Metrorrhagia is uterine bleeding that occurs between menstrual cycles and often causes extensive or prolonged vaginal bleeding. It only occurs in the female body because there needs to be female reproductive organs for this to occur. The word metrorrhagia comes from the words ‘womb’ and ‘excessive flow’, which is the literal translation of the meaning of the word.
Many women experience normal “spotting” right before their menstrual cycle begins but metrorrhagia can be described as an “off program” bleeding. A typical menstrual cycle or period occurs between 22 to 34 days with barely any spotting in between. Sometimes women suffer from certain abnormalities that cause metrorrhagia to happen. Bleeding during the beginning stages of a woman’s first menstrual cycle and during/after menopause can be like that of metrorrhagia.
Signs and Symptoms
Depending on what is causing metrorrhagia to occur, there can be different signs or symptoms that a woman can experience. Some of these symptoms are as follows:
- Heavy bleeding
- Severe cramps
- Abdominal pain
- Irregular bleeding
Some of these symptoms can be mistaken for early pregnancy signs, so if you think you are pregnant, consult with a doctor before self-prescribing any over-the-counter medications.
Normal menstrual cycles can be painful and occur every month. Metrorrhagia can add more issues to this normal cycle. Some of the causes are highlighted below:
- Certain medications or changes in medications
- Starting or changing birth control pills
- Pregnancy disorder
- Cervical lesions
- Uterine fibroids
- Ovarian cysts
- Liver disease
- Sexual abuse
- Von Willebrand Disease
- Ovarian cancer
- Steroid use
- Renal disease
- Intrauterine device, aka IUD
- Hormone imbalances
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Infection, like a yeast infection or genital herpes
- Injury to the cervix or vagina
When a medical professional is attempting to diagnosis the cause of metrorrhagia they will attempt to perform the following procedures or tests.
- Blood test- A blood test is a more accurate way to check for pregnancy and to measure the blood count for any abnormal results.
- Urine test- A urine test can check for pregnancy, excess protein, blood and infections.
- Ultrasound- An ultrasound does not only help detect a pregnancy, but also helps check for any abnormalities growing in the reproductive organs.
- Biopsy- To further check if there are any serious complications, an endometrial biopsy is done to obtain cells from the uterus.
- Physical examination- The least invasive way to check for metrorrhagia is through a physical, in which a doctor performs a pelvic examination.
- Pap smear- A pap smear is an important form of testing because it can rule out several different issues that pertain to a woman’s reproductive organs, including the vagina.
- Pregnancy test- This test will check the Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) levels in the body to see if they have increased in number. The higher the number, the more likely a pregnancy has developed.
- Culture- If there is any doubt as to whether any infections or sexually transmitted diseases are present, then a culture will be performed, usually during the pap smear.
Treating metrorrhagia is simple. Depending on the cause of the metrorrhagia, doctors will prescribe medications or antibiotics to treat things like infections, medical conditions and hormone imbalances. If cancer is the reason for metrorrhagia, then treatments such as radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery are the best way to go. The symptoms of metrorrhagia can diminish or clear up even if the cancer cells have not been fully removed.
Surgical procedures may be the only way to help stop the metrorrhagia from continuing for women who have pregnancy complications, experienced a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy. If an intrauterine device, IUD, is the reason for causing metrorrhagia to occur, then you should have it removed immediately. For conditions such as uterine fibroids, endometriosis, and cervical lesions, doctors will usually recommend surgical treatment.
It may be difficult to prevent metrorrhagia from occurring, but one can always do their best to keep their bodies healthy. Practicing safe sex is a key priority, not only for women but also for men. Safe can be help eliminate unwanted pregnancies and reduce the risk of STI’s or STD’s. Get plenty of exercise and treat your body to the best vitamins and nourishments that you can offer. The best thing to do to help prevent metrorrhagia is to receive annual or bi-annual Pap smear’s and visit the gynecologist if any problems arise.