The need for investigations to elucidate causes and effects of abnormal uterine bleeding

Semin Reprod Med. 2011 Sep;29(5):410-22. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1287665. Epub 2011 Nov 7.


This article describes a modern perspective on the basic investigations for abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) in low-resource settings compared with a much more detailed approach for high-resource settings, bearing in mind issues of effectiveness and cost effectiveness. AUB includes any one or more of several symptoms, and it should be evaluated for the characteristics of the woman's specific bleeding pattern, her "complaint" and the presence of other symptoms (especially pain), the impact on several aspects of body functioning and lifestyle, and the underlying cause(s), especially cancer. Ideally, the evaluation is comprehensive, considering each of the potential etiological domains defined by the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics PALM-COEIN system for the classification of causes. However, the detail of the questions and the extent of investigations will be significantly influenced by the technologies available and the time allotted for a consultation. In general, investigations should be performed only if they will make a material difference to the management approaches that can be offered. This should be an important consideration when a range of costly high-technology tests is accessible or when certain tests only have limited availability.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries / economics
  • Diagnostic Techniques, Obstetrical and Gynecological* / economics
  • Female
  • Health Care Costs
  • Health Services Accessibility / economics
  • Humans
  • Menstruation Disturbances / diagnosis*
  • Menstruation Disturbances / etiology
  • Menstruation Disturbances / physiopathology
  • Menstruation*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / diagnosis*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / physiopathology
  • Uterus / pathology
  • Uterus / physiopathology*
  • Women's Health / economics