Abnormal bleeding occurs when you bleed outside of your monthly period. Heavy bleeding or bleeding that occurs at random times and with a heavy flow may require a doctor’s attention.
It could mean complications with pregnancy, a possible pregnancy, problems with ovulation, or certain types of cancers.
Dr. Lillian Schapiro and Dr. Kristan Adams at Ideal Gynecology can evaluate if you’re experiencing abnormal bleeding and evaluate your risk for more serious conditions like cancer, fibroids, or bleeding disorders.
What is considered “normal” bleeding?
Spotting and a “normal” flow during your menstrual period are to be expected. Though every period is different, many have a period lasting between three and eight days, and returning every 21-35 days. Over the course of a menstrual period, you may bleed around two to three tablespoons (30-50 mL).
Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding occurring regularly throughout pregnancy isn’t usually normal. Bleeding before 12 weeks of pregnancy may mean a more serious consideration like an ectopic pregnancy or miscarraige.
What causes abnormal bleeding?
There is no single cause for abnormal bleeding. It may be a combination of various conditions. You may be experiencing:
- Issues with ovulation
- Fibroids and/or polyps
- Bleeding disorders
- Issues linked to birth control such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or birth control pills
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Various types of cancer, such as uterine cancer
How is “abnormal bleeding” diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask you a few questions about your cycle and may conduct a physical exam. Be prepared to talk about how heavy your flow is, how often you get your period and any other symptoms you may experience while on your period.
If there is cause for concern, your doctor may conduct more extensive tests.
An ultrasound exam uses sound waves to make a picture of the pelvic organs.
Your doctor may conduct a hysteroscopy. This is a test in which a lighted scope is inserted through the vagina and opening of the cervix, allowing the doctor to see inside the uterus.
Your doctor may also suggest an endometrial biopsy. This process requires a sample of the endometrium to be removed for further testing.
A sonohysterography may also be necessary. This is when fluid is placed in the uterus via a small tube. Ultrasound images are taken inside the uterus.
Treatment options for abnormal bleeding
In severe cases, abnormal bleeding may require surgery. A variety of options are available depending on the severity of your condition, age, and whether or not you’d be interested in having more children.
If you’re experiencing fibroids, your doctor may suggest a uterine artery embolization. The procedure blocks blood vessels to the uterus, which will, in turn, stop the blood flow to the fibroids. Fibroids are unable to grow.
If your abnormal bleeding is more severe and other procedures have failed, your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy, which is the surgical removal of the uterus. It may be used to treat endometrial cancer. The severity of this procedure causes long-term impacts, the most significant of which is the inability to have periods or get pregnant.
You and your doctor can decide the best treatment options for you depending on the severity of your condition.
For regular preventive care or to discuss your treatment options, chat with the specialists at Ideal Gynecology. Book online, or call for your first appointment today.