Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal uterine bleeding, also known as Dysfunctional uterine bleeding, is bleeding from the uterus (or womb) in patterns that are not associated with a normal period. 

Symptoms of Abnormal uterine bleeding include:

  • Bleeding or spotting between periods 
  • Bleeding after sex
  • Heavy bleeding which lasts for more than 7 days in the menstrual cycle
  • Bleeding after menopause 

Causes of abnormal uterine bleeding include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Fibroids
  • Endometrial/uterine polyp
  • Hormonal imbalances 
  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix or vagina
  • Use of birth control measures such as oral pills or intrauterine device (IUD)

Abnormal uterine bleeding can occur at any age in a women’s life.

Diagnosis:

Your doctor will diagnose the underlying cause of the condition by taking a medical and family history and performing a physical examination, including a pelvic exam. They may arrange additional tests to rule out other causes of abnormal bleeding. These tests include:

  • Pregnancy test: To confirm whether you are pregnant.
  • Blood count: To rule out blood disorders.
  • Pelvic ultrasound: It is an advanced imaging test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the female pelvic organs (uterus and ovaries).
  • Endometrial biopsy: It is a procedure that involves sampling the cells lining the uterus (endometrium) for any abnormalities.
  • Hysteroscopy: A minor surgical procedure used for diagnosis and/or treatment of various conditions of the uterus. A thin camera called a hysteroscope is inserted into the uterus through the vagina to view the internal structures. Dilatation and curettage (D&C) is performed at the same time and this is a surgical procedure in which the cervix is expanded with a dilator and the tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) is scraped with a curette for assessment by the pathologist. Some conditions, such as polyps, can be treated at the same time.

Treatment:

The treatment plan depends on a number of factors such as your age, cause of bleeding, and whether you are planning to become pregnant. The treatment options include:

  • Birth control pills help to maintain regular periods.
  • IUD that releases hormones: IUD is a birth control device that is inserted in the uterus. Abnormal bleeding may be controlled through the release of hormones
  • Endometrial ablation:  A procedure in which the tissue lining the uterus is destroyed by various ablation techniques such as heating.
  • Hysterectomy: the surgical removal of the entire uterus. This procedure will stop periods and is not suggested for women who wish to have children.