Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

What is dysfunctional uterine bleeding? This is uterine bleeding from the vagina that is not normal or irregular. For instance, an individual may have their period much more often than every twenty-one (21) days or further apart than thirty-five (35) days – both which are considered normal. In some cases, periods can last more than seven (7) days – which is not serious but more likely to be irritating as well as disturb activities.

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In the majority of cases, this problem is linked to changes in levels of hormone. In most cases it is not caused by any other medical problem such as fibroids, cancer, blood clotting or miscarriage problem. The individual’s primary care physician can rule out these as well as other causes of bleeding from the vagina to confirm if it dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

Symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding

The symptoms or signs of dysfunctional uterine bleeding include 1 or more of the following:

• Period more frequently than every twenty one (21) days or more apart by thirty-five (35) days. Normal teen cycle is twenty-one (21) to forty-five (45) days

• Period last longer than 7 days – normally 4 to 6 days

• Bleeding is heavier than normal. If a woman is passing clots of blood or soaking thru the usual number of tampons or pads every hour for 2 or more hours, then the bleeding is considered severe and she should call her physician.

Speak with your primary care physician or OBGYN if you have had vaginal bleeding that is irregular for three (3) or even more cycles or if the symptoms are disturbing your everyday life.

Causes of dysfunctional uterine bleeding

This disorder is normally caused by hormone level changes and in some cases the cause is really not known.

In normal cases one of the ovaries releases an egg during the cycle. This is referred to as ovulation. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is sometimes triggered when a woman does not ovulate. This creates changes in levels of hormone and in some cases can even lead to vaginal bleeding that is unexpected.

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Women may also have this problem even when they do ovulate, but this is less common. Researchers do not fully understand this kind of vaginal bleeding. It could be caused by changes in certain chemicals in the body.

Treatment of dysfunctional uterine bleeding

There are multiple ways that this condition can be treated. Some are intended to have the menstrual cycle return to normal. There are others used just to reduce the bleeding or to halt monthly periods totally. Each treatment works for some and not others. Treatments include:

• Short course of estrogen high dosage. Estrogen is a hormone that is normally used to halt heavy bleeding that is dangerous.

• Hormones, for instance progestin pill or birth control pill such as progestin and estrogen daily. These help manage the menstrual cycle and also reduces cramping as well as bleeding.

• Using levonorgestrel IUD that releases a progesterone-like hormone in the uterus. This will reduce bleeding while preventing pregnancy.

• Medications that stop estrogen production as well as menstruation are rarely used, for instances gonadotropin-releasing hormones. These medications have severe side effects but they are used in special cases.

• When other treatments do not work, surgery such as hysterectomy or endometrial ablation is used.

If the woman has any menstrual pain or heavy bleeding, she can take doses of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAID, for instance ibuprofen.

There are also some cases where physicians will use “watchful waiting” or a wait and see method of treatment. This may be ok for a teen or for women nearing menopause. Some teens will have those times of irregular vaginal bleeding that normally gets better over time as levels of hormone even out. For women going thru menopause and expecting their periods to stop, they might choose to just wait and see if that happens prior to trying other methods of treatments.

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