Is Abnormal Bleeding A Sign Of Something More?

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Women learn to expect to bleed each month from adolescence until menopause. However, what is considered normal can range significantly from one woman to the next. What is abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)? In general, a woman’s menstrual cycle lasts anywhere from 21-35 days, and bleeding occurs for 4-8 days. Anything outside of those ranges could be a reason to visit an OB/GYN.

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What if I’m abnormal but consistent?

Some women simply get unlucky and have periods that last for over 8 days. While this is not ideal, if bleeding continues for the same amount of time every month, there is probably not a cause for concern. However, when bleeding is accompanied by chronic pelvic pain or extremely heavy bleeding, consult a healthcare provider. Even if there are no underlying health conditions, an OB/GYN can provide treatment options to relieve symptoms.

Bleeding too much

Typically, women lose up to 2 tablespoons of blood per menstrual cycle. Most women, however, are not measuring by the tablespoon. A more accurate measure is to consider how often a woman is bleeding through a tampon or pad. If a woman has to change a tampon every hour, this is considered abnormally heavy bleeding.

Does abnormal bleeding mean I’m infertile?

Consistent periods are a key indicator of fertility. In fact, irregular periods account for about 30-40% of all cases of infertility. However, abnormal bleeding does not necessarily mean that a woman will never be able to get pregnant. There are other factors to consider.

Underlying conditions

If irregular bleeding is caused by an underlying health condition such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a woman may need extra help in getting pregnant. Couples may consider assisted reproductive technology (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) if conceiving naturally is difficult.

Understanding ovulation

Sometimes, irregular periods mean that a woman is not ovulating. But that’s not always the case. Women can still track ovulation with irregular periods, which makes getting pregnant easier. While period-tracking is the primary way that women track ovulation, there are other physical indicators to consider, such as a change in cervical mucus or a spike in basal body temperature.

What can I do about AUB?

Women who are not trying to conceive can experience significant relief from AUB by taking hormonal birth control. Women who are trying to get pregnant should speak with a doctor about how to boost fertility and start a family with irregular periods. If abnormal bleeding is disrupting daily activities, seek treatment from an OB/GYN.