment to avoid further complications. A woman with abnormal uterine bleeding should consult a gynecologist right away and share the symptoms that she experiences in detail. This helps to point out the main cause behind the condition which lets the doctor offer the best suitable treatment.
Your doctor's testing may vary depending on your age. If your bleeding is severe, your doctor may want to examine your blood count in addition to other tests to ensure you don't have a low blood count as a result of the blood loss. This could result in anemia and iron shortage. The uterus and the ovaries are seen on an ultrasound of your pelvic area. It could also reveal the source of your bleeding.
An endometrial biopsy may be recommended by your doctor. This is a uterine lining examination. It's done by inserting a small plastic tube into your uterus (known as a catheter). The catheter will be used by your doctor to remove a little bit of the uterine lining. He or she will send the lining to a laboratory to be tested. If you have cancer or an alteration in your cells, the test will reveal it. A biopsy can be performed at the doctor's office.
The doctor will ask you to go through a physical exam that includes:
Exam of the cervix
If you have unusual uterine bleeding, tell your doctor. It can be treated in a variety of methods. Some are designed to help you get back on track with your menstrual period. Others are used to terminate monthly periods or minimize bleeding. Some women respond to each treatment, while others do not. The following are some of the treatments:
Hormones, such as progestin pills or birth control pills taken daily (progestin and estrogen). These hormones aid in the regulation of the menstrual cycle, as well as the reduction of bleeding and cramping.
The use of a levonorgestrel intrauterine device (IUD), which distributes a progesterone-like hormone into the uterus. This prevents pregnancy while reducing bleeding.
Hysteroscopy is used to remove polyps or fibroids from the uterus.
You can use a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAID) like ibuprofen daily if you also suffer period pain or heavy bleeding. Doctors may utilize a wait-and-see method of cautious waiting. It may be appropriate for a teen or a lady approaching menopause. Some teenagers experience irregular vaginal bleeding from time to time. As hormone levels balance out, this normally improves with time.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Bleeding between monthly cycles, extended bleeding, or an extremely heavy period are all examples of abnormal uterine bleeding. Hormone fluctuations, malignancy, fibroids, polyps, or early pregnancy can all cause this.
Intrauterine device (IUD)
Birth control pills
A D & C or dilation and curettage
People who are trying to conceive may experience difficulties due to AUB. The uterus can have problems fertilizing eggs and bringing a fetus to term due to structural difficulties. Growths can also lead to other problems, such as ovarian cancer.