More Than A Monthly Period
Women with monthly periods expect some bleeding. But for some, bleeding can happen well beyond the menstrual cycle. These situations are called abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). As many as 33% of women worldwide undergo some form of abnormal uterine bleeding. And this is usually a sign of an underlying condition.
Determining abnormal uterine bleeding
There are several signs of abnormal uterine bleeding. For instance, heavy bleeding before or after the menstrual cycle. Heavy bleeding well beyond the norm during the period, can be deemed unusual. Bleeding may be followed by intense pain. An OB/GYN may find that 1 of these 3 issues is causing irregular bleeding.
1. Beware those pesky polyps
Uterine polyps are a fleshy overgrowth of tissue that happens along the uterine wall. Polyps can be tiny, almost unnoticeable, or grow to the size of a golf ball. These growths are usually non-cancerous, with less than 2% of cases being endometrial cancer. However, the very presence of polyps can cause some severe issues. Some polyps tend to block sperm from fertilizing the egg. Others may be preventing the egg from implanting on the uterine wall. Most women with polyps have prolonged or excessive menstrual bleeding and infertility. The best bet is to visit a doctor who may suggest a polypectomy.
2. Could fibroids be at fault?
Fibroids are smooth muscle tumors that develop in and around the uterus. Up to 68% of women may have the condition, though many are asymptomatic. Fibroids thrive on hormones and grow or multiply with high amounts of estrogen and progesterone. While there are different types of fibroids, submucosal fibroids could be the cause of uterine bleeding. These fibroids develop in the uterine lining, causing irregular periods, uterine bleeding, and other symptoms. Abnormal uterine bleeding is a sign to visit the doctor for further treatment.
3. Hormonal changes with PCOS
Cysts are sacs of fluid that grow on different parts of the body. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common condition where several cysts develop on the ovaries. PCOS is usually caused by an imbalance of hormones. This constant imbalance can cause anovulation, leaving the follicles to form cysts around the ovaries. The hormone imbalance can also cause the endometrium to become thicker. This causes abnormal uterine bleeding, including longer and heavier periods. Using tests like an ultrasound, doctors can diagnose the condition and provide treatment options to reduce bleeding.
Stop abnormal uterine bleeding the right way
Abnormal uterine bleeding can be concerning, stressful, and impact the quality of life. The condition is usually a sign of an underlying issue like polyps, fibroids, or PCOS. While these conditions are not life-threatening, women can experience serious complications like infertility. Visit a doctor for a thorough exam to determine the source of the irregular bleeding.