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Women's Health

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Abnormal Uterine Bleeding - Treatment Overview

It's important to let your doctor know if you have abnormal uterine bleeding. There are many ways to help treat it. Bleeding can usually be managed with medicine to reduce bleeding and/or hormone therapy to either stop or regulate menstrual periods. Surgical treatment is reserved for bleeding that can't be controlled with medicine or hormone therapy.

Acute, severe uterine bleeding

Severe uterine bleeding is usually treated on an emergency basis with a short course of high-dose estrogen therapy. If that isn't effective in rare cases, a dilation and curettage (D&C) may be done to clear the uterus of tissue. When needed, a blood transfusion is used to quickly restore needed blood volume.

If you are treated for severe uterine bleeding, you and your doctor can then choose a treatment that is safe for the longer term.

Ongoing uterine bleeding

Your age, the cause of your condition, and any future plans for pregnancy will impact the treatment choices available to you.

  • If you are a teen, you can expect your periods to become more regular as your body matures. You may choose to wait and see if your periods become more regular. If you need treatment, your doctor may prescribe progestin or birth control pills to regulate your cycle.
  • If you are not ovulating regularly, it's difficult to predict how long your abnormal bleeding will last until you stop having periods completely (menopause). If you need treatment, your doctor may give you hormone therapy (such as birth control pills or a hormonal IUD) to regulate your cycle. If you have no future childbearing plans and have severe symptoms, you can opt for surgical treatment to remove your uterus (hysterectomy) or to destroy the uterine lining (endometrial ablation).
  • If you are ovulating regularly, have abnormal bleeding, and plan to become pregnant in the future, talk to your doctor about your treatment options. Depending on the cause of your bleeding, he or she may recommend treatments such as progestin or birth control pills or a hysteroscopy to remove polyps or fibroids. If you have no future pregnancy plans, you can consider endometrial ablation or hysterectomy if other treatment doesn't help.
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