The menstrual period is the time during a woman’s monthly cycle when bleeding occurs. Bleeding may last up to 7 days and should occur roughly every 28 days. Abnormal uterine bleeding occurs when the menstrual cycle is not regular, bleeding lasts longer than 7 days, is heavier in flow than normal, or bleeding occurs between periods.
Understanding When Bleeding Can Be Abnormal
There are certain times in a woman’s life when i can be normal for her period to be irregular. This includes the first few years of onset of menses, usually around ages 9-16 and also as a woman approaches menopause. In the perimenopausal woman periods may become lighter or heavier due to decreased rate of ovulation. Once a woman completes menopause any uterine bleeding is considered abnormal, unless she is on hormone replacement therapy. Increased frequency of bleeding as a woman approaches menopause is also abnormal.
A symptom of abnormal uterine bleeding also includes:
- Complete absence of menstrual periods
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
- Any changes in normal flow
One of the causes for abnormal uterine bleeding is a hormone imbalance (when the body makes too much or not enough of a particular hormone). Hormonal imbalance caused by:
- Weight loss or gain
- Heavy exercise
- illnessUse of some medications
The most common result of a hormone imbalance is anovulation when the ovaries do not release an egg and a woman does not have a period. Anovulation can cause endometrial thickening (hyperplasia) which can eventually lead to an increased risk for uterine cancer. Anovulation may occur if the ovaries produce too much of the male hormone (androgen).
Abnormal uterine bleeding can also be caused by:
- Various pregnancy states: normal, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
- Side effects of different birth control methods: intrauterine contraceptive (IUC),
- Birth control pills, patch, or rings.
- Infections of the uterine or cervix
- Uterine fibroids
- Disorders related to normal blood clotting
- Certain types of cancer (uterine cervix or vagina)
- Chronic medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes
Diagnosis Of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
The diagnosis depends a history of your past illness, use of medications (including birth control), lifestyle choices: such as eating habits, exercise habits, weight, and stress level. In order to properly diagnose this disorder an accurate log of dates and length of periods is needed. The diagnostic tests may include a pregnancy test, thyroid function test, blood count, and hormone levels. Other tests may be needed based on your symptoms.
Treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding can vary depending on the underlying cause,
but can include the following:
- Medication and hormonal replacement therapy (birth control, progesterone, or thyroid medication)
- Endometrial biopsy
- Dilation and curettage (D&C)
- Hysterectomy or myomectomy
For more information on All Female Health Care, call (954) 742-3536 or visit us at 8890 W Oakland Park Blvd., Sunrise, FL 33351. You can set up an appointment for a pelvic exam, pap smear, birth control or STD testing with one of the representatives of All Female Health Care.