Our Approach to Diagnosing and Treating Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding can be scary, frustrating or downright inconvenient. At Coyle Institute, we know how upsetting it can be for women to experience this condition and not know the cause of it. Our goal is to determine possible root causes and work to remedy any contributing issues. With the right treatments, abnormal uterine bleeding can be completely resolved.
What Constitutes Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
Abnormal uterine bleeding (also called menometrorrhagia) is when a woman bleeds between monthly periods or when periods are extremely heavy and/or prolonged. Normal menstrual flow typically lasts about five days and occurs every 21 to 35 days. When a woman has excessive and/or prolonged menstruation, it is called menorrhagia. When a woman has excessive, prolonged and/or irregular bleeding unrelated to menstruation, it is called metrorrhagia. Abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bleeding at unusual times (between periods, after intercourse)
- Unusually long periods (seven days or longer)
- Inconsistent menstrual cycles
What Causes Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
Determining the causes of abnormal uterine bleeding is our top priority when developing a solution. Abnormal uterine bleeding is most commonly caused by:
- Hormone imbalances, such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) or thyroid disease
- Structural abnormalities of the uterus, such as polyps or fibroids
- Precancer and cancer which may include uterine cancer, cervical cancer, vaginal cancer, ovarian cancer or endometrial hyperplasia
- Infections, such as vaginitis or sexually transmitted diseases
- Other medical conditions such as liver or kidney issues
- Certain medications
- Retained foreign bodies, such as an unremoved IUD, and trauma
How We Diagnose Causes of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Depending on your unique medical history, the cause of abnormal uterine bleeding can be diagnosed in several different ways. Your provider at Coyle Institute will ask several questions when working toward your diagnosis and may perform a series of tests. These tests may include:
- A pregnancy test
- Blood tests
- Thyroid tests
- Hormone tests
- Hysteroscopic exams
- Pelvic ultrasound
These tests can be helpful in determining if iron therapy is needed due to prolonged blood loss or if thyroid or hormone treatments are needed to balance hormones that signal the body to bleed. If further treatment is needed, a hysteroscopic exam will reveal polyps, fibroids or other uterine abnormalities that affect endometrial thickness. At the same time, an endometrial ablation can be done to remove excess endometrial lining or polyps. Pelvic ultrasounds can also reveal uterine or cervical abnormalities that may be contributing to abnormal uterine bleeding.
How We Treat Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding can often be remedied with the right combination of medications, such as bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, birth control or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents. In addition, hysteroscopy using NovaSure® and/or MyoSure can be an effective treatment. Other worthwhile treatments may involve uterine artery embolization, which shrinks uterine fibroids, or myomectomy, a surgical procedure to remove uterine fibroids. If all other treatments fail, a hysterectomy is a guaranteed way to stop abnormal uterine bleeding.
Choosing Coyle Institute for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Problems
At Coyle Institute, we are committed to finding and resolving the root causes of problems before jumping to invasive treatments that can lead to uncomfortable side effects or poor outcomes. We spend an incredible amount of time with our patients because we believe the best way to diagnose issues begins with listening. Especially when it comes to abnormal uterine bleeding, we will never simply prescribe a medication and send a patient on her way. We will follow up, find out how treatments are working and adapt treatment plans as necessary—in ways that make our patients feel comfortable and in control.
If you are ready to get to the bottom of why you are experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding, schedule an appointment today by calling 850-637-8258.