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Stress and Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB): Is There a Connection?


What Is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?


Approximately 1.4 million women suffer from abnormal uterine bleeding every year. Data suggests that 1 in every 4 women in the reproductive stage present with abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms. Abnormal uterine bleeding can be understood as any irregular bleeding that occurs outside of the regular menstrual cycle. This bleeding may be very minimal in that it doesn’t require any intervention to severe bleeding that may necessitate the use of sanity pads or tampons. The usual menstrual cycle in adult women spans 24-34 days with a bleeding period of 4-7 days. Similarly, in younger women, this cycle may range from 21-45 days. 


Stress and Women


Stress is becoming more and more common term globally. World health organization has termed this the “Health Epidemic of the 21st Century.” Women are twice more like to suffer from stress than men. Stress is a major natural factor that can negatively impact a woman's hormonal levels. When stressed, the body produces cortisol, a hormone that prepares your body for a response against an enemy to either fight or flee. 


Stress and Abnormal Uterine Bleeding


Each month, the female body releases estrogen and progesterone hormones to prepare for pregnancy. The inner lining of the uterus grows during ovulation when the body releases an egg for fertilization on the 14th day of the menstrual cycle. If the egg is not fertilized this inner lining breaks and is discharged from the body during menstruation. 


The increased level of cortisol during stress affects the reproductive cycle by creating an imbalance in the levels of reproductive hormones. Even if a woman hasn't discharged an egg, hormonal imbalances confuse the body and may induce irregular bleeding. This imbalance in the reproductive hormone causes a disturbance in the usual menstrual cycle and can lead to abnormal uterine bleeding.


How to Identify?

Abnormal Uterine bleeding (AUB) is also known as dysfunctional uterine bleeding. Some of the common identifying features of this condition include:

  • Longer than usual periods
  • bleeding after sex
  • bleeding between cycles
  • bleeding after menopause 

Abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms may range from light spotting to heavy bleeding requiring a pad or tampon. Based on the timing and level of stress that a woman feels different signs and symptoms. 


Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Treatment


It is always advisable to consult your healthcare provider to recognize the exact cause of your abnormal uterine bleeding and prepare a customized treatment plan suited for your specific need. The different treatment therapies that be advised by your expert may include:

  1. Medical therapies: The following medical therapies may be advised by your healthcare consultant.
  • Antifibrinolytics
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Oral hormone treatments (e.g., oral contraceptives, progestins)
  • Vaginal ring contraceptive device
  1. Behavioural strategies: Stress is an important aspect when comes to the management of AUB. your physician may advise you on different stress reduction exercises or techniques to follow for some time. Apart from stress, Exercise and weight reduction are other lifestyle modifications that may help you in alleviating the effects of irregular uterine bleeding 
  2. Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies: These are alternative treatment strategies that may help in the management of abnormal uterine bleeding. These include herbal medicine and acupuncture





Dr. Neelam Vinay
Gynaecology, Gynaeoncology & Obstetrics
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