The normal interval between menstrual periods is 21 to 35 days, with each flow cycle lasting seven days or less. 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.
Dr. Paul MacKoul - Advanced Laparoscopic GYN Surgeon lists symptoms of abnormal bleeding that can include any of the following:
• Bleeding between menses
• Heavy menstrual flow
• Large clots
• Menstrual flow lasting longer than seven days
• Any bleeding after menopause
• Any bleeding after intercourse
• Interval between periods lasting greater than 35 days
• Only having four to nine periods in a year
WHAT CAUSES ABNORMAL BLEEDING?
Most commonly, abnormal vaginal bleeding is caused by benign abnormalities of the uterus or cervix, including fibroids, polyps, adenomyosis, and infection.
Occasionally, malignant and premalignant conditions are the cause of abnormal bleeding. Such conditions include endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial carcinoma, and cervical carcinoma.
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).
Getting a proper diagnosis early from a gynecological specialist is important to ensure treatment is administered effectively. Paul MacKoul MD and Natalya Danilyants MD at The Center for Innovative GYN Care focus solely on treatment of GYN conditions.