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Women's Health

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Abnormal Uterine Bleeding - Topic Overview

This topic is for women who want to learn about or have been diagnosed with abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). Abnormal uterine bleeding has several causes. If you don't know what kind of bleeding you have, see the topic Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding.

Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is irregular bleeding from the uterus that is longer or heavier than usual or does not occur at your regular time. For example, you may have heavy bleeding during your period or in between periods.

Bleeding during pregnancy is a different problem. If you are pregnant and have any amount of bleeding from the vagina, be sure to tell your doctor.

Abnormal uterine bleeding has many causes. It is sometimes caused by changes in hormone levels. It can also be caused by problems such as growths in the uterus or clotting problems.

In some cases the cause of the bleeding isn't known.

You may have abnormal uterine bleeding if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • You get your period more often than every 21 days or farther apart than 35 days. A normal adult menstrual cycle is 21 to 35 days long. A normal teen cycle is 21 to 45 days.
  • Your period lasts longer than 7 days (normally 4 to 6 days).
  • Your bleeding is heavier than normal. If you are passing blood clots and soaking through your usual pads or tampons each hour for 2 or more hours, your bleeding is considered severe and you should call your doctor.

Before your doctor finds the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding, he or she must first make sure it's not vaginal bleeding from pregnancy or miscarriage.

Your doctor will ask how often, how long, and how much you have been bleeding. You may also have a pelvic exam, urine test, blood tests, and possibly an ultrasound. These tests will help your doctor check for other causes of your symptoms. He or she may also take a tiny sample (biopsy) of tissue from your uterus for testing.

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