Pathophysiology of heavy menstrual bleeding

Womens Health (Lond). 2016 Jan;12(1):3-13. doi: 10.2217/whe.15.81. Epub 2015 Dec 23.


Heavy menstrual bleeding (HMB) is a common gynecological complaint with multiple etiologies and diverse pathophysiological origins. This review discusses HMB with reference to the recently proposed PALM-COEIN classification system for abnormal uterine bleeding, initially describing the endometrial events in normal menstruation followed by discussion of the perturbations of normal endometrial shedding that can result in HMB. Our present understanding of the mechanisms of menstrual bleeding as well as many of the pathological aberrations of HMB is incomplete. Further research into the pathophysiology of HMB is urgently needed, as clear knowledge of the mechanisms of this disorder will provide new therapeutic targets to formulate more effective treatments.

Keywords: endometrial cancer; endometrial hyperplasia; heavy menstrual bleeding; leiomyoma/fibroid; polycystic ovarian syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometrium / blood supply*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menorrhagia / classification*
  • Menorrhagia / physiopathology*
  • Menorrhagia / therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Women's Health*