Common Causes of Abnormal Bleeding

If you’re in your childbearing years, you’re familiar with the normal frequency, duration, and heaviness of your menstrual cycle. Bleeding that varies from your typical period or occurs after menopause is considered abnormal uterine bleeding.

Depending on certain factors, such as your age, physical condition, and chronic medical issues, abnormal uterine bleeding may or may not be a cause for concern. Identifying the reason for your symptoms is the first step in managing abnormal bleeding and the underlying issues causing this condition. 

Women’s wellness specialist Monique Petteys, FNP-C, offers professional, personalized gynecology services to women of all ages at The Women's Center at Life Point Medical in Clayton, Georgia. After a complete physical evaluation and medical history, Monique determines the appropriate next steps to diagnose and treat the source of your bleeding. 

Generally, about 1% of U.S. women experience abnormal uterine bleeding. Understanding common causes of abnormal bleeding can help you know when this condition demands immediate care.  

Conditions related to irregular ovulation

When physical changes affect your body, they can also impact your reproductive system. You may experience abnormal bleeding due to irregular ovulation, which can occur due to stress, changes in exercise, obesity, or rapid weight changes. 

Irregular ovulation most often occurs at both ends of the reproductive timeline as a result of fluctuating levels of sex hormones. It’s common among teenage girls who are establishing normal menstrual cycles and women who are approaching menopause. It’s also common for women with thyroid disease. 

Issues with birth control or hormone replacement can also interfere with normal ovulation and cause abnormal uterine bleeding. If you’re at or near menopause, bleeding of any kind should be investigated by a medical professional. 

Abnormal uterine bleeding related to irregular ovulation can also be associated with the following:

Pregnancy issues

Abnormal uterine bleeding is relatively common in early pregnancy. In healthy pregnancies, it can occur when the fertilized egg implants in the lining of the uterus at about 10-14 days after conception. 

In problem pregnancies, abnormal uterine bleeding in the early weeks of conception can indicate miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the fetus implants outside the uterus. Since an ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening, you should report any bleeding in early pregnancy to your medical provider. 

Bleeding in later stages of pregnancy can indicate the following serious conditions:

Physical conditions affecting the uterus, vagina, or cervix

Many types of physical conditions that affect the physical structure of your reproductive system can cause abnormal uterine bleeding. 

Abnormal uterine bleeding can result from fibroids, which are noncancerous growths in the muscle of the uterus. Bleeding can also occur from the development of polyps, which are noncancerous growths on the lining of the uterus and cervix.

Abnormal uterine bleeding can also indicate a serious condition, such as cancer of the cervix, vagina, uterus, or ovaries.  About 90% of women with endometrial cancer, also known as uterine cancer, experience abnormal bleeding. 

Conditions that interfere with normal blood coagulation, such as leukemia or von Willebrand’s disease, can also cause abnormal uterine bleeding.

It’s virtually impossible to determine the source of abnormal uterine bleeding without a medical examination. Since some cases can indicate life-threatening conditions, it’s important to consult a medical professional for an accurate diagnosis. 

To find out more about common causes of abnormal bleeding and available treatments for conditions related to this problem, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Women's Center at Life Point Medical today.

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