Dr. Todd Schad, Obstetrics and Gynecological Surgeon: Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is irregular bleeding that is not related to pregnancy or childbirth.
So, dysfunctional uterine bleeding typically can mean either very heavy menstrual cycles, very frequent menstrual cycles, or very irregular menstrual cycles, or a combination of those three things. Dysfunctional uterine bleeding can be caused by things such as cancer, or fibroids, or polyps, or even hormonal changes in the body.
If somebody is worried about dysfunctional uterine bleeding, they can certainly start with their primary care providers. Our primary care providers here in the Sauk Prairie area are excellent and they can do a great initial work up.
One of the things that we find is very important, again, is starting with a history of the problem. And for this problem, we’re talking about how frequent is the menstrual cycle, how heavy is the menstrual cycle, and of course every woman has a different definition of heavy.
Are they missing work because of their menstrual cycle? Because that goes to quality of life. If you’re not able to do the things you would typically enjoy, then again, it’s time to be seen and try to get it taken care of.
Another thing that we would typically do as part of the evaluation is an ultrasound. The ultrasound can help us to know if there are fibroids, which are benign growths in the uterus, but they can make heavy periods. It also would allow us to see if there are any polyps inside the uterus, and help us to know if we need to screen for endometrial cancer or cancer of the uterus.
If the bleeding is controlling your life, preventing you from doing things at certain times of the month, having to have you cancel or reschedule things, then I think that’s the time where you should get it evaluated.
I think the benefit of coming to a gynecologist for this is that this is all we do -- women’s health. So, obstetrician-gynecologists, they do all their training focused on women’s health, whether it be preventative health, reproductive health, screening for cancers. And so I think one of the advantages of coming to see a gynecologist for abnormal bleeding is knowing that you’re coming to a specialist that knows not only the medications that could be potentially used, but also is capable of performing the surgery that you might need to treat it.
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