Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Abnormal uterine bleeding is excess bleeding or bleeding that occurs outside the normal menstrual cycle.

Usually, the uterus sheds fewer than five tablespoons of blood during a period. Once a woman’s bleeding ends due to menopause, any bleeding is considered abnormal.


Adolescent girls may have episodes of irregular bleeding when their periods first begin, which is normal unless it happens for several months or is very heavy.

If you haven’t gone through menopause yet, your abnormal bleeding can be caused by any of several issues, including:

  • Uterine fibroids, which are benign (non-malignant) masses in the uterus
  • Hormone imbalances
  • Forgetting birth control pills or taking them late
  • Pregnancy
  • Irregular ovulation
  • Endometrial polyps, fleshy (usually benign) growths of tissue that project into the uterine cavity
  • Contraceptive implants, such as IUDs
  • Infection or inflammation of the cervix or uterine lining
  • Clotting and other disorders
  • Medical illnesses, such as endocrine, kidney or liver diseases
  • Use of blood thinners or anticoagulants
  • In more rare instances, some kinds of cancer

During menopause, abnormal bleeding can be caused by:

  • Excessive thinning of the tissue lining the vagina and uterus, caused by low hormone levels
  • Polyps or fibroids
  • Infection
  • Use of blood thinners or anticoagulants
  • Side effects of radiation therapy
  • Cancer or precancerous changes

To determine the cause, you should have a physical exam. Tests will be performed, including tests to check for hormone irregularities or to assess the lining of your uterus. You may have an endometrial biopsy to rule out abnormal uterine growths. Tests for diseases, such as thyroid problems, also may be conducted.


Treatment depends on the cause of the abnormal bleeding. Birth control pills or other hormones may be used to control bleeding. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can reduce cramping and excess bleeding. Sometimes, surgery is necessary to remove fibroids or polyps.

Hartford Hospital’s Women’s Health Services has a dedicated, compassionate team with the skill; experience; and latest treatments, technology and research to find the cause of abnormal bleeding and provide the best treatment for the best possible outcome for each individual patient.

Women's Health Services


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