Toward Optimal Health: The Experts Discuss Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

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

In This Article

How often is irregular bleeding brought on by a hormonal imbalance?

Dr. Bradley: There are many overlapping conditions with regard to hormones and women. Hormonal imbalances tend to cause anovulatory cycles. Common conditions include PCOS, hypothyroidism, and prolactinoma. Other factors that can influence hormonal levels and, therefore, menstrual bleeding are stress, obesity, and underweight. Less commonly, a woman might experience hyperprolactinemia with accompanying irregular menstruation, but she is most likely to have an absence of menstruation.

Dr. Schrager: Frequently, exogenous hormones, such as depomedroxyprogesterone, can cause irregular bleeding. Many women who use hormonal contraception, such as injectable medrroxyprogesterone or OC pills, have abnormal bleeding. Women who use Depo-Provera often have irregular spotting for the first 3-9 months. After 6 months of use, approximately 50% of women using Depo-Provera have amenorrhea, and after 12 months of use, that number goes up to 75%. The hypothalamic-pituitary system is very complex, so that any changes in one hormone can affect another system, such as the menstrual cycle. For example, even small changes in thyroid hormone can greatly affect a woman's bleeding pattern.


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