What Is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?

Many women have a menstrual cycle that works like clockwork. The menstrual period lasts 4-7 days with a predictable amount of bleeding. However, some women experience cycles or bleeding that is far from ordinary. When bleeding is heavier, longer, or absent entirely, the issue could be abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). Abnormal bleeding is common when a girl first starts having a period or during perimenopause. But for women in middle stages of life, AUB is generally a cause for concern.

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When is AUB a problem?

Some women experience a one-off case of abnormal bleeding due to stress or medication. However, abnormal bleeding becomes a problem when there are accompanying symptoms or a disruption to quality of life. AUB is almost always the sign of an underlying hormonal or reproductive problem. In some cases, AUB can lead to infertility. Today, about 1 in 5 women struggle to get pregnant. However, an AUB diagnosis is not set in stone, as women can still get pregnant with the right treatment.

What is considered normal?

Abnormal uterine bleeding is a tricky issue. A patient must first meet with a doctor to determine if bleeding is normal or abnormal. Normal periods happen every 21-35 days, with bleeding occurring an average of 5 days. This could be shorter or longer depending on several factors. If bleeding is suddenly, then consistently, outside that patient’s norm, AUB may be at play. An OB/GYN will request several tests to get to the root of the problem.

Causes of AUB

AUB can happen suddenly without any health issues. However, most cases can be traced to an underlying condition. Hormone imbalances are one of the biggest causes. Starting or stopping birth control is one of the primary reasons for AUB. Fluctuating hormone levels can cause heavier bleeding, lighter bleeding, or stop the period entirely. Some tests may reveal conditions like polyps, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Other causes include sudden weight gain, weight loss, or infections like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

What can you do?

Some women with AUB realize that getting and staying pregnant is difficult. The next step is to look for other symptoms and to speak with a doctor. Through the necessary tests, the doctor will recommend treatment options. In some cases, surgery could help remove polyps, fibroids, and other anomalies. Women with hormone concerns may benefit from medication. If these fail, fertility techniques like intrauterine insemination (IUI) and in vitro fertilization (IVF) are great options.

Pregnancy is possible

The condition is overlooked by many women, but those struggling to get pregnant should take AUB seriously. Taking quick, early action can help with long-term reproductive health. With the right treatment, over time, women can get pregnant naturally. Any treatment should include a healthy diet, exercise, and better lifestyle choices to increase success. If all else fails and AUB is still a challenge, more advanced fertility solutions are available.

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