In case of abnormal uterine bleeding, also referred to as menometrorrhagia, women experience extremely heavy menstrual flows, unusually long periods, or bleeding between periods. There are many potential causes of such abnormal bleeding, like polyps, fibroids, and hormonal fluctuations. In very rare cases, the reason might be cancer. It’s essential to seek professional medical assistance when you notice something wrong with your menstrual cycle, especially when it comes to excessive bleeding. You can always count on expert gynecological services in Sarasota, FL, for all women’s wellness and health matters.

What’s Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (Menometrorrhagia)?

As mentioned, abnormal uterine bleeding (menometrorrhagia) is when a woman experiences heavy or unusually long periods or bleeds in between two monthly periods. In most cases, the cause of uterine bleeding is nothing too serious, but you should still tell your doctor about it. After all, there’s a slight chance that the reason might be something dangerous. Also, the sooner you deal with this issue, the sooner the abnormal bleeding should cease.

Up until 2011, the term menometrorrhagia was used to describe two different conditions, namely menorrhagia, or heavy and long period bleeding, and metrorrhagia, or heavy and prolonged bleeding with no relation to menstruating. Since 2011, menorrhagia refers to heavy periods and menometrorrhagia to abnormal uterine bleeding.

Unusual uterine bleeding primarily affects women in their reproductive years who aren’t pregnant, but that doesn’t mean it can never affect pregnant or menopausal women. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our expert doctors at University Park OBGYN if you find anything unusual with your monthly periods and flow frequency. Contact a doctor immediately if you’re pregnant or in menopause and bleeding.

Potential Causes of Uterine Hemorrhage

Doctor and Patient Discussing Something While Sitting at the Table

Even stress can be the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding. However, there’s also a range of different conditions that could be behind the unusual uterine hemorrhage, such as:

  • Hormonal imbalance such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), thyroid issues, and anovulation; being overweight can also bring about hormonal imbalance
  • Uterine abnormalities such as fibroids, polyps, and adenomyosis
  • Precancerous and cancerous growths such as ovarian, vaginal, cervical, and uterine cancers, as well as endometrial hyperplasia
  • Vaginal infections such as vaginitis, endometritis, cervicitis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia
  • Certain medications such as hormone replacement therapy, birth control pills, injectables, blood thinners and aspirin, a breast cancer drug called tamoxifen, as well as intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Some medical conditions such as leukemia, platelet disorders, pelvic inflammatory disease, kidney and liver diseases, Von Willebrand disease
  • Retained foreign bodies and trauma, such as an injury to the uterus or not removing a tampon in time, which could lead to infection and, consequently, uterine hemorrhage

Treatment of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

The effective treatment for uterine bleeding will depend on what’s causing it in the first place. That said, there’s a range of surgical options and medications to treat the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding.

Available meds that can be used for treating uterine hemorrhage include the following:

  • Birth control pills and progestin, the latter often in the form of an IUD or shot, can manage the hormonal imbalance
  • GnRH hormone agonists can reduce heavy bleeding for a while by stopping ovulation¬†¬†
  • GnRH hormone antagonists can reduce heavy bleeding caused by fibroids in the uterus
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen

Certain conditions that can result in abnormal uterine bleeding simply cannot be fixed with medication only and require surgery. The following surgical procedures can be used to treat certain causes of uterine bleeding, such as:

  • Hysteroscopy is a procedure that removes abnormal uterine structures such as polyps and fibroids.
  • Uterine artery embolization is a procedure that can shrink the fibroid formations by stopping the blood flow.
  • Myomectomy is a procedure that effectively removes the fibroids without actually damaging the uterus, meaning that conception is still possible.
  • Endometrial ablation is a procedure that destroys the uterine lining, and after undergoing it, it’s no longer possible to get pregnant.
  • Hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that completely removes the uterus and is often performed in cases where cancer or cancerous changes are the main issues.

Can You Prevent Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?

Gynecologist Talking With Young Female Patient During Medical Consultation in Modern Clinic.

Considering the potential causes of abnormal uterine bleeding, most of them aren’t preventable by something a woman should or shouldn’t do. However, it’s possible to minimize the risk of uterine bleeding to a certain degree. The most recommended practice is maintaining your ideal weight by following a healthy and balanced diet and engaging in regular physical activity. Also, practicing safe sex by using condoms can protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs), which are also one of the potential causes of uterine hemorrhage.

If you do happen to have this condition, the prognosis will depend on the cause of uterine bleeding. There are many different factors to consider when abnormal uterine bleeding is diagnosed, such as other symptoms, your age, as well as other risk factors. Your doctor can develop an adequate treatment and care plan based on your medical history and the physical exam results.

When to See a Doctor?

Even though the majority of potential uterine bleeding causes are relatively harmless, it’s still crucial to identify the cause quickly so you can receive appropriate treatment. Once you notice there’s something wrong with your menstrual flow or find yourself bleeding irregularly apart from your periods, make sure to schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Be especially mindful of the following symptoms:

  • Really heavy bleeding that requires you to change sanitary pads every hour or two
  • Noticing quarter-size or larger blood clots while bleeding
  • Menstruating for more than one week
  • Bleeding and/or spotting in between two periods
  • Anemia symptoms such as feeling weak and fatigued, short of breath
  • Pica symptoms such as pale skin, hair loss, and having the urge to eat things that aren’t food like dirt or paper

Remember that it’s not normal to have your menstrual flow or any other kind of vaginal bleeding interfere with your daily activities or quality of life. If you have to suddenly buy more menstrual products than before or miss out on certain activities because of excessive or unpredictable bleeding, make sure to notify your doctor about it immediately.

You already know what’s your “normal” in the sense of how long your periods last, how regular they are, and how heavy they can get. In general, any sudden change from what’s typical for you warrants a visit to the doctor. In many cases, it’s nothing too serious, but it’s still worth managing for your own peace of mind and more enjoyable life. That said, feel free to reach out to us at University Park OBGYN if you have any questions or concerns about your gynecological and reproductive health. We provide expert patient care for women of all ages, post-menopause included.