February 5, 2010

Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is a hormone-related condition that develops when there is either abnormally high vaginal bleeding during menstruation or some amount of bleeding occurring in between the periods without the involvement of a pathological condition. These can include problems involving the pituitary gland, liver, adrenal glands, blood clotting factors, elements that change hormone levels, fibroids, cysts or intrauterine devices. Sometimes dysfunctional uterine bleeding is a result of the cancer of the endometrium, the medical term for the inner lining of the uterus. The condition is more common either at the start of the reproductive years or towards their end. However, dysfunctional uterine bleeding could be an early symptom of menopausal changes as well. In a vast majority of cases of dysfunctional uterine bleeding, the ovary does not release an egg. Levels of estrogen, the hormone which stimulates the growth of the uterus wall, do not drop and are proportionately higher than another female hormone, progesterone, which plays a role in breaking down the endometrium in the run-up to the menstrual period. Because of this, the endometrium continues to grow unevenly – in a condition termed endometrial hyperplasia – instead of sloughing off as it otherwise normally would have. It finally begins breaking off in a completely sporadic and irregular fashion, thus resulting in an erratic bleeding pattern – first from one area, then from the other. If estrogen levels remain consistently higher than progesterone levels, it results in a sharp increase in the risk of endometrial cancer, even in people at the younger end of the spectrum. If the bleeding occurs earlier in the cycle, or towards the middle, it could also point at an abnormal drop in estrogen levels, while a shortage of progesterone results in heavier bleeding later in the cycle.

Another form of the problem, the anovulatory cycle dysfunctional uterine bleeding, is not associated with egg formation. This form of dysfunctional uterine bleeding occurs because of hormonal changes resulting from unknown or documented reason, from low, high or sharply changing weight, drugs, stress neurochemicals and hormones, changes in exercise patterns, or problems involving the hormone-releasing glands that are ductless. Other symptoms of dysfunctional uterine bleeding include severe mood swings, feelings of intense heat with a faster heart rate and a lot of sweating, fatigue called by blood loss, male-type body hair growth, and tenderness of the vagina. Some patients of dysfunctional uterine bleeding also experience the kind of symptoms otherwise associated with menstruation.