A woman’s menstrual cycle is one of those things that many women jokingly refer to as a blessing and a curse. When you get down to it, the biology is quite amazing. Each month during her childbearing years a woman’s body prepares for the possibility of conception. If it doesn’t happen, then the uterine lining is shed. And if the egg is fertilized, then a new life is created.
The biology may be beautiful, but when the cramping, bloating, and heavy menstrual flow kick in, the beauty gets lost in the discomfort and inconvenience of it all. And so goes the love/hate relationship until a woman goes through menopause.
For many women, a menstrual period lasts for up to eight days and happens every 24-38 days. But does that mean anything outside that scenario is abnormal?
What is abnormal bleeding?
The thing that makes this topic confusing is that no two women experience menstruation in exactly the same way. Be mindful of what your normal is by tracking both the duration and frequency of your periods. That way you’ll be in a better position to know when something just doesn’t seem right.
Medically speaking, abnormal bleeding is when you bleed between your monthly periods, you bleed for too long or too short of a time, or you experience an extremely heavy flow. Bleeding or spotting after sex or after menopause may also constitute abnormal bleeding.
Abnormal bleeding may occur due to an acute problem, such as a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, or certain types of infections. On the other hand, some women experience chronic bleeding abnormalities with their periods.
Here are some common conditions that may lead to ongoing menstrual bleeding that should be evaluated.
There is a wide range of possible causes of abnormal uterine bleeding, including endocrine conditions, like a thyroid condition, to fluctuating hormones. Unusual bleeding may also occur in women who use birth control pills or hormonal IUDs. Hormone-related menstrual irregularities and abnormal bleeding are common in teenagers and in women who are approaching menopause.
Polycystic ovary syndrome
Abnormal bleeding usually indicates that there is an underlying health issue going on. For instance, women who suffer from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) often experience irregular bleeding as one of their first symptoms.
Some PCOS sufferers have absent or infrequent periods – perhaps eight or nine periods a year. Others have periods that are more frequent or have excessive bleeding during their period.
Non-cancerous fibroids and polyps
Non-cancerous growths, such as uterine fibroids or polyps typically found on the lining of the uterus or cervix, can also be the root cause of abnormal bleeding. Not all polyps are benign, however, and some may develop into cancer.
If you’re experiencing abnormal bleeding, come in to see Dr. Lingenfelter. He’ll do a thorough examination and may order additional diagnostic tests like blood tests or an ultrasound to see what’s going on. When he determines the root cause of your condition, he’ll work with you to develop a treatment plan that improves your symptoms.
You can make your appointment with the online booking tool here on the website, or call our office in Princeton, West Virginia.