Abnormal bleeding is a common gynecologic condition. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs between a woman's menstrual cycles, in situations where flow is significantly heavier than normal for a particular individual, or when it occurs after menopause. Abnormal vaginal bleeding has many possible causes. By itself, it does not necessarily indicate a serious condition. In some cases, it can be associated with uterine fibroids, endometrial polyps, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), intrauterine device (IUD) or birth control usage.
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths of the uterus. Fibroids can grow on the inside of the uterus, within the muscle wall of the uterus, or on the outer surface of the uterus. Many women who have uterine fibroids do not have symptoms. When symptoms are present, they can include:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding, such as heavier, longer periods or bleeding between periods
- Pelvic pain, including pain during sex
- Low back pain that does not go away
- Urinary problems
Sometimes uterine fibroids may cause more serious problems, such as infertility, blockage of the urinary tract or bowels, or anemia.
- VIDEO: Understanding fibroids and abnormal uterine bleeding
- Fibroids - What Women Need to Know (web chat)
- 7 Things to Know About Living with Fibroids (Michigan Health Blog)
- Understanding Racial Disparities for Women with Uterine Fibroids (Michigan Health Blog)
- Learn more about uterine fibroid symptoms.
Treatment Options for Abnormal Bleeding & Fibroids
Treatment for abnormal bleeding will depend on many factors, including the cause, your age, the severity of the bleeding, and whether you want to have children. Common medical treatment options may include use of birth control pills, hormone injections, or a hormone-releasing IUD (intra-uterine device). Some women with abnormal vaginal bleeding may need to have surgery to control bleeding or to remove growths (such as polyps or fibroids) that are causing the bleeding. Common surgical treatment options include endometrial ablation, endometrial polyp removal, myomectomy, or hysterectomy.
Learn more about our surgical treatment options.