Abnormal uterine bleeding

Overview of abnormal uterine bleeding

Abnormal uterine bleeding is any vaginal bleeding or spotting that happens between menstrual periods. Typically, women of childbearing age who are not pregnant experience vaginal bleeding for a few days each month during menstruation as the uterus normally sheds its lining.

Any uterine bleeding occurring outside menstruation, or bleeding that is heavier or lasts longer than usual, can sometimes be a sign of a serious medical condition. Expert gynecologists at Dignity Health can offer personal care for your unique health needs. Find a Doctor or visit your nearest location to discuss abnormal uterine bleeding in CA, NV, and AZ.

Symptoms of abnormal uterine bleeding

Abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms include:

  • Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Spotting or bleeding after sex
  • Spotting or bleeding after menopause
  • Menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
  • Soaking a tampon or pad in one hour or less during your menstrual period

Causes of abnormal uterine bleeding 

Abnormal uterine bleeding is a signal that something unusual or different is going on in your body. Causes of abnormal bleeding include:

  • Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Birth control, including IUDs and birth control pills
  • Hormone swings in puberty and perimenopause
  • Adenomyosis, when tissue that normally lines the uterus grows into the muscular wall of the uterus
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
  • Uterine polyps or fibroids
  • Blood clotting disorders or medications
  • Infection or inflammation of the cervix or lining of the uterus
  • Cancer of the cervix, vagina, or uterus

Most cases of abnormal uterine bleeding are not cancer. However, because abnormal bleeding may be a sign of cancer, especially in postmenopausal women, it is essential to see your health care provider to determine what is causing the bleeding.