Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB)

Definition - What does Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB) mean?

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding (DUB) is irregular or excessively heavy uterine bleeding without known physical abnormality of female reproductive structures, pregnancy or the presence of disease.

Bleeding can light or very heavy, but in either situation tends to be irregular and unpredictable. It is often a result of hormonal imbalance, which can occur in disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and thyroid dysfunction.

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding may also be referred to as abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB).

FertilitySmarts explains Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB)

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is any change from the normal cyclic bleeding that occurs during menstruation. While some women may experience few to no periods, others experience heavy bleeding that diagnosed clinically as:

  • Needing to change menstrual products i.e. pads/tampons/cups etc. every 1-2 hours
  • The passage of clots larger than 1 inch
  • Women subjectively noting their bleeding as being heavier than normal periods

It can occur in cycles where an egg is released (ovulatory) or in cycles where an egg is not released (anovulatory) and ultimately is in response to an imbalance of hormones in charge of normal cyclic bleeding.

During the menstrual cycle, hormones normally rise and fall depending on the stage of the cycle. In anovulatory cycles, there are persistently increased and unopposed levels of estrogen which leads to the persistent growth of the uterine lining which becomes more and more fragile leading to irregular breakdown and thus irregular bleeding.

On the other hand, in ovulatory cycles, the outside interference of diseases such as PCOS, hypothyroidism, and even obesity can cause a fluctuation in normal cycle related hormones and thus cause the irregular bleeding.

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