What is the morbidity associated with abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB)?

Updated: Dec 07, 2018
  • Author: Millie A Behera, MD; Chief Editor: Richard Scott Lucidi, MD, FACOG  more...
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Single episodes of anovulatory bleeding generally carry a good prognosis.

Patients who experience repetitive episodes might experience significant consequences. Frequent uterine bleeding will increase the risk for iron deficiency anemia. Flow can be copious enough to require hospitalization for fluid management, transfusion, or intravenous hormone therapy. Chronic unopposed estrogenic stimulation of the endometrial lining increases the risk of both endometrial hyperplasia and endometrial carcinoma. Timely and appropriate management will prevent most of these problems.

Many individuals with abnormal uterine bleeding are exposed to unnecessary surgical intervention, such as repeated uterine curettage, endometrial ablative therapy, or hysterectomy, before adequate workup and a trial of medical therapy can be completed.

  • Iron deficiency anemia: Persistent menstrual disturbances might lead to chronic iron loss in up to 30% of cases. Adolescents might be particularly vulnerable. Up to 20% of patients in this age group presenting with menorrhagia might have a disorder of hemostasis.

  • Endometrial adenocarcinoma: About 1-2% of women with improperly managed anovulatory bleeding eventually might develop endometrial cancer.

  • Infertility associated with chronic anovulation, with or without excess androgen production, is frequently seen in these patients. Patients with polycystic ovarian syndrome, obesity, chronic hypertension, and insulin-resistant diabetes mellitus particularly are at risk.

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