Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is menstrual bleeding that is not normal for you and that isn't caused by a serious problem such as disease or a problem during pregnancy. It is usually caused by abnormal changes in hormone levels, which may affect ovulation. This bleeding problem is most common during the teen and perimenopausal years.
You may have abnormal bleeding if you have one or more of these symptoms:
These symptoms also can be signs of a serious problem. If you have the above symptoms, your doctor will check to make sure that you don't have a problem like a miscarriage or a disease.
Heavy uterine bleeding can lead to anemia, which can make you weak, pale, and very tired. If bleeding is very bad, a blood transfusion can quickly restore needed blood.
Over time, abnormal uterine bleeding can make it hard for you to have an active life. It can get in the way of sports and sexual activity.
You can choose from several treatments. Each of these treatments works well for some women, but not others. Treatments include:
|Take hormones to fix abnormal bleeding||Don't take hormones to fix abnormal bleeding|
|What is usually involved?|
|What are the benefits?|
|What are the risks and side effects?|
Are you interested in what others decided to do? Many people have faced this decision. These personal stories may help you decide.
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
"I was surprised when my doctor called my heavy periods "dysfunctional uterine bleeding." I had never heard of dysfunctional uterine bleeding before. He told me that it isn't serious but that I could try a treatment that would lighten the bleeding. First, I tried taking ibuprofen during my periods, but I didn't notice a big difference. When he said that a special IUD with hormones might control the bleeding, I thought I might as well try it, because it also keeps me from getting pregnant. The IUD worked. I don't have heavy periods any more, and I feel great."
— Jean, age 29
"My periods were so unpredictable. They drove me crazy! One month, my period might start 3 weeks after the last one and be light, and next time it wouldn't start until 6 weeks later. Then, it would be very heavy and last a long time. When I had heavy bleeding, it was so bad I could not exercise. I am an active person, so this was really getting me down. My doctor checked me over, reassured me that I don't have cancer or anything, and said maybe it was time for surgery. I asked if there were any other options, since the last time I had surgery it took me months to recover. I didn't want to go through that again. My doctor said a medicine called progestin might help me, because tests showed that I don't have enough progesterone. After starting the medicine, I did have some water retention and weight gain, but my periods are normal. I think taking this medicine works well for me."
— Megan, age 38
"I had such bad, heavy periods that one day my mom had to take me to the emergency room, I was losing so much blood. They gave me some blood and gave me something that stopped the bleeding after a couple of hours. Then I took some hormone pills for a few days, had a heavy period, and then started taking a birth control pill every day. That has really helped!"
— Melissa, age 15
"I'd heard that I could take the Pill for my crazy periods, mood swings, and hot flashes. My nurse practitioner wanted to be sure I didn't have anything like uterine cancer, so I had tests and a biopsy first, because at my age cancer risk is a concern. Anyway, I checked out fine and started the Pill. It didn't really help. In fact, I got kind of depressed. Then I tried another kind of Pill, and the hormones seemed to be better for me. My mood is better, and the bleeding is at least more regular, and it's gotten less and less over the past few months."
— Carlotta, age 45
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to take hormones for uterine bleeding
Reasons not to take hormones for uterine bleeding
My bleeding and pain make it hard to enjoy my daily activities.
I'm still able to do the things I enjoy.
I don't plan on getting pregnant soon.
I don't want to have to wait to get pregnant.
I'm not worried about the side effects of hormones.
I don't want to have any side effects from hormones.
My other important reasons:
My other important reasons:
Now that you've thought about the facts and your feelings, you may have a general idea of where you stand on this decision. Show which way you are leaning right now.
NOT taking hormones
1. Any of the hormone treatments will stop my bleeding.
2. Hormones are the only way to treat my uterine bleeding.
3. Taking birth control pills for my bleeding might not be a good idea if I'm over 35 and I smoke.
1. Do you understand the options available to you?
2. Are you clear about which benefits and side effects matter most to you?
3. Do you have enough support and advice from others to make a choice?
1. How sure do you feel right now about your decision?
2. Check what you need to do before you make this decision.
3. Use the following space to list questions, concerns, and next steps.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology|