I think I may have abnormal menstrual bleeding, but what does it consist of and can fibroids be causing this problem for me?
You may be experiencing abnormal uterine bleeding if you change pads or tampons more often than every one or two hours, or having a period that lasts over seven days.
Uterine bleeding is abnormal when:
- Bleeding occurs between periods
- Bleeding occurs following sexual intercourse
- Spotting occurs at any time during the menstrual cycle
- Bleeding is heavier or lasts longer than usual
- Bleeding occurs after menopause
Abnormal uterine bleeding or heavy menstruation, referred to as menorrhagia in medical terms, is typically the result of a hormonal imbalance in adolescents during the years following the onset of menstruation, or in women who are approaching menopause. Another common cause of abnormal uterine bleeding is fibroid tumors.
How fibroids cause abnormal bleeding is unknown. Fibroids are believed to alter muscular contraction of the uterus, which may prevent the uterus from controlling the degree of bleeding during a patient’s period. This may result in abnormal or heavy menstrual bleeding.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is usually caused by fibroids deep within the wall of the uterus (intramural) or those just under the inner lining of the uterus (submucosal). Very small fibroids in the wall of the uterus or the outer part of the uterus (subserosal) usually do not cause abnormal bleeding.
There are many other potential causes of heavy menstrual bleeding; for this reason, careful review of gynaecologic history and physical examination is an important part of the evaluation of a patient with heavy bleeding.