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Understanding Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

January 30, 2024
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Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB) is a prevalent gynecological concern that impacts many women at some stage in their lives. It refers to any unusual bleeding pattern outside the normal menstrual cycle. While occasional variations in menstrual flow are common, persistent or heavy bleeding should not be dismissed.

To appreciate what constitutes abnormal uterine bleeding, let's briefly understand the normal menstrual cycle. A typical menstrual cycle lasts around 28 days, although 21-35 days cycles are common. Menstruation occurs as a result of the shedding of the uterine lining, and the bleeding usually lasts for about 3 to 7 days. Any deviations from this pattern may be considered abnormal.

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Hormonal Imbalances

Fluctuations in hormonal levels, particularly estrogen and progesterone, can disrupt the normal menstrual cycle. Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), thyroid disorders or perimenopause can contribute to hormonal imbalances.

Structural problems

Non-cancerous growths in the uterus, known as fibroids, can lead to hefty or extended menstrual bleeding. Fibroids are relatively common and may require medical attention if they cause significant discomfort or interfere with fertility.

Also, conditions like endometriosis and adenomyosis, which are conditions relating to endometrial glandular activity outside the uterus, are also becoming common. These need to be diagnosed early and treated appropriately.

Endometrial polyps are growths in the lining of the uterus that can cause irregular bleeding. While usually benign, they may need to be removed if causing symptoms or if there's concern about cancer.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

Infections of the reproductive organs, often resulting from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), can lead to inflammation and abnormal bleeding.

Rarely coagulation disorders, which are conditions affecting blood clotting, can result in heavy menstrual bleeding. Disorders such as von Willebrand disease or platelet dysfunction may be involved.

When to seek help

It is crucial to recognize when abnormal uterine bleeding requires prompt medical attention. Consult a medical professional in the following cases:

  • Heavy bleeding: Soaking through more than one sanitary pad or tampon every hour.
  • Bleeding between periods or after menopause: Any vaginal bleeding outside the normal menstrual cycle warrants investigation.
  • Severe pain or discomfort: Especially if it interferes with daily activities.

Conclusion

understanding the potential causes of abnormal uterine bleeding is the first step toward seeking appropriate medical care. If you or someone you know is experiencing unusual menstrual patterns, don't hesitate to consult with a gynaecologist. Early detection and treatment can address underlying issues, ensuring long-term reproductive health and well-being.

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