Toward Optimal Health: The Experts Discuss Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Jodi R. Godfrey, M.S., R.D.

In This Article

Can stress cause abnormal bleeding?

Dr. Bradley: In women under 50, sustained distress can lead to the absence of menstruation. Some patients become amenorrheic, and others have more frequent cycles (every 2-3 weeks). This is most typically found in college-aged women who are under heightened competitive stress either academically or in athletic competition. It may also occur in women who are grieving, who have experienced a sudden death in the family, or who were involved in or witnessed a traumatic event, such as a severe car accident or a shooting.

Dr. Schrager: In my clinical experience, women's bodies respond very sensitively to stress. Sometimes, patients do not even realize they are under a lot of stress and come in with menstrual complaints. After an initial evaluation, including a physical examination and basic laboratory tests, a discussion of stress management techniques can be all that is necessary to help control the abnormal menstrual bleeding.

Dr. Bradley: It would take an excessive amount of aspirin or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) to produce noticeable bleeding, and it is more likely the patient will experience stomach pain long before bleeding becomes the chief complaint.

Dr. Schrager: High doses of salicylates are used to treat some types of arthritis and may interfere with bleeding. NSAID use in general actually decreases the amount of menstrual bleeding typically experienced.