What Is Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding?
Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB), also referred to as abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB), is a condition that indicates abnormal uterine activity. Normal uterine bleeding occurs every 21-35 days during a person’s menstrual cycle. People with an abnormal uterine cycle experience spotting in between menstrual cycles and oftentimes, do not menstruate regularly. The bleeding ranges from light to heavy, but can be caused by any number of factors. Healthcare providers urge people with DUB to seek medical attention.
Typically, DUB signifies anatomical issues. Some people have uterine growths that result in polyps, fibroids, and thickened endometrial tissue. Additional causes of DUB include endometritis, adhesions, bleeding disorders, and side effects from birth control.
Does DUB affect reproduction?
AUB can pose problems for people trying to conceive. Due to structural issues, the uterus can have issues with properly fertilizing eggs and carrying a fetus full-term. Additionally, growths may lead to other issues such as ovarian cancer. Therefore, people suffering from fertility issues may need to be tested for DUB.
Unlike other fertility conditions, DUB is more of an obvious problem because it results in physical bleeding. Depending on when the bleeding starts and when the person decides to get medical attention, the problem can be identified before the person starts trying to conceive. The healthcare provider will also determine if surgery needs to be done to remove growths.
To diagnose issues, doctors need to conduct an extensive physical exam that includes:
- Ultrasound: sound waves are used to take pictures of the pelvis
- Hysteroscopy: a tiny telescope is placed inside the cervix to visually inspect the uterine cavity
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): creates three-dimensional images of the uterus
What can be done to help a person with AUB conceive?
Before a doctor prescribes medication or refers a person with DUB to a fertility specialist, the doctor must identify the root cause of DUB. Once identified, the doctor determines a course of action. In addition to structural abnormalities, DUB is linked to hormonal imbalances within the body. It affects the pituitary gland’s ability to secrete certain hormones necessary for reproduction.
To combat this problem, fertility doctors prescribe certain medications to help the body secrete hormones. Depending on the patient’s need, the doctor creates a regimen to address their health issues. Patients interested in discussing dysfunctional uterine bleeding and fertility issues should consult a healthcare provider.