Abnormal uterine bleeding is defined as bleeding that occurs at unexpected times, lasting longer or shorter and varies from a typical menstrual cycle. This is the most common reason women visit the gynecologist and the second most common reason for a hysterectomy.

Causes of Abnormal Bleeding

Causes of abnormal uterine bleeding are divided into two categories:


The normal cycle of ovulation causes a regular monthly period. When ovulation does not occur (known as anovulation), the hormonal cycle is disrupted and unexpected bleeding can occur.

Organic or Anatomic

This category includes systemic diseases, which affects the body’s ability to stop bleeding. This category also includes specific reproductive system abnormalities, fibroids and polyps, functional ovarian cysts and medically induced causes, such as IUDs and estrogen supplements.

Treatment Options

Treatment often involves addressing the cause of bleeding or underlying disease. Additional treatment paths include hormone therapy or surgical interventions such as:

  • Dilation and Curettage (D&C), a surgical procedure to locate and treat heavy bleeding
  • Hysteroscopy, a procedure to visually examine the cause of abnormal bleeding
  • Endometrial ablation, which destroys the uterine lining to treat abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Hysterectomy, removal of the uterus and perhaps the ovaries, depending upon the patient’s age and risk factors