Each woman has her own experience with their menstrual periods, yet up to one-third will have abnormal bleeding during their lifetime. The team at KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology in Atlanta, Georgia, has extensive experience identifying the cause of abnormal bleeding and providing customized treatment that meets your unique gynecological needs. If you have questions about your periods or need to schedule an appointment, call the office or book an appointment online today.

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What does it mean to have abnormal bleeding?

Abnormal bleeding refers to irregular periods, heavy menstrual bleeding, and bleeding that occurs between your periods:

Irregular periods

Irregular periods typically occur when girls first start menstruating and in the years before menopause. Otherwise, the average menstrual cycle ranges from 24-38 days, and bleeding lasts 7-9 days.

If your periods begin before 24 days go by, you go longer than 38 days between periods, or your bleeding is shorter or longer, you have irregular periods.

Heavy bleeding

Many women put up with heavy periods every month, but you should never think of heavy bleeding as normal. You have heavy bleeding when you meet any of these guidelines:

  • Your bleeding lasts longer than seven days
  • Your bleeding soaks through one or more pads or tampons per hour
  • You need to wear more than one pad
  • You need to change pads or tampons during the night

Women with heavy bleeding may also pass blood clots the size of a quarter or larger.

Bleeding outside menstrual periods

Abnormal bleeding also includes bleeding between regular periods, bleeding after sexual intercourse, and bleeding after menopause.

What causes abnormal bleeding?

Abnormal bleeding arises from many possible causes, including:

  • Irregular ovulation
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Uterine polyps
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Miscarriage
  • Endometrial cancer
  • Ectopic pregnancy

Stress, certain medications, and thyroid disorders may also cause abnormal bleeding.

What treatment might I get for abnormal bleeding?

The best treatment for your abnormal bleeding depends on the underlying cause. Your provider at KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology reviews your symptoms and performs a pelvic exam.

In many cases, they need to do blood work and a diagnostic ultrasound or hysteroscopy to look inside your uterus.

Several types of hormonal medications may help to regulate your bleeding or lighten your menstrual flow. If your abnormal bleeding persists, your provider may recommend a surgical procedure to treat the underlying problem.

These are a few examples of procedures to treat abnormal bleeding:

  • Endometrial ablation to remove a thin layer of the uterine lining
  • Uterine artery embolization to shrink uterine fibroids
  • Myomectomy to remove fibroids while sparing your uterus

Your provider may talk with you about a hysterectomy to remove your uterus, but that’s the last resort for women with severe bleeding and who don’t want to have children in the future.

If you have irregular periods or abnormal bleeding, call KEM Health Obstetrics & Gynecology  or book an appointment online today.