Abnormal Bleeding: When Should I Worry?
Getting your period each month can be stressful enough. When abnormal bleeding occurs, discovering the cause can add another layer of anxiety.
Heavy bleeding can be embarrassing and problematic. On a day to day basis, the possibility of having to change clothes or be caught without tampons or pads can force restrictions on what women can plan for themselves. Many women ask themselves, when it comes to abnormal bleeding: when should I worry?
“Any abnormal changes to a menstrual cycle, including heavy bleeding or pelvic pain should be taken seriously,” said Rupen Baxi, MD. “There are several treatable conditions that can cause heavy blood loss, and if left untreated can lead to anemia and other dangerous conditions.”
ABNORMAL BLEEDING: WHEN SHOULD I WORRY
Menstrual periods last approximately seven days or less, with anywhere from 21 to 35 days in between. Women generally lose no more than 2.8 ounces (80 cc) of blood with each cycle. Anything outside of those ranges (intervals less than 21 days or greater than 35 days, menstrual flows greater than seven days’ duration, or with more than 80 cc of blood loss) is defined as abnormal bleeding. The closer a woman is to menopause the more changes occur with monthly cycles, but these should not be dismissed.
SYMPTOMS OF ABNORMAL BLEEDING CAN INCLUDE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING:
- Bleeding in between periods
- Heavy blood flow
- Large clots
- Bleeding longer than seven days
- Post menopausal bleeding
- Bleeding after sex
- More than 35 days between periods
- Only having four to nine periods in a year
WHAT CAUSES ABNORMAL BLEEDING?
The most common cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding is growths (fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis) or an infection. Occasionally, pre-cancerous conditions (including endometrial hyperplasia) or cancerous conditions (endometrial carcinoma, and cervical carcinoma) will be the cause.
It is important to choose a GYN specialist to diagnose the cause of your abnormal bleeding, so that treatment can begin right away.
OTHER CAUSES OF ABNORMAL BLEEDING
Systemic conditions such as bleeding disorders, liver disease, pregnancy, and some medications such as oral contraceptives can cause irregular bleeding. Hormonal disorders such as PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), premature ovarian failure, thyroid and pituitary abnormalities can also cause abnormal bleeding. When no organic cause of abnormal bleeding is identified, the patient is diagnosed with dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB).
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
GYN surgical specialists can often see women sooner because they are focused entirely on surgery. Each patient gets detailed, in depth attention from Dr. Natalya Danilyants, Dr. Paul MacKoul and Dr. Rupen Baxi. This personalized care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.
CIGC TRAVEL PROGRAM
Even if you are not from the DC area, many patients travel to The Center for Innovative GYN Care for our groundbreaking procedures. We treat women from around the world who suffer from complex GYN conditions.
Learn more in our travel program.