Changes in hormone levels may cause your period to be later or earlier and sometimes heavier than normal. Symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding may include:
- Bleeding or spotting from the vagina between periods
- Periods that occur less than 28 days apart (more common) or more than 35 days apart
- Time between periods changes each month
- Heavier bleeding (such as passing large clots, needing to change protection during the night, soaking through a sanitary pad or tampon every hour for 2 - 3 hours in a row)
- Bleeding lasts for more days than normal or for more than 7 days
Treatment will depend the cause of the bleeding, your age and whether you want to have children. Treatment options include medications, such as hormones or surgery. You may decide with your doctor to “watch and wait” before trying the other two treatments. Most women can be treated with medications. If you think you may be pregnant, be sure to let your doctor know before starting any treatment.
Hormones can control some abnormal bleeding. It may take a few months. Your periods may be heavier at first. However, they usually will lighten over time. If they do not, let your doctor know. The type of hormone you take will depend on whether you want to get pregnant as well as your age. Hormones can be given in pill form, such as an oral contraceptive, or as an injection, vaginal cream, or through an IUD that releases hormones.
- Some women may need to have surgery to remove growths (such as polyps or fibroids) that cause bleeding. This often can be done with hysteroscopy. Sometimes other techniques are used.
- Endometrial ablation may be used to control bleeding. This treatment uses electricity, laser, heat, or freezing to destroy the lining of the uterus. It is intended to stop or reduce bleeding permanently. A woman may not be able to get pregnant after ablation. An endometrial biopsy is needed before ablation is considered.
- Hysterectomy may be done when other forms of treatment have failed or are not an option. This is major surgery. Afterward, a woman no longer has periods and cannot get pregnant. Discuss all of your options with your doctor before choosing a treatment.