Abnormal Uterine Bleeding: Causes, Emergency Symptoms, And How To Treat It

Date February 5, 2018

Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), also known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding, is any bleeding from the womb that is not your regular period. It can result from a number of different causes, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or use of certain medicines. It's possible to have abnormal uterine bleeding during periods.

If you experience abnormal uterine bleeding, contact your doctor as soon as possible.

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Causes of abnormal uterine bleeding

There are situations when the cause of AUB cannot be established. If it can, it may be one of the following:

  • use of oral contraceptives;
  • use of certain hormone medicines;
  • use of blood thinners, such as warfarin;
  • polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), in which a woman has excess levels of male hormones and may have heavy periods with longer intervals;
  • endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that normally grows only inside the uterus grows elsewhere in your body, e.g. on the ovaries;
  • endometritis, an inflammation of the uterine lining;
  • uterine polyps, abnormal growths inside the uterus that are mostly non-cancerous;
  • uterine fibroids, abnormal growth that can be found anywhere in the uterus, may cause no symptoms, and affect most women at some point in their lives;
  • sexually transmitted diseases, including gonorrhea and chlamydia;
  • uterine cancer;
  • injury to the uterus, such as injuries caused by sexual abuse.

How to tell whether the bleeding is abnormal.

If abnormal uterine bleeding occurs during your period, it's usually characterized by the following:

  • the period lasts more than a week;
  • the period is unusually heavy;
  • the period starts earlier than 21 days after your previous period;
  • there are large blood clots or multiple blood clots.

Spotting or bleeding between periods may also indicate abnormal bleeding from the uterus.

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Emergency symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding include the following:

  • loss of consciousness;
  • feeling dizzy and weak;
  • a drop in blood pressure;
  • fast heart rate;
  • pale skin;
  • pain.

If you experience symptoms described above, contact your doctor right away.

Treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding

In some cases, when the bleeding occurs in a girl who is going through puberty, no treatment is used because the hormone levels usually stabilize on their own over time.

In other cases, uterine bleeding needs treatment which depends on the cause and may involve the following:

  • combination oral contraceptives (contain both estrogen and progesterone) and are used when a woman isn't planning to get pregnant;
  • levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, which is also used by women who aren't planning to have a baby;
  • hysteroscopy to take out fibroids or polyps;
  • endometrial ablation, a procedure in which the lining of the uterus is removed or destroyed;
  • hysterectomy, surgical removal of the whole uterus, which is performed when other treatments didn't work.

In most cases, abnormal uterine bleeding can be controlled with hormone medicines. If you experience AUB, don't wait to contact your doctor.

Source: HealthLine, WebMD, EMedicineHealth

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This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.