What is AUB?
Abnormal uterine bleeding refers to any bleeding that occurs between periods. Sometimes, bleeding can extend well beyond the expected 5-day period, or the period could be hefty. In some cases, the bleeding can happen spontaneously or after sex. Sometimes, cramping and pelvic pain accompany the bleeding. There are several causes of AUB, and the condition should not be self-diagnosed. Instead, any sign of abnormal bleeding over several cycles should be assessed by a doctor.
Causes of AUB
The causes are mainly structural, with many women suffering from fibroids and polyps. These are abnormal growths or cysts that form on the endometrial lining. Some can progress to the point where bleeding occurs. Hormonal changes and Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) are other common causes. Abnormal bleeding could also be a sign of pregnancy, uterine cancer, or cervical cancer. The doctor will do a complete medical assessment to learn the root cause and steps for treatment.
Bleeding and infertility
Some of the causes of AUB can prevent pregnancy. Fibroids, polyps, and PCOS can prevent the egg from being fertilized. These conditions can also stop an embryo from implanting in the uterus. Infertility is defined as the inability to have a child naturally after 1 year of trying. To confirm if one of these issues is causing infertility, the doctor can perform different checks. An ultrasound can give an initial sense of any strange growths in the uterus. However, hysteroscopy is one of the best ways to detect the physical causes of AUB.
How hysteroscopy can help
Hysteroscopy allows an OB/GYN to get a detailed look at the uterus. The minimally invasive procedure involves the use of a hysteroscope. Hysteroscopes are long, thin tubes with a light and camera at the end. The hysteroscope is inserted in the vagina to the cervix and gives the doctor a clear image. The doctor can confirm if there are polyps, fibroids, or any abnormalities in the uterus. Sometimes, the procedure is coupled with other operations unrelated to AUB, like dilation and curettage.
Diagnostic vs. operative hysteroscopy
Hysteroscopies are mainly for observation but can be used for minor operations. For polyps or small fibroids, the doctor can perform operative hysteroscopy. The doctor can use additional tools to remove small growths. A sample is then sent for testing for possible cancer. If there are no reports of cancer, surgically removing masses with hysteroscopy can improve the chances of pregnancy.
Your next steps
Take the signs of abnormal uterine bleeding seriously. Closely monitor bleeding outside the period or during certain activities. If AUB is making pregnancy difficult, see a doctor right away. Procedures like hysteroscopy not only find out the cause of bleeding but can treat specific conditions. From there, pregnancy may be possible again.