Women’s menstrual cycles are all unique to each person. For some, their period comes like clockwork every 28 days. For many, their cycle length varies every month by a few days. And some women even experience periods so irregular that they are impossible to track. You may wonder, how do you know if your period is normal and if it’s not, what should you do? Learn about abnormal uterine bleeding and its causes from Dr. Lodge.
What Is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
A normal menstrual flow is generally around 5 days long with the cycle length being 21 to 35 days. Abnormal uterine bleeding is a condition in which there is bleeding from the uterus that is far outside these norms or not normal for you. Uterine bleeding is considered abnormal when:
- It happens at abnormal times in your cycle (not during your period)
- It occurs in abnormal amounts (soaking through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several consecutive hours)
- It has an abnormal duration (bleeding lasts longer than 7 days)
- Passing blood clots
- Spotting or bleeding after sex
- Irregular periods
What Causes Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
There are many different causes of abnormal uterine bleeding and some are due to health problems. Some common causes include:
This is the most common cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. When your hormone levels are off, it can cause your periods to be irregular or even stop altogether. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), anovulation, and high body weight can lead to hormone imbalances.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that develop in the uterus. They can cause abnormal bleeding, as well as pain and pressure in the pelvic area.
This is a condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it. Endometriosis can cause abnormal bleeding, as well as pain and cramping during your period.
Infections of the cervix (the opening to the uterus) can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. These can occur from sexually transmitted diseases.
This is inflammation of the cervix. Cervicitis is often the result of an STD like chlamydia or gonorrhea but can occur from noninfectious causes like allergic reaction and overgrowth of normal bacteria.
Bleeding and spotting during pregnancy are common. About 25% of women experience this. While common, this bleeding is considered abnormal. You should make an appointment with your doctor to rule out miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
Cancer of the uterus, cervix, vagina, or ovaries can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. In some cases, this is because a tumor is blocking the cervical canal and blood gets trapped.
An overactive or underactive thyroid can cause abnormal bleeding. Heavy uterine bleeding, called menorrhagia, is caused when GnRH secretion is disrupted.
Von Willebrand Disease
This is a blood clotting disorder that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. VWD is an inherited disorder that can cause easy bruising, frequent nosebleeds, blood in stool and urine, and heavy bleeding after surgery as well.
Some liver diseases like cirrhosis can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. This is because the liver is responsible for clearing hormones from the body. When the liver is not functioning properly, hormone levels can become abnormal.
Like liver disease, kidney disease can also cause abnormal uterine bleeding. This is because the kidneys are responsible for clearing hormones from the body. When the kidneys are not functioning properly, hormone levels can become abnormal.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
This is an infection of the reproductive organs. PID can cause abnormal uterine bleeding by scarring the fallopian tubes and ovaries.
This is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow. Leukemia can cause abnormal uterine bleeding by affecting the production of blood cells.
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a type of birth control. They are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus. IUDs can cause abnormal uterine bleeding by causing inflammation or damage to the lining of the uterus.
Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills contain hormones that can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. The pills can cause the lining of the uterus to thin, which can lead to breakthrough bleeding or spotting.
As you can see, there are many different causes of abnormal uterine bleeding. If you are experiencing this, it is important to see your doctor so that the cause can be found and treated. With proper treatment, abnormal uterine bleeding can often be managed successfully.
When to See a Doctor
If you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, it’s important to see your doctor. They will be able to determine the cause and provide you with treatment. Abnormal uterine bleeding can be a sign of a serious health condition, so it’s important to get it checked out as soon as possible.
Treatment For Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
The treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding will depend on the underlying cause. In some cases, no treatment is necessary. For example, if abnormal uterine bleeding is caused by pregnancy, it will usually resolve on its own. However, if abnormal uterine bleeding is caused by a more serious condition like infection or disease, treatment will be necessary.
Treatment options for abnormal uterine bleeding include:
- Medications: There are several different types of medications that can be used to treat abnormal uterine bleeding. These include hormones, birth control, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), GnRH agonists and antagonists, and antifibrinolytic drugs.
- Surgery: In some cases, surgery may be necessary to treat abnormal uterine bleeding. This can include procedures like endometrial ablation, uterine artery embolization, hysteroscopy, myomectomy, and hysterectomy.
- Lifestyle changes: Making some lifestyle changes can also help to manage abnormal uterine bleeding. These changes can include losing weight, quitting smoking, and reducing stress.
You will want to ask Dr. Lodge about the pros and cons of each treatment to ensure it aligns with your health goals. If you are wanting to get pregnant in the future, some treatments won’t be right for you until your finish having children.
Get Help in Brentwood, Tennessee for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
If you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, the team at Cool Springs OBGYN can help. We offer a variety of treatment options that can help to manage abnormal uterine bleeding. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at 615.690.6600. Dr. Lodge and his dedicated staff have been caring for women and providing high-quality care since 2000.