What is abnormal uterine bleeding?
Abnormal uterine bleeding is any bleeding from the uterus different from the normal and usual monthly periods. Experiencing extremely heavy bleeding during the periods can also be considered as an abnormal uterine bleeding. Heavy bleeding during menstruation that lasts longer than 7 days is called menorrhagia. Women with menorrhagia could, for example, bleed enough to completely wet one or more buffers or sanitary napkins every hour.
What is the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding?
Many different factors can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. Pregnancy is a common cause. Polyps or fibroids (small and large growths) in the uterus can also cause bleeding. Rarely, a thyroid problem, an infection of the cervix or cervical cancer can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.
In most women, abnormal uterine bleeding is caused by a hormonal imbalance. When the problem are hormones, doctors call the problem dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). Abnormal bleeding caused by a hormonal imbalance is most common in adolescents or in women who are approaching menopause.
These are just some of the problems that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. These problems can occur at any age, but the likely cause of abnormal uterine bleeding, usually depends on your age.
How is abnormal uterine bleeding treated?
There are several treatment options for abnormal bleeding. Your doctor will help you decide what treatment is right for you. Or, if your doctor decides that a hormonal imbalance is causing the abnormal bleeding, it is possible that your doctor and you decide to wait and see if the bleeding gets better by itself. Some treatment options include:
Birth control pills. Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent the uterine lining to thicken too much. They can also help maintain regularity of their menstrual cycle and reduce cramps. Some types of birth control pills, especially the progestin-only pill (also called “mini-pill”) may actually cause abnormal bleeding in some women. Tell your doctor if you take the pill does not control the abnormal bleeding.
Hysterectomy. This surgery removes the uterus. If you perform a hysterectomy, you will no longer have periods or may become pregnant. Hysterectomy is major surgery that requires general anesthesia and a hospital stay. It may require a long recovery period. Talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of hysterectomy.
Intrauterine device (IUD). If birth control pills do not control bleeding, your doctor may suggest an IUD. An IUD is a small plastic device that can be inserted into the uterus through the female organ to prevent pregnancy. One type of IUD releases hormones and this type can significantly reduce abnormal bleeding. Like birth control pills, IUDs can sometimes actually cause abnormal bleeding. If this happens, tell your doctor.