UTERINE BLEEDING, ABNORMAL
DESCRIPTIONAbnormal uterine bleeding refers to unexpected, menstrual-like bleeding. The vulva (vaginal lips), vagina, cervix (lower third of the uterus), and endometrium (inner uterine lining) are involved. It affects females of all ages.
Appropriate health care includes:
Surgery (hysterectomy) to remove the uterus (sometimes).
Psychotherapy or counseling to reduce your daughter's anxiety about the bleeding.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMSVaginal bleeding, which may be a light-brown discharge or heavy, red bleeding (with or without clots). Mucus may accompany the bleeding. Bleeding episodes vary in length--there is no expected range.
CAUSESCancer of the reproductive system.
Irritation, infection, or thinning of the membranes lining the vulva.
Injury or trauma to the vagina, associated with reduced estrogen levels.
Polyps or benign tumors of the cervix.
Polyps on the inner uterine lining, myomas (See Glossary), or fibroid tumors of the uterus.
Hormone therapy that stimulates the endometrium (uterine lining), causing sloughing similar to normal menstruation. Estrogens (female hormones) taken irregularly are a common cause of this.
Disorders of the blood cells, lymphatic system, or bone marrow.
High blood pressure.
Congestive heart failure.
Anticoagulant or aspirin-containing drugs.
Recent vaginal infection.
PREVENTING COMPLICATIONS OR RECURRENCENo specific preventive measures.
Your own observation of symptoms.
Medical history and physical exam by a doctor.
Laboratory studies, such as a Pap smear (See Glossary), blood studies and pregnancy test.
Surgical diagnostic procedures, such as dilatation and curettage (D & C) and colposcopy (See Glossary).
Biopsy (See Glossary) of suspicious areas.
If cancer is the cause, it may spread to other body parts and cause death.
Depends on the underlying cause and treatment chosen. Hysterectomy cures bleeding immediately. Hormone treatment may require up to 6 months.
HOME CAREInstructions for your daughter:
Use heat to relieve pain. Place a heating pad or hot-water bottle on the abdomen or back.
Take frequent hot baths to relax muscles and relieve discomfort. Sit in a tub of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes as often as necessary.
Use sanitary pads instead of tampons.
MEDICATIONYour doctor may prescribe:
--Medication to treat your daughter's underlying disorder, such as antihypertensives for high blood pressure.
See Medications section for information regarding medicines your doctor may prescribe.
ACTIVITYYour daughter can resume her normal activities as soon as symptoms improve.
Your sexually active daughter can resume sexual relations as soon as possible after diagnosis and treatment.
DIET & FLUIDS
No special diet.
OK TO GO TO SCHOOL?When appetite returns and alertness, strength, and feeling of well-being will allow.
CALL YOUR DOCTOR IF
Your daughter has bleeding that persists for 1 week, despite treatment.
Your daughter's bleeding becomes excessive (saturates a pad more frequently than once each hour).
Your daughter develops signs of infection: fever, a general feeling of ill health, headache, dizziness, and muscle aches.
New, unexplained symptoms develop. Drugs used in treatment may produce side effects.