What Is AUB? 3 Common Causes Of Irregular Bleeding

  • OB/GYN
  • OB/GYN
  • April 6, 2021

Read Time: 8 minutes Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) occurs when a woman has an irregular menstrual cycle. Some common conditions can cause irregular bleeding.

Is Your Cycle Abnormal?

On average, most women have a menstrual cycle of 21-35 days. Typically, bleeding occurs for 4-7 days. Some women, however, experience bleeding between periods, have an extremely heavy flow or have an inconsistent cycle. These symptoms are known as abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). What causes irregular bleeding? Here are 3 common causes.

What Is AUB 3 Common Causes Of Irregular Bleeding

1. Underlying health conditions

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that can cause cysts to grow in the ovaries. PCOS also often leads to hormonal imbalances that affect a woman’s menstrual cycle. PCOS can cause periods to come irregularly, abnormally often, or not at all. This condition can also lead to challenges with fertility. In many women, PCOS treatment involves medication to help control hormones.

2. Fibroids or polyps

Non-cancerous growths in the uterus may cause abnormal bleeding. Fibroids occur in the muscle of the uterus. Polyps occur on the lining of the uterus and cervix. Women with fibroids or polyps often take birth control pills to help control hormones. In some cases, women may opt to have these growths removed.

3. Significant hormonal changes

When women experience large hormonal shifts, irregular bleeding may occur. AUB may be an early sign of pregnancy. Alternatively, women who are approaching menopause have significant hormonal changes. The changes during menopause can cause the uterine lining to thicken, leading to abnormal bleeding.

Additional causes

The hormones estrogen and progesterone are responsible for controlling the menstrual cycle. Whenever these hormones are out of balance, a woman may experience irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Thyroid conditions, starting or stopping birth control pills, intrauterine devices (IUDs), and certain infections can cause abnormal bleeding.

Preparing for a doctor’s appointment

Before seeing a healthcare provider for AUB, make a list of all symptoms. Women should also keep a record of the menstrual cycle. Take note of when periods begin, end, how long periods last, and how heavy bleeding is. A doctor may recommend a blood test to check hormone levels. Additionally, the doctor may order to have a small amount of tissue removed from the cervix or uterine lining for testing.

Treatment options

Abnormal uterine bleeding is not always preventable. However, certain lifestyle choices, such a maintaining a healthy weight and exercising regularly, can help. For pain management, women can take over-the-counter pain medication in the form of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Be aware that some NSAIDs act as blood thinners which can increase bleeding and should only be taken with a physician’s recommendation.

When to see a doctor

Because there are so many varied causes of AUB, any woman who is experiencing irregular periods should make an appointment with an OB/GYN. A healthcare provider can help a woman determine the root cause of the issue and provide treatment options.

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