Abnormal uterine bleeding (formerly known as menometrorrhagia) is described as bleeding between monthly periods and/or prolonged or extremely heavy bleeding periods. Abnormal uterine bleeding includes both excessive bleeding from menstruation (menorrhagia) and irregular, excessive prolonged bleeding unrelated to menstruation (metrorrhagia).

What is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?

What is Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?

Abnormal uterine bleeding (AUB) refers to irregularities in the menstrual cycle involving frequency, regularity, duration, and volume of menstruation flow. Abnormal uterine bleeding may include the following:

  • Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Bleeding during or after intercourse
  • Having extremely heavy periods
  • Irregular menstrual cycles (longer than 35 days or shorter than 21 days)
  • Not having a period for three to six months
  • Bleeding after menopause

Signs & Symptoms of Abnormal Uterine Bleeding


You may have abnormal uterine bleeding if you’re experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods
  • Spotting or bleeding after sex
  • Spotting or bleeding after menopause
  • Menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
  • Heavy bleeding during your period (some individuals with AUB may soak a tampon or pad in one hour or less)

What Causes Abnormal Uterine Bleeding?


Abnormal uterine bleeding is fairly common, especially during the start and towards the end of menstruation. There are a number of possible explanations for abnormal uterine bleeding. These may include but are not limited to:  

  • Hormone imbalances, such as those caused by conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Medications, such as birth control pills or blood thinners
  • Polyps or fibroids in your uterus 
  • Cancer
  • Anovulation, which is caused by a hormone imbalance that causes an egg not to be released during fertilization
  • Thyroid disease, also caused by a hormone imbalance, is attributed to abnormal uterine bleeding
  • Uterine fibroids are a common noncancerous tumor that can grow in and on your uterus. Symptoms can include heavy menstrual bleeding, back pain, frequent urination, and pain during sex. 
  • Adenomyosis causes the uterus to thicken and enlarge the outer muscular walls of the uterus. This thickening can lead to abnormal uterine bleeding.

When Should I See My Health Care Provider?

When to See a Doctor?

Early detection is a crucial factor in addressing abnormal uterine bleeding symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider if you notice any symptoms associated with abnormal uterine bleeding.

Risk Factors for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding

Risk Factors

Preexisting conditions are common causes of abnormal uterine bleeding. Risk factors for these conditions vary greatly based on each person and their unique situation. However, keeping a healthy body weight and avoiding tobacco and alcohol use can lower your risk of developing a preexisting condition that may lead to abnormal uterine bleeding.

Get Care

Find Care for Abnormal Uterine Bleeding at NewYork-Presbyterian

Abnormal bleeding, including postmenopausal bleeding, should prompt a visit to a gynecologist for an evaluation. This may involve an ultrasound or a biopsy to rule out the possibility of uterine cancer. NewYork-Presbyterian offers board-certified, comprehensive surgical and nonsurgical gynecologic care to help address abnormal uterine bleeding and related issues.