Dysfunctional uterine bleeding

Prim Care. 1988 Sep;15(3):561-74.


Dysfunctional uterine bleeding is classified by the character of the menstrual cycle: ovulatory or anovulatory. Anovulation can occur at any age and is physiologic in the first year or two after menarche and for several years before menopause. Anovulatory cycles are characteristically irregular and marked by prolonged episodes of bleeding unassociated with signs or symptoms of ovulation. Specific causes of anovulation such as hyperprolactinemia, thyroid disease, androgen excess, anorexia, obesity, and excess exercise can be treated specifically; otherwise, therapy depends upon patient goals. Cycle regulation can be affected by monthly courses of progestin, such as medroxyprogesterone acetate (Provera), 10 mg daily for 10 days each month. Contraception and cycle regulation can both be accomplished with oral contraceptives. Fertility, on the other hand, will require ovulation induction. Ovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding most prevalent in parous women between the ages of 20 and 40 is associated with regular cycle intervals and premenstrual molimina. Midcycle and perimenstrual spotting can often be treated with observation only, but depending upon patient and/or physician concerns, periodic hormonal suppression is effective. The management of menorrhagia should include the following: (1) exclusion of pathology in the genital tract; (2) reduction in activity during days of heavy flow; (3) the avoidance of aspirin in the week before and on days of flow; (4) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs; (5) cycle suppression--oral contraceptives, danazol (Danocrine), depo-progestin; (6) luteal phase progestin; and (7) surgical intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Menorrhagia / diagnosis
  • Menstruation
  • Middle Aged
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Uterine Hemorrhage / therapy