Are Fertility Problems Tied to Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?
Posted byAimee McNew, MNT
What happens when menstrual bleeding is abnormal, heavier than it should be, or intermittent? Do these abnormal bleeding symptoms impact a woman’s ability to conceive children? The potential impact on a woman’s fertility, says the American Academy of Family Physicians, depends on the root cause of her abnormal uterine bleeding.1
What Is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding
Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) is any bleeding that differs from your normal cycle — whether in amount, how often, timing (such as between your regular periods) or after menopause. Even normal menstrual periods can fall under AUB if they are heavy or long in duration, such as a period that lasts more than six days, or bleeding that is significantly heavy on a daily basis during menstruation.
How AUB is Tied to Reproductive Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 7.5 million women, or 12.3 percent of women who are of reproductive age, deal with infertility.2 A woman’s fertility refers to her ability to get pregnant, and even in healthy women with no menstrual issues, a chance of pregnancy is only about 20 percent per cycle.3 For couples with infertility problems, the odds of conception per cycle can be somewhat reduced.
AUB can potentially be tied to a woman’s ability to conceive because some causes of AUB (e.g., uterine fibroids or endometrial polyps) may also be related to ovulation problems, hormone imbalances, or structural problems.4 Many times, however, it can be difficult to diagnose the cause of AUB, even after a thorough examination by qualified doctors. In these cases, sometimes AUB is categorized with unexplained infertility, meaning that doctors can’t identify a single or distinctive cause.
Signs of Infertility and When to See Your Doctor
The Mayo Clinic recommends that women who are trying to conceive see their doctor after a year of trying that doesn’t result in pregnancy (or after six months for women over age 35). This recommendation, however, assumes that there are no overt problems, such as AUB or irregular menstrual cycles.5 Women who do not ovulate regularly, have AUB or extensive or heavy periods could consider seeing their doctors sooner, especially if infertility is a concern.
While AUB can be a fairly common problem among women of reproductive age, it is not normal, and its cause should be investigated by a qualified health professional.
1“Evaluation and Management of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding in Premenopausal Women.” American Academy of Family Physcians. Accessed March 7, 2017. http://drkney.com/pdfs/vagbleed_010112.pdf
2“Infertility.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. July 15, 2016. Accessed December 30, 2016. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/infertility.htm.
3“Age and Fertility: A Guide for Patients.” American Society for Reproductive Medicine. 2012. Accessed January 4, 2017. https://www.asrm.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/agefertility.pdf.
4 “Infertility: Symptoms, Treatment, Diagnosis.” UCLA Obstetrics and Gynecology. Accessed February 15, 2017. http://obgyn.ucla.edu/infertility.
5 “Infertility: Symptoms and Causes.” Mayo Clinic. Accessed January 3, 2017. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/infertility/symptoms-causes/dxc-20228738.
- Posted by Aimee McNew, MNT
- On March 24, 2017