Your women friends — and women’s magazines — complain a lot about the miseries of menstruation: the cramps, the fatigue, the bloating, the inconvenience. But you notice that your friends don’t rush to the bathroom when they’re menstruating as often as you do when it’s your “time of the month.” And you’ve never noticed a “spot” on their pants or skirt.
Or, you’ve started to skip your periods. Or, they’re lasting days or even weeks longer than normal. Or, you might be surprised to find blood on your panties because you’re postmenopausal.
Whenever your period seems abnormal, a simple evaluation gives you the answers you need. At Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville in Jacksonville, Florida, our caring and compassionate OB/GYNs — Daniel McDyer, MD, FACOG, and Julian Stephen Suhrer, MD — determine the cause of your abnormal bleeding and offer you solutions, too.
One of the most common causes of abnormal bleeding is polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). If you have PCOS, you have more of the “male” hormone, testosterone, in relation to “female” hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone. Common signs and symptoms of PCOS are:
We may be able to balance your testosterone and other hormones with hormonal birth control. If you wish to become pregnant, we only put you on birth control for a brief period of time to allow your cycle to stabilize.
Heavy or prolonged bleeding could be a sign of a condition called endometriosis. The endometrium is a spongy tissue that lines your uterus and becomes engorged with blood right each month. If you don’t get pregnant, your endometrium sheds its upper layer, including its stores of blood, and you have a period.
However, when you have endometriosis, the endometrium is more extensive than normal. It may even cover the outside of your uterus or other urogenital organs. Endometriosis can be painful during your period because the excess tissue can’t shed through your vagina. We may recommend minimally invasive surgery to remove or thin the excess tissue.
Fibroids are benign tumors made up of uterine muscle tissue. Though fibroids can be minuscule, they can grow to the size of a grapefruit. They can also grow both inside and outside of your uterus. The extra uterine muscle increases the surface area of your uterus, which may make bleeding especially heavy.
Sometimes, hormonal therapy reduces or eliminates small fibroids. We may also recommend surgery to remove them, particularly if you’re having trouble getting pregnant.
Before your period stops altogether, you go through a period called perimenopause. Perimenopause is marked by imbalances in your hormones that can cause your periods to go on for too long. We may recommend progesterone — a “female” hormone — to counteract excess estrogen and regulate your period.
You may also start experiencing some of the symptoms of menopause at this time, including hot flashes and insomnia. Feel free to share all of your symptoms with us, even things like brain fog. Hormonal changes cause a range of mental and physical symptoms, including depression, anxiety, and sagging skin.
Rarely, abnormal bleeding could be a sign of a serious condition, such as ovarian cancer. If you’re postmenopausal and suddenly notice spotting or bleeding, call us immediately. The earlier ovarian cancer is diagnosed, the more successful treatment can be.
Don’t assume that your abnormal bleeding is something that you have to live with. Find out what’s behind your abnormal bleeding and get the treatment you need to feel better. Contact us at Florida Woman Care of Jacksonville to book an appointment at the office nearest you today.