Abnormal menstrual bleeding is widespread and not cause for immediate alarm, but if you experience persistent, abnormal bleeding that interferes with your daily activities, there may be something larger at play. Dr. Heather Leslie-Brown of Brown’s Women’s Care in Monroe, North Carolina, is an OB/GYN who is trained to find both the source of the problem and a corresponding treatment to help you get back to your routine.
Abnormal Bleeding Q & A
Abnormal bleeding is commonly characterized by the following:
- Spotting in between periods
- Abnormally heavy or light flow (a heavy flow is one that soaks through a pad or tampon every two hours)
- Vaginal bleeding before the age of nine
- Vaginal bleeding after menopause
- Vaginal bleeding while you are pregnant
- Menstrual cycles that are longer than 38 days or shorter than 24 days
There are many reasons why your menstrual cycles can be interrupted or irregular, but the chief causes of abnormal bleeding are:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is a hormone imbalance that affects ovulation
- Hormone birth control methods that affect the duration and blood flow of your menstrual cycles
- Sexually transmitted infections
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Uterine fibroids
- IUDs that use hormone control
- Endometriosis, a condition where the lining of your uterus grows on the outside of the uterus
Most women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding at some point in their lives, and these episodes usually resolve themselves. You should see Dr. Leslie-Brown, however, if you meet any of the following conditions:
- The abnormal bleeding is interfering with your routine
- You want to get pregnant
- You have anemia as a result of heavy menstrual bleeding
- You are in menopause
If you are pregnant and you are experiencing bleeding, seek medical advice right away.
Treatment for abnormal bleeding depends on the cause and whether it is even a problem. For example, if you are experiencing lighter than normal periods because of a hormone medication, that is to be expected and doesn’t need to be treated. In other cases where you may experience heavier flow or spotting, a simple adjustment in medication may be all that is needed.
In more challenging cases, however, Dr. Leslie-Brown may suggest more aggressive measures, such as:
- Hormone control
- Endometrial ablation, which is a procedure that destroys the lining of your uterus to lessen or stop your menstrual cycles altogether
- Cyst and fibroid removal
Dr. Leslie-Brown will thoroughly review all of the options available to help you regulate your periods in a way that suits your circumstances and medical history.