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Abnormal uterine bleeding, or dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), is the term used to describe vaginal bleeding that does not occur as part of a regular menstrual cycle. Data suggest that approximately one-third of women may encounter DUB at some point in their lives, while exact figures are subject to variation.  It can happen at any age.

An imbalance in sex hormones is the primary cause of dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Hormone imbalances can persist for months or even years in girls going through puberty and women starting menopause. This results in spotting, excessive bleeding, and irregular bleeding.

Lighter-than-normal menstrual bleeding is referred to as spotting. Brown, pink, or pale red are common appearances.  Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is caused by hormonal abnormalities, which can also be adverse effects of medicine or a result of specific medical disorders.

The following article outlines the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and complications of dysfunctional uterine bleeding.

What Is Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is defined as abnormal uterine bleeding that results from an ovarian endocrinopathy (a condition affecting the uterus). It may be associated with ovulatory and anovulatory cycles. The most common symptom of dysfunctional uterine bleeding is bleeding outside of your normal periods. It can also happen within your menstrual cycle.

What Are The Symptoms of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

The most common symptom of dysfunctional uterine bleeding is irregular menstrual flow. It can also happen within your menstrual cycle. Suspicious bleeding patterns include the following:
Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Bleeding which lasts more than 7 days
  • Bleeding that contains large blood clots or small clots
  • Bleeding which occurs less than 2 days from the last cycle
  • Bleeding which occurs later than 35 days from last cycle
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Spotting

Other common symptoms that can occur with dysfunctional uterine bleeding include:

The severe symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding include:

Consult your healthcare professional if you experience any of the above symptoms, as they indicate serious dysfunctional uterine symptoms which require immediate medical attention.

What Are The Causes Of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

You may experience the symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding due to some underlying medical conditions or as a result of taking certain medications. 
The following are the medical conditions which cause dysfunctional uterine bleeding:

  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): It is an endocrine disorder which causes an imbalance in female sex hormones. As a result of this, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular.
  • Uterine polyps: These are small growths that occur within the uterus. Small blood vessels in polyps can cause dysfunctional uterine bleeding including spotting between periods.
  • Endometriosis: It is a condition that occurs when the uterine line grows outside of the uterus. It can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Uterine fibroids: These are small growths that occur within the uterus, uterine lining or uterine muscle.
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs): STDs like chlamydia, and gonorrhea may lead to dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Bleeding caused by STDs usually happens after sex, when the lesions are aggravated.
  • Precancel or cancer
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Ovulatory dysfunction may result in irregular, infrequent or no periods.
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Chronic liver disease
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage
  • Having an intrauterine device (IUD) -copper IUD
  • Following gynecological surgeries
  • Pregnancy

Following are the medications that may result in dysfunctional uterine symptoms:

  • Birth control pills
  • Warfarin 
  • Aspirin
  • Blood thinners
  • Hormonal agents, like spironolactone and tamoxifen
  • Certain corticosteroids (very rare chance)

How To Diagnose Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

To determine the underlying cause for dysfunctional uterine bleeding, medical practitioners will ask about your regular monthly cycles. As there are numerous possible causes for abnormal uterine bleeding, testing can help narrow down the diagnosis. A doctor may ask you to perform one or more of the following tests:

  • Complete blood count (CBC)
  • Urine pregnancy test
  • Thyroid function test
  • Coagulation panel
  • Transvaginal and pelvic ultrasound
  • MRI scanning
  • Hysteroscopy
  • Endometrial tissue biopsy

How To Manage The Symptoms Of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

There are numerous treatment options available for dysfunctional uterine bleeding. In certain situations, especially in cases of puberty, no treatment is taken, as the hormones usually correct themselves. The right treatment for you will depend on the underlying causes of the bleeding.
The various treatment options for dysfunctional uterine bleeding include:

  • Hormonal birth control: Birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin which may help in managing heavy, irregular periods. 
  • Hormone therapy: It is usually prescribed for those who experience abnormal bleeding during perimenopause. As the therapy poses certain risks, do not take this without consulting your medical professionals. 
  • Tranexamic acid: This medicine helps to control chronic heavy menstrual bleeding. 
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs: NSAIDs help to manage painful heavy periods.
  • Surgery: It is considered only if medications are not working to control abnormal bleeding.

What Are The Complications Of Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?

In general conditions, dysfunctional uterine bleeding is a temporary condition and it may recover once the hormone levels are balanced. If you neglect the symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding for a longer period of time, it may lead to the following complications:

  • Anemia
  • Infertility
  • Low blood pressure
  • In certain cases, severe blood loss can also lead to life-threatening conditions


Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is very common and is rarely cause for concern. If you are experiencing fevers, dizziness, fainting, or severe bleeding along with abdominal pain, call your doctor right once for an evaluation.
Make an appointment with the gynecologists at Eternal Hospital if your periods have been irregular for a few months in order to receive the best care. Be prepared to share the dates of your last few periods.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: What is the difference between Abnormal uterine bleeding and Dysfunctional uterine bleeding?

A: Many factors, some of which are benign, can lead to abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB). However, the disease known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) occurs when AUB is linked to hormonal changes that have a direct impact on the menstrual cycle.

Q: What are the common symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding?

A: A change in menstruation due to abnormal sex hormones is referred to as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The common symptoms of DUB include bleeding or spotting not related to menstruation, severe bleeding during the menstrual cycle, and extended menstrual bleeding.

Q: Which hospital is best to manage menstrual abnormalities in India?

A: Eternal Hospital is considered one of the top super-speciality hospitals with the best gynecologists in India. Make an appointment with the gynecologists at Eternal Hospital if your periods have been irregular for a few months in order to receive the best care. Be prepared to share the dates of your last few periods.

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