Causes of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal bleeding | CU OB/GYNAbout 10 million women suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding. Many women begin to experience heavy and/or irregular bleeding in their 30s and 40s, as they begin to move closer to menopause.

Heavy and irregular periods are not only disruptive to a woman’s daily activities; they often also cause social embarrassment and significant emotional distress.

Why do some women have heavy bleeding?

There are many different causes for abnormal uterine bleeding, and more than one cause may be contributing to an individual woman’s symptoms.

Anatomic lesions may be the cause, including both uterine fibroids and polyps. Sometimes, simple overgrowth of the endometrial lining, referred to as hyperplasia, can result in increasingly heavy menstrual cycles. Unfortunately, in some women a uterine cancer may be found.

Besides anatomic causes, thyroid dysfunction and stress may contribute to irregular bleeding. Far more commonly, however, a woman may simply be experiencing dysfunctional uterine bleeding as a result of changes in her normal hormonal balance.

Related reading: Heavy Periods & Birth Control

Treatment of abnormal uterine bleeding

When a woman experiences heavy and irregular bleeding late in her reproductive years, she often worries that hysterectomy is the only solution. However, a number of treatment options besides hysterectomy are available to women, depending on their individual situation.

These treatments include the birth control pill, progestin-only pill, the Mirena IUD, hysteroscopic resection of endometrial polyps and fibroids, uterine artery embolization, and in some women, endometrial ablation.

Related reading: Don’t Let Heavy Periods Disrupt Your Life

We are here to help

If you have questions or concerns about your menstrual cycle, please schedule an appointment with one of our gynecologists.