Patient's Complete Guide to Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Overview of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding is excessive bleeding from the uterus at irregular time, for example, between period cycles, after intercourse, or after menopause.

Signs and Symptoms of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) as the name implies is excessive bleeding from the uterus that occurs at an irregular time. If bleeding occurs after your actual menstrual cycle is completed, after intercourse, after menopause, or if there is heavy bleeding during periods, then it is considered as AUB. Any sort of variations in the length of the menstrual cycle or in the loss of blood would be considered as AUB as well.

Types of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Signs and symptoms under this condition are very noticeable. If you think you are having heavy bleeding during your periods, which is more than usual, then there is a possibility that you have AUB. If your menstrual period is longer than usual or your cycles are inconsistent in terms of timing then this may be due to AUB.

  • Inconsistent menstrual cycles
  • Heavy period
  • Long periods (more than 7-8 days)
  • Bleeding at odd times (after periods, after intercourse, during menopause)
  • Excessive loss of blood via AUB can result in anemia, therefore, causing fatigue and weakness

Often, women have a heavy period which lasts more than a week. Similarly, they may have a lighter period which lasts for a few days only. This is primarily because of their health and lifestyle patterns. However, it is still highly advisable to consult your doctor incase of heavy periods rather than assuming that it is because of your physique or lifestyle pattern.

Causes of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

AUB has types based on the frequency of menstrual cycles as well as the kind of blood flow during menstruation.

  • Polymenorrhea: Menstruation is very frequent
  • Oligomenorrhea: Infrequent or light menstruation
  • Metrorrhagia: Irregular bleeding that occurs between period cycles
  • Post-menopause bleeding: Bleeding that occurs after menopause

Risk Factors of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

AUB can be due to many reasons such as hormonal imbalance which in turn is caused by a set of other factors. Any physical problem with the uterine walls or pre-existing health conditions can result in abnormal bleeding as well.

  • Hormonal imbalance due to the intake of birth control pills, fast weight loss or gain, thickening of the uterine wall, or emotional stress.
  • Structural changes in uterine walling: non-cancerous growths (fibroids) of muscles in the uterus, or growth of the endometrium into the uterine lining.
  • Pre-existing conditions: uterine cancer, cervical cancer, infection of the endometrium, or illnesses affecting the kidneys or liver.
  • Bleeding associated with miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
  • Bleeding after menopause may be due to issues in your endometrial lining, development of fibroids, or malignancy of uterine lining.

Organic causes can also contribute to AUB which can be divided into three main categories namely:

  • Reproductive tract diseases: pregnancy complications, malignant tumors within the uterine walls or infections
  • Systemic diseases: Hypothyroidism or coagulation disorders (inability to control clotting levels in the blood)
  • Iatrogenic causes (illness due to some medical intervention): Anticoagulants or Intra-uterine contraceptive devices.

Prevention

  • Age more than 40 years
  • Obesity
  • PCOS
  • Diabetes
  • Menopause
  • Hypertension
  • Infertility

Complications

Certain complications can occur due to AUB. Some of them can be a shock to the reproductive system, severe anemia due to loss of blood, hypotension and in some severe cases, death can also happen

Treatment of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding | When to Consult a Doctor

It is wise if you take notes on your menstrual cycles that would then aid your doctor to make the right conclusion regarding the excessive bleeding you are having. This would involve noting down the length and flow type of the cycle. There are quite a number of ways to diagnose AUB as it has to do with several symptoms you are likely to show with the condition.

  • Blood test: To check for iron levels as well as any hormonal imbalance
  • Ultrasound: To check for any growths on the uterine walls such as fibroids
  • Pregnancy test: AUB might be due to abnormalities associated with pregnancy
  • Endometrial Biopsy: To check for any cancerous growths that may be the cause of irregular bleeding
  • Hysteroscopic examination: To check for any fibroid or cancer growth on the uterine lining that may be the cause of AUB.

A differential diagnosis of AUB can evaluate the cause behind your excessive bleeding since many conditions and disorders can contribute to AUB. Lets say, for instance:

  • If you are a woman of reproductive age, AUB might be due to complications in your pregnancy.
  • If you are an adolescent, AUB might be attributed to coagulation disorders or hypothyroidism.
  • If you have reached menopause and have AUB, this may be attributable to malignancy of the uterine lining.

Healthcare Providers

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Speciality for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

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