Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Irregular or excessive vaginal bleeding is a common complaint among reproductive age women.
Although it is not necessarily a cause for alarm, Dr. Cook recommends that you book an appointment with her to diagnose and treat the problem before it gets worse.
What are the Symptoms of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
Dr. Cook suggests to book an appointment with your gynecologist if you notice:
- Bleeding or spotting other than your normal monthly period
- Extremely heaving bleeding (that may include large clots) during your period
- Bleeding that lasts more than 7 days
- Menstrual cycles shorter than 24 days or longer than 38 days
- Monthly cycles varying by more than 7-9 days
- Spotting or bleeding after sex
- Post-menopausal bleeding
Causes of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
For many women, uterine bleeding can be traced to a hormonal imbalance known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). The condition is more common if you’re approaching menopause and in teens who have just begun menstruation.
Abnormal bleeding can also be caused by pregnancy, polyps and fibroids, bleeding disorders and ovulation problems. Certain causes of abnormal bleeding are more common among specific age groups.
Teens, 20’s and 30’s
If you are a teen and suspect to have abnormal uterine bleeding, visit an experienced gynecologist who sees adolescents like Dr. Cook.
If you’re in this age group, the most common cause of abnormal uterine bleeding is pregnancy. If you’re using certain types of contraceptive methods, you may also be more prone to abnormal bleeding.
It is especially common in teens who have just started menstruating is a condition in which normal ovulation doesn’t take place. It results in a hormonal imbalance, the uterine lining becomes too thick, and it can cause heavy bleeding when you do have a period.
Conversely, an imbalance in hormones can prevent the uterus from shedding its lining each month and cause spotting.
The 40’s and 50’s
Your body undergoes multiple changes leading up to menopause and there will be months when you don’t ovulate. This can cause uterine bleeding, irregular bleeding, periods that can alternate between heavier and lighter flows, and it’s not uncommon to skip a period completely.
Thickening of the uterus is common in this age group, and it can cause abnormal bleeding. It’s imperative that you see your gynecologist if you experience any bleeding out of the ordinary to diagnose and treat.
Menopause & Beyond
For many women, menopause offers a well-deserved sense of freedom and increased confidence. It may also come with an increased risk of uterine bleeding due to a hormone imbalance which may be treated with hormone therapy. Not everyone will experience abnormal bleeding, but it’s essential that you consult with your gynecologist if you do.
Diagnoses of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
There are multiple disorders that are responsible for menstrual irregularity. Dr. Cook uses a diagnostic approach that includes radiographic studies, hormonal evaluation, and possible endometrial evaluation to identify the disorder.
- Pregnancy test and a screening for anemia if bleeding has been severe
- Ultrasound for an image of the uterus and ovaries
- Endometrial biopsy to obtain a small sample of the uterine lining to detect any changes in cells or cancer
- Hysteroscopy using a thin tube and camera to see inside the uterus
Treatment for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Based on the workup, an effective treatment plan is implemented to alleviate the menstrual abnormality.
Treatment for abnormal uterine bleeding will depend upon what’s causing it. Contraceptive methods ranging from birth control pills to an IUD can be changed or altered to relieve bleeding, cramping and regularize the menstrual cycle.
You may need to take antibiotics if an infection is present and there are specific medications designed to address irregular, heavy and abnormal uterine bleeding, depending upon the cause.
Dilation and curettage, known as a D&C, may be recommended to scrape the lining of the uterus. It can be effective to stop the bleeding and the tissue will be examined to uncover any underlying causes for the abnormal bleeding.
Suffering from Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
If left untreated, abnormal uterine bleeding can lead to a more serious condition. If in doubt, consider scheduling an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible. It can have any number of causes and some are more common at certain stages of your life.
Dr. Cook has multiple testing and examination methods that can be utilized to determine the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. A variety of treatment options are available and your gynecologist will work with you to determine the best options to fit your individual circumstances.
For same day appointments please call us at (770) 431-2322. We make every effort to respond to your request right away during regular business hours.