A woman’s monthly menstrual cycle ought to be regular, with intervals of 24 to 38 days. Typically, a monthly period lasts for about eight days on average, and a woman loses no more than two tablespoons of blood. Some women have atypical periods, characterized either by shorter or longer length or by a change in the usual interval. For others who experience abnormal uterine bleeding, the problems become complicated and concerning.
Diagnosis of abnormal bleeding
A menstrual period can be considered abnormal when the flow is heavier than usual. Heavy bleeding may be accompanied by spotting between periods or bleeding after sexual intercourse. An obstetrics practitioner in Provo will diagnose abnormal uterine bleeding after taking a medical history, conducting a physical exam, and referring to test results. The ob-gyn specialist in the clinic may perform some of the tests, such as hysteroscopy and an ultrasound exam. Tests such as an endometrial biopsy is more invasive and require removal of endometrial tissue. Other relevant tests for diagnosis of abnormal uterine bleeding are sonohysterography, Computed tomography (CT) scan, and Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
For women approaching menopause, and for some teenagers, heavy menstrual bleeding is a direct consequence of hormone imbalance. The release of female reproductive hormones from the pituitary gland in the brain is a highly regulated and delicate process. Many factors bring about imbalance, which disrupt the cycle. Estrogen is the hormone that makes the uterine lining or endometrium thicken. When there is hormonal imbalance the lining thickens more than normal, and when it is time for the body to get rid of it the result is heavy menstrual bleeding. When there is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone, the uterine lining will not shed completely, and bleeding may be irregular. When it occurs, the bleeding may be heavier than usual. When hormones go awry the body will not know the proper time to shed the lining, hence spotting may occur in between periods. Hormonal imbalance may be a cause depending on the age of the woman.
In many cases, abnormal uterine bleeding is an offshoot of structural problems of the uterus. Fibroids are growths in the uterine muscle, while polyps are growths in the lining. Both of these are benign. Uterine cancer takes the form of growths, but unlike fibroids and polyps, they are malignant. Structural causes may be revealed as the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding after a transvaginal sonogram, or a sonohysterography.
Anovulatory or Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB)
When the bleeding is not due to structural abnormalities in the uterus as ascertained by tests, the doctor may give a diagnosis ofdysfunctional uterine bleeding or DUB. Before providing the diagnosis, the ob-gyn will rule out chronic illness and other medical conditions. It is essential to comply with tests recommended by the doctor so that structural abnormalities may be ruled out.
The clinical presentation of abnormal uterine bleeding is often complicated. Menstrual disorders must never be taken for granted. Consult with a trusted ob-gyn as soon as you experience problems with your period.