What women need to know about abnormal uterine bleeding

What women need to know about abnormal uterine bleeding. Picture: Supplied

What women need to know about abnormal uterine bleeding. Picture: Supplied

Published Jun 4, 2024


Rene Schickerling, Women’s Health Category Manager for Pharma Dynamics, brings attention to abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), sharing crucial patterns that women should learn.

Schickerling suggests that around one-third of women will experience abnormal uterine bleeding, which is normal during menarche and perimenopause.

However, any unusual or irregular bleeding should not be overlooked, as it may indicate a serious illness such as cancer or uterine fibroids.

She further says some women may experience occasional menstrual cycle or bleeding variations, but persistent or recurrent abnormal uterine bleeding requires healthcare provider evaluation to identify the underlying cause and appropriate management.

“There are multiple reasons that could lead to AUB, some of which include stress, rapid weight gain or loss, medications, fibroids, polyps, endometriosis, diabetes, kidney disease, polycystic ovary syndrome, thyroid disease, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), certain cancers, as well as certain oral contraceptives and intrauterine devices (IUDs).

“Additionally, factors such as age, overall health, and individual menstrual history may influence what is considered abnormal for a particular woman. Therefore, any changes or concerns regarding menstrual bleeding that are outside of the norm should be discussed with a doctor.”

She says AUB can manifest in various ways, which may include:

1. Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia): menstrual periods that are unusually heavy, with prolonged bleeding that lasts more than seven days or requires frequent changing of sanitary products.

2. Bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia): unexpected bleeding or spotting that occurs between menstrual periods.

3. Irregular menstrual cycles: menstrual cycles that are significantly shorter or longer than usual or menstrual periods that occur at irregular intervals.

4. Intermenstrual spotting: light bleeding or spotting that occurs intermittently between menstrual periods.

5. Bleeding after menopause: any vaginal bleeding that occurs after a woman has gone through menopause, which is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months in women over the age of 45–55.

6. Bleeding after sexual intercourse (postcoital bleeding): vaginal bleeding that occurs immediately or shortly after sexual activity.

Abnormal bleeding treatment depends on the underlying cause, but in ovulatory dysfunction cases, AUB can typically be resolved with a low-dose combined oral contraceptive containing oestrogen and progesterone.

“If not effective, minimally invasive procedures, such as endometrial ablation, could be considered. Hysterectomy may also be an option, yet this depends on individual factors such as hormone levels, severity of symptoms, underlying health conditions, reproductive plans, age, and personal preferences.

“Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and weight, which includes regular exercise and stress management, may also help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce bleeding.

“Abnormal uterine bleeding can significantly impact multiple aspects of a woman’s life, affecting physical health, emotional well-being, social interactions, and daily activities. Seeking timely medical evaluation and appropriate treatment can help alleviate symptoms, improve quality of life, and address any underlying health concerns,” advises Schickerling.

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