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5 Causes of Abnormal Bleeding

Every woman is used to the normal cycle of menstruation. But when bleeding occurs between periods or when menstrual bleeding is unusually heavy or even unusually light, it can be concerning. At Medical Care for Women in Astoria, New York, Andrea D. Olanescu, MD, uses advanced techniques to identify the cause of abnormal bleeding, providing customized care solutions tailored to each woman’s unique needs.

Common causes of abnormal bleeding

It’s estimated that abnormal bleeding affects up to 35% of women worldwide. Many women may worry that cancer is the cause of their abnormal bleeding. But while cancer can cause unusual bleeding or bleeding between periods, other conditions are far more common and much more likely to be the cause.

Uterine fibroids

Fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tissue growths that form inside the uterus, on the outside wall of the uterus, or even within the uterine wall. Fibroids occur during childbearing years, often shrinking during perimenopause and menopause. While they can be a common source of abnormal bleeding, cramps, and other symptoms, they almost never develop into cancer. 

Ovarian cysts

An ovarian cyst is a fluid-filled sac that forms on or in the ovary. Cysts are fairly common, and in many cases, they cause no symptoms and go away on their own. But sometimes, cysts can cause heavy periods or bleeding between periods. Cysts tend to be more common during periods of hormonal changes, like during puberty or right before menopause.

Hormonal fluctuations

Your menstrual cycle is regulated by your hormones, so it makes sense that if your hormone levels are fluctuating, it can have a direct effect on uterine bleeding. Many women experience abnormal bleeding during the months and years leading up to menopause as a result of declining levels of estrogen. Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is another hormone-related cause of abnormal uterine bleeding.


Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines your uterus (the endometrium) grows elsewhere — most commonly on the outer wall of the uterus, on your ovaries, or even on your bowel. In addition to abnormal uterine bleeding, endometriosis can cause significant pain, especially during your periods. As many as 10% of women suffer from endometriosis.

Birth control methods

Many types of birth control methods use hormones to help prevent pregnancy, and any of these methods can cause abnormal bleeding. That includes birth control pills, patches, implants, and shots, along with intrauterine devices (IUDs). Abnormal bleeding is more common when you begin a new type of birth control, while your body adjusts to the change in hormones.

Don’t ignore abnormal bleeding

Even though abnormal uterine bleeding can have lots of benign causes, that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be evaluated. Abnormal bleeding can be associated with other potentially serious issues, and in any case, evaluation can help you take steps to control abnormal bleeding so it doesn’t interfere with your life.

If you’re having unusually heavy periods, bleeding between periods, very light periods, or you’re skipping periods, Dr. Olanescu can help you learn the cause and how to treat it. Call our office or use our online form today to schedule an appointment.

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