Medically Reviewed by W. Brad Campbell, MD
What’s normal and what’s not normal when considering a woman’s monthly menstrual bleeding? Here are some guidelines to determine if you have “dysfunctional uterine bleeding”:
If you are experiencing bleeding, take some over-the-counter medication, such as ibuprofen. It will help control the bleeding and lessen pain.
Use a tampon to ensure that the bleeding is NOT coming from your urine or rectum, situations that might require more immediate medical attention.
A long list of causes can trigger abnormal uterine bleeding, ranging from hormonal imbalances to fibroids,pregnancy complications, underactive thyroid, and precancer of the cervix or uterus.
You should see a doctor soon, if:
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
Your OB/GYN will check for thyroid and ovarian function with some blood tests.
They may conduct an ultrasound, take a pregnancy test, do a Pap smear, or take a tissue sample (biopsy) for analysis.
“A woman’s age, her desire to have children and the cause of the bleeding will determine the most appropriate treatment,” says McLeod OB/GYN Brad Campbell, M.D. “Some prescription medications can help control bleeding. Birth control pills or progesterone can help bring hormones into balance. Antibiotics may be prescribed if there is an infection.”
An office procedure or same-day surgery may be recommended to remove polyps or fibroids. Another procedure Endometrial Ablation can help control bleeding.
If the bleeding or cause is severe, the OB/GYN may recommend removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). After this procedure, a woman will not have periods and can’t have children.
If cancer is found, the OB/GYN will work with the patient and an oncologist to determine the best treatment.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding is cause for concern — but not panic. Most causes of bleeding can be controlled with medication or minor surgery. Follow the guidelines above. Then, see your OB/GYN as soon as possible for an exam and diagnosis.
Sources include: McLeod Health, National Institutes of Health, American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists, British Journal of Gynecology, Best Practices in Clinical Obstetrics & Gynecology