What is abnormal bleeding?

Abnormal bleeding or abnormal menses is a condition where bleeding occurs outside a woman’s menstrual period. Abnormal bleeding is also used to describe unusually heavy periods, or periods that last longer than a week.

Abnormal bleeding itself does not cause infertility. However, the presence of abnormal bleeding can signal an underlying problem that may be affecting a woman’s fertility, such as endometriosis or uterine fibroids.

Causes abnormal bleeding

  • Scar tissue, polyps or fibroids in the uterus
  • Precancerous growths or cancer in the uterus
  • Endometriosis
  • Infections of the uterine lining
  • Hormonal imbalances, such as excessive estrogen without sufficient progesterone

Symptoms of abnormal bleeding

Abnormal bleeding is any menstrual-type bleeding between periods, either as spotting or a heavier flow of blood. Abnormal bleeding can also include a heavy flow of blood during the menstrual period, or a prolonged period.

Treatments for abnormal bleeding

Diagnosing the cause of abnormal bleeding may involve blood and hormone tests, ultrasound, hysteroscopy, sono-hysterograms or endometrial biopsy.

Treatment for hormone related causes of abnormal bleed can be as simple as birth control pills or other hormone therapy to regulate the menstrual cycle so that bleeding only occurs in normal amounts during a woman’s period.

For other causes, such as endometriosis or growths in the uterus, treatments may include minimally invasive surgery such as laparascopic surgery, fibroid removal or polypectomy.