What Can I Do About Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding?

>> Thursday, November 13, 2014

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There is absolutely nothing more frustrating than abnormal vaginal bleeding and not knowing when your period is coming.  For many of you, this is a common occurrence.  Just when you think, 'Yay!!  I'm so happy that period is gone!', and you can stop wearing a panty liner…..then, here comes more bleeding and spotting.  And forget planning a romantic evening when there is bleeding, spotting or pinkish and gooey brown discharge.  And, as if the bleeding isn't bad enough, there is the battle with horrible odor from blood that causes a rise in vaginal pH.

Unfortunately, you have probably been told different things from different doctors and still don't know why you don't have regular bleeding once a month like everyone else.  You may have heard of Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), thyroid or metabolic disorders, Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOs), Hypermenorrhea or Polymenorrhea, Anovulation, Chronic cervicitis or endometritis, polyps, fibroids, and even hormone imbalance. 

So what does it all mean?  I know you just want it to stop, and you worry about it being harmful to your body or becoming cancer.  You wonder if you can get pregnant or if you are infertile.  You want to know how to determine when you are ovulating, if you need surgery, if it's something you're doing wrong, like eating the wrong diet or exercising too much or too little.   You wonder if it is a hormone issue, and, if so, can they be fixed?  Will you always struggle with this?  There are just so many questions!

The medical definition is AUB or Abnormal uterine bleeding, which is irregular bleeding from the uterus for unknown reason.  For example, you may get your period more often than every 21 days or farther apart than 35 days.  Some women will skip for 3 months and then bleed for several days or weeks.  Your period may last longer than 7 days.   Abnormal uterine bleeding has also been called dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB).  It is usually not serious, but it can be annoying and can definitely disrupt your life.

Normally one of your ovaries releases an egg during your menstrual cycle - called ovulation.  Abnormal uterine bleeding is often triggered when women don't ovulate.  This causes abnormal changes in hormone levels and in some cases can lead to unexpected vaginal bleeding.  When we don't ovulate, it puts our entire cycle into dysfunction and causes us to go into unsynchronized phases.

Of course it's just not that simple because we can ovulate and have normal hormone balance and still have AUB.  Women always judge their overall health by the regularity of their monthly cycles, so any changes in how long they last, how many we get in a month, or how much we bleed triggers concern.  Some of you have never experienced a normal, monthly cycle that lasts 4-5 days with one or two days of moderate to heavy bleeding.

In order to rule out all other causes of AUB, there are certain tests that can be done that will check your blood for thyroid disease, hormone imbalance, bleeding and clotting disorders, anemia and kidney or liver disease.  Ultrasound or CT scans can help check for physical and anatomic abnormalities.  It sounds scary, for sure, but even brain tumors, usually benign and located in the pituitary gland, can be a reason and would require a brain MRI.  It is also important to have your doctor look over all your current medicines, vitamins and herbs, as they can cause a profound effect on periods and bleeding patterns.

Once you are evaluated, a plan can be initiated between you and your doctor as to the best way to regulate the bleeding.  The increased yeast and bacterial infection (which can cause vaginal odor and irritation) can also be worked on.  There are combination medicines that include pills, vaginal creams and gels that can be used.  But, it is common for it to take several treatments to get things back in balance.

Douching is tempting, as it is normal to want to rinse out the smelly, brownish or bloody discharge.  But, douching is a temporary fix, because all the chemicals, vinegar etc., will just contribute to the imbalance and will rinse out the healthy bacteria with the abnormal bacteria and yeast.  So this process just goes on and on.
Hopefully you have checked out "WaterWorks", as it is a reusable FDA-cleared feminine cleansing system.  It is great for daily use to clean out blood, discharge and semen.  It uses plain water (no chemicals), and can be used over and over.  All parts are replaceable, so it has no negative effect on the environment.  The best part is that, after the first use, you will have no more vaginal odor.  So, when the bleeding slows or calms way down, you can enjoy sex with confidence that the odor is gone.  Yay!! 

So go get your tests done, and if you have questions write to me.  

I hope you learned a little more about your body and that it helps you feel better and less scared about getting things checked out. 

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