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What Is Uterine Bleeding?

A diagram of the female reproductive system, including the uterus.
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  • Written By: Malcolm Tatum
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 06 April 2014
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Uterine bleeding is a broad term that is used to identify any type of discharge of blood from the uterus. Routine bleeding, such as during the normal course of the menstrual cycle, is a form of uterine bleeding that does not indicate the existence of any type of health problem. However, there are some instances where blood discharge from the uterus is considered a sign of serious health issues. When that is the case, many health professionals use the term abnormal uterine bleeding, or AUB.

There are several factors that separate abnormal uterine bleeding from the normal menstrual bleeding. First, the severity and duration of the bleeding is very different from what is experienced during a typical menstrual cycle. In addition, the woman experiences more frequent episodes of bleeding than normal. There is usually additional pain that is different from what normally occurs during the course of menstruation, making it clear that the episodes of irregular bleeding are not part of the usual monthly cycle.

Uterine bleeding can result from lesions in the cervix or the uterus. The bleeding can also originate in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium. In severe cases, the origin of the blood can be from the vagina and even the Fallopian tubes.

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There are several reasons why a woman may experience uterine bleeding that is above and beyond the bleeding that is common during a normal menstrual cycle. Hormone therapy that involves the use of estrogen and progestogen may trigger some irregular episodes of bleeding. Pregnancy can also increase the duration and frequency of uterine bleeding. Situations of this type are often not serious, although they should be reported to the attending physician immediately.

Other reasons for uterine bleeding may be of a more serious nature. The development of fibroid tumors can often increase the frequency and duration of bleeding. Damage to the uterine lining may also be the origin of the problem. The presence of cancer cells in the vagina, uterus, cervix or Fallopian tubes may also trigger bleeding that is both irregular and painful.

It is important to seek medical attention whenever there is any type of uterine bleeding that seems to occur outside the normal menstrual cycle. Even if the amount of bleeding seems to increase during the monthly period, it is a good idea to consult a doctor, rather than simply assume that menstruation is going to be a little more difficult that month. Detecting the reasons behind the uterine bleeding early makes it possible to treat the underlying health problem quickly, and thus prevent the woman from having to deal with a great deal of additional pain and discomfort.

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