Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Heavy Bleeding & Irregular Cycle Causes & Treatments

What Causes Spotting Between Periods?

Abnormal uterine bleeding refers to a wide range of bleeding disturbances in reproductive age women. While some vaginal bleeding between periods may be easy to diagnose and treat, irregular cycles may indicate an underlying health condition. Additionally, heavy bleeding may also be with a part of your regular menstrual cycle, normally associated with heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding.

Alternatively, you may experience an irregular cycle (i.e. bleeding but not on your period) secondary to a multitude of causes, most commonly structural abnormalities such as fibroids or polyps. Further, medical conditions such as thyroid dysfunction can cause abnormal bleeding patterns if left untreated.

When is Uterine Bleeding Considered Abnormal?

While it is common for women to experience some spotting between periods from time to time, bleeding is considered abnormal under the following circumstances:

  • Heavy bleeding during menstruation
  • Periods that last more than 7–9 days
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Longer or shorter menstrual cycles that last more than 38 days or less than 24 days
  • Bleeding or spotting after menopause
  • Bleeding between cycles

What is the Treatment for an Irregular Cycles?

Abnormal uterine bleeding treatment is aimed at stopping symptoms and preventing anemia.

Consultants in Women’s Healthcare provides individualized treatment and may use the following methods to determine the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding:

  • Detailed medical history
  • Comprehensive physical exams
  • Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound
  • Laboratory diagnostics
  • Testing for sexually transmitted infections
  • Endometrial/uterine biopsy

Common treatment options for spotting between periods and heavy bleeding include medical management with NSAIDs, oral contraceptive pills, and/or tranexamic acid (Lysteda) or Levonorgestrel-containing IUDs.

Additionally, some treatments may require conservative and minimally invasive surgical procedures, such as:

  • Hysteroscopic endometrial ablation
  • Hysteroscopic myomectomy or polypectomy (for structural abnormalities)
  • Uterine artery embolization
  • Definitive surgical management with hysterectomy, including:
    • Minimally invasive hysterectomy (e.g. laparoscopic hysterectomy or vaginal hysterectomy)
    • Traditional hysterectomy (e.g. abdominal hysterectomy)

To learn more about what causes spotting between periods or to discuss the symptoms associated with an irregular cycle, make an appointment at Consultants in Women’s Healthcare today.

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