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Menstrual Irregularities

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Any vaginal bleeding not associated with or significantly different from your normal menstrual cycle is abnormal. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can refer to spotting between cycles or heavy bleeding during your cycle that soaks a pad an hour for several hours or bleeding that lasts for weeks at a time.

Symptoms of Irregular or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

  • A typical menstrual cycle occurs every 21 to 35 days when your uterine lining is shed. This can last a few days or more than a week and can include heavy flow or light spotting and still be considered normal.
  • Symptoms of abnormal bleeding include any vaginal bleeding outside your normal menstrual cycle pattern.
  • If you're pregnant, contact your doctor immediately if you notice vaginal bleeding.

Causes and Risk Factors of Abnormal or Heavy Bleeding

  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be caused by many gynecological conditions or other medical problems. Including:
  • Cervical cancer
  • Cervicitis
  • Chlamydia
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Endometrial hyperplasia
  • Endometritis
  • Fluctuating hormone levels
  • Gonorrhea
  • Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • Perimenopause
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine polyps
  • Uterine sarcoma
  • Vaginal cancer
  • Vaginal or cervical trauma
  • Vaginitis

Anytime you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, talk to a physician. There may be certain circumstances when such bleeding is not unusual.

You may experience occasional spotting the first few months when you start birth control pills.

As you near menopause (perimenopause) you may experience increasingly heavy or irregular periods

Postmenopausal women taking hormone replacement therapy may experience some bleeding, but talk to your doctor if you are concerned.

If you are postmenopausal and not taking hormone therapy, talk to your doctor.

Tests to Diagnosis Abnormal or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

You should talk to your doctor any time you are concerned about abnormal vaginal bleeding. Prolonged heavy vaginal bleeding can lead to serious complications such as anemia.

Your doctor will start with a complete medical history to determine the frequency, duration, and severity of your symptoms to help determine the cause of your abnormal menstrual bleeding and your best treatment options.

Treatments and Therapies for Abnormal or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Treatment for abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding will depend on the underlying cause. Abnormal menstrual bleeding caused by hormonal imbalances, for example, can be treated with medications. Your doctor will recommend additional therapies and treatments for abnormal vaginal bleeding to best address the cause and symptoms.

Surgical Procedures for Abnormal or Heavy Menstrual Bleeding

Heavy or abnormal menstrual bleeding sometimes requires surgery. If hormonal therapies or other treatments aren’t successful, there are surgical options that can significantly alleviate or eliminate heavy or abnormal vaginal bleeding.

  • Endometrial Ablation
  • Hysterectomy

If you have any concerns about abnormal menstrual bleeding, Dr. Constant-Peter at Family & Women’s Health in Avalon Park, can be reached at 407.306.0982 or visit our contact page.