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Quick Facts

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

By

The Manual's Editorial Staff

Last full review/revision Dec 2019| Content last modified Dec 2019
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What is abnormal uterine bleeding?

Your uterus (womb) normally bleeds during your monthly period. Abnormal uterine bleeding is bleeding that's different from your usual period.

What causes abnormal uterine bleeding?

Abnormal uterine bleeding is often caused by problems with your female hormone levels. This can happen:

Sometimes, abnormal bleeding is caused by growths in or around your uterus, such as:

What are the symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding?

Abnormal uterine bleeding can mean any of the following:

How can doctors tell if I have abnormal uterine bleeding?

Doctors usually do tests to look for disorders that could be causing your bleeding, including:

  • Blood tests, including a blood count and certain hormone levels

  • Pregnancy test

  • Transvaginal ultrasonography (when doctors place an ultrasound device in your vagina to look at your uterus, ovaries, cervix, and vagina)

If you have risk factors for cancer or if certain abnormalities show up on the ultrasound, your doctor may also do:

  • Hysteroscopy (looking inside your uterus with a viewing tube)

  • Biopsy—taking a sample of tissue from the lining of your uterus and looking at it under a microscope

How do doctors treat abnormal uterine bleeding?

First, doctors usually:

  • Give you medicine to control bleeding, such as birth control pills or various other female hormones, or sometimes NSAIDs or tranexamic acid

If medicine doesn’t stop your abnormal uterine bleeding, doctors may do a procedure such as:

  • Scraping the lining of your uterus to remove tissue—this is called a D and C (dilation and curettage)

  • Removing the lining of your uterus by freezing or burning it—this is called endometrial ablation

If the above treatments don’t stop your bleeding or if the tests show cancer, doctors may do surgery to remove your uterus. The surgery is called a hysterectomy.

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