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Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB)

Contents of this page:


Normal uterine anatomy (cut section)
Normal uterine anatomy (cut section)

Alternative Names    Return to top

Anovulatory bleeding; Bleeding - dysfunctional uterine; DUB; Abnormal uterine bleeding

Definition    Return to top

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is abnormal bleeding from the vagina that is not due to a physical (anatomical) cause.

Causes    Return to top

DUB may be caused by an imbalance of hormones -- estrogen or progesterone.

Risk factors include:

DUB occurs in women during their reproductive years (they have started their period but have not reached menopause). About 20% of DUB cases occur in adolescents and 40% occur in women over 40.

Symptoms    Return to top

Exams and Tests    Return to top

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is diagnosed after all other causes of abnormal uterine bleeding are ruled out. This includes:

The health care provider will do a pelvic examination.

Tests usually include:

The following procedures may be done:

Treatment    Return to top

Young women within a few years of their first period are not treated unless symptoms are very severe, such as heavy blood loss causing anemia.

In other women, the goal of treatment is to control the menstrual cycle. Oral birth control pills or progestogen therapy are often used for this purpose. Women with anemia may get iron supplements.

If you want to get pregnant, you may be given medication to stimulate ovulation.

Women whose symptoms are severe and resistant to medical therapy may need surgical treatments including:

Older women who may be getting close to menopause may receive hormones or surgery to relieve symptoms.

Outlook (Prognosis)    Return to top

Hormone therapy usually relieves symptoms.

Possible Complications    Return to top

When to Contact a Medical Professional    Return to top

Call your health care provider if you have unusual vaginal bleeding.

References    Return to top

Rakel P, ed. Conn’s Current Therapy 2005. 57th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: WB Saunders; 2005:1286-1288.

Stenchever A, et al. Comprehensive Gynecology. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby; 2001:1082-1084.

Katz VL, Lentz GM, Lobo RA, Gershenson DM. Comprehensive Gynecology. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby; 2007.

Update Date: 2/5/2008

Updated by: Peter Chen, MD, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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