What is abnormal uterine bleeding?
A typical menstrual cycle -- the time when you're not on your "period" -- usually lasts between 24 and 38 days. A normal menstrual period can last up to eight days.
Previously known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding, uterine bleeding is considered abnormal when it occurs in the following situations:
- Spotting or bleeding after intercourse
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Menstrual cycles longer than 38 days
- Menstrual cycles shorter than 24 days
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than eight days
- Any bleeding after menopause
You can experience abnormal uterine bleeding at any age, but it's most likely to occur during puberty and perimenopause.
What causes abnormal uterine bleeding?
Abnormal uterine bleeding can happen for a variety of reasons, such as:
- Polyps or fibroids
- Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy
- Bleeding disorders
- Problems due to birth control
- Problems with ovulation
Certain types of cancer of cancer can also cause abnormal bleeding, so it's important to discuss your symptoms with Dr. Jones so she can reach a diagnosis.
How is abnormal uterine bleeding diagnosed?
To identify the cause of your abnormal uterine bleeding, Dr. Jones might recommend a variety of tests. Some of these include:
- Ultrasound: sound waves create an image of your pelvic organs
- Hysteroscopy: a thin scope is inserted vaginally so Dr. Jones can see inside your uterus
- Endometrial biopsy: a sample of the lining of your uterus is taken for analysis
- Sonohysterography: fluid expands the uterus while an ultrasound take images
- MRI: a magnetic field and sound waves produce images of your internal organs
- CT scan: an X-ray produces a cross-sectional image of your internal organs
How is abnormal uterine bleeding treated?
Effectively treating abnormal uterine bleeding depends on its cause. Dr. Jones might recommend several options such as medications that adjust your hormones, decrease the size of fibroids, reduce inflammation, or to treat an infection.
Sometimes, surgery is needed to manage abnormal uterine bleeding. The surgical treatment that Dr. Jones recommends is based on your age, condition, and desire to have children. Some of these procedures include:
- Endometrial ablation: the uterine lining is surgically destroyed
- Uterine artery embolization: blood flow is blocked to the uterus to stop fibroid growth
- Hysterectomy: removal of the uterus
If you're experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, call Total Women's Care, or schedule an appointment online; same-day appointments are available if you require urgent care.
Total Women's Care is the premier practice for women’s health in Houston whether for pregnancy, contraception, fibroids or menopause.
To schedule your first visit with our OBGYN, Dr. Vonne Jones, call us at (346)-320-3188