This topic is for women who
want to learn about or have been diagnosed with abnormal uterine bleeding
(AUB). It is related to abnormal changes in
hormone levels. If you don't know what kind of
bleeding you have, see the topic
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is irregular bleeding from the
uterus. For example, you may get your
period more often than every 21 days or farther apart
than 35 days. Your period may last longer than 7 days. Abnormal uterine bleeding has also been called dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB). It is not serious, but
it can be annoying and can disrupt your life.
In most cases, this
problem is related to abnormal changes in hormone levels. It is not caused by other medical conditions, such as
fibroids, cancer, or blood clotting problems. Your
doctor will rule out these and other causes of vaginal bleeding to confirm that
you have abnormal uterine bleeding.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is usually caused by changes in hormone
levels. In some cases the cause of the bleeding isn't known.
Normally one of your
ovaries releases an egg during your menstrual cycle.
This is called
ovulation. Abnormal uterine bleeding is often
triggered when women don't ovulate. This causes abnormal changes in hormone levels and
in some cases can lead to unexpected vaginal bleeding.
also get this condition even though they ovulate, although this is less common.
Experts don't fully understand this type of vaginal bleeding. It may be caused
by changes in certain body chemicals.
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.
Talk to your doctor if you have had irregular vaginal
bleeding for three or more menstrual cycles or if your symptoms are affecting
your daily life.
Your doctor must first rule out all other causes of vaginal bleeding
before diagnosing abnormal uterine bleeding. These causes include
miscarriage and problems with pregnancy. Vaginal bleeding may also be caused by
common conditions, such as uterine fibroids.
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.
You have abnormal
uterine bleeding if, after testing, your doctor finds no other diseases or
conditions that are causing your symptoms.