Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is a common symptom in women, accounting for up to 20 percent of visits for gynecologic conditions over a two-year period, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP). Abnormal uterine bleeding is defined by any changes in the menstrual period frequency or duration, or amount of flow, as well as bleeding between cycles, bleeding after sex, or bleeding 12 months or more after menopause. It does not include bleeding during pregnancy. There are many reasons a woman may experience AUB—in fact; most women will experience abnormal uterine bleeding at some point their lives. These are the most common reasons a woman may experience AUB.
Ovulation and menstruation rely on the release of hormones estrogen and progesterone every month at the same point in the cycle. When a woman’s hormones are not released properly, she may experience anovulation and can go for a long time without bleeding, or she will bleed more often. Changes in hormones can also cause heavier bleeding than normal. This condition is especially common among adolescents and premenopausal women. Women who are overweight or underweight are also more likely to experience hormone imbalance with AUB.
Treatment: Women who are not trying to get pregnant may be given combination oral contraceptive pills to balance hormones and regulate their cycles. Women with anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding may be given progesterone because they have too much estrogen being released, and no progesterone to oppose it.
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