What is dysfunctional uterine bleeding?
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is irregular menstrual bleeding that isn't
caused by a serious condition such as disease or a pregnancy complication. It
is usually caused by changing
hormone levels, which may affect
ovulation. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is most
common during the teen and
perimenopausal years, when reproductive hormones tend
You may have dysfunctional uterine bleeding if you
have one or more of the following symptoms:
- Menstrual bleeding that occurs more often
than every 21 days (a normal menstrual cycle is 21 to 35 days
- Menstrual bleeding that lasts longer than 7 days (normally 4
to 6 days).
- Blood loss of more than
80mL each menstrual cycle (normally about
30mL). If you are passing blood clots or
soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours, your
bleeding is considered heavy.
These symptoms can also be signs of a serious medical
problem. If you have the above symptoms, your health professional must check
for all serious causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as miscarriage or
disease, before concluding that you have dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
What are the risks of dysfunctional uterine bleeding?
Heavy uterine bleeding can lead to
anemia, causing weakness, pale skin, and general
tiredness (fatigue). In cases of severe uterine bleeding,
blood transfusion is used to quickly restore needed
Over time, irregular uterine bleeding can make it
difficult to have an active life. Irregular bleeding can interfere with daily
living and sports activities, as well as sexual relations.
How is dysfunctional uterine bleeding treated?
number of treatment options are available for irregular uterine bleeding that
has no serious cause (dysfunctional uterine bleeding). Each of these options
works well for some women, but not others. Treatments include:
- Watchful waiting for a teenager or for a
menopause. Menstrual cycles usually even out as a
teen's body matures, and a woman's cycles end at menopause.
- Hormone treatment.
levonorgestrel IUD releases a form of the hormone
progesterone into the uterus. This reduces bleeding
while preventing pregnancy.
- If you've been bleeding because of low progesterone,
progestin treatment can help you start bleeding
- Birth control (progestin and estrogen) pills can help
regulate your cycle, prevent ovulation, and reduce or stop menstrual
- Seldom-used medicines that stop estrogen production and
menstruation, such as
gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues (GnRH-As).
This drug isn't commonly used for long-term treatment because of severe side
- Surgery, such as
dilation and curettage (D&C) for short-term relief
of severe bleeding or
endometrial ablation for longer-term relief of
bleeding. In uncontrollable cases of uterine bleeding, the uterus can be
If you need more information, see the topic
Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding.