Pregnancy     New Moms     Teens    

Ask the OB: What is abnormal uterine bleeding?



Dr. Obosa Osawe, OBGYN, joined Health Quest Medical Practice in 2010. She answers questions on the topic of abnormal uterine bleeding.

What is considered abnormal uterine bleeding?

A typical menstrual cycle is anywhere between 21 and 35 days. For women who are menstruating, if they are having periods that are too close together (closer than 3 weeks apart) or too far apart (more than 35 days apart), we would consider this abnormal and encourage her to visit her gynecologist. Bleeding for more than 7 days (normal menstrual bleeding lasts for 2 to 7 days) may indicate a problem. Uterine bleeding is also considered abnormal if spotting occurs between periods or following intercourse.

What should a woman do if she is concerned about bleeding?


Depending on the symptoms, a woman will definitely want to see her OBGYN. If she is having heavy periods, closer or longer than they should be, she should see a gynecologist. Depending on the cause of the abnormal uterine bleeding, treatment will be determined.

What causes abnormal uterine bleeding?

Platelet disorders are the most common blood disorder that causes excessive bleeding. Platelets help your blot clot, and low platelets can mean more bleeding and heavy periods.

The most common platelet disorder is von Willebrand's disease, which is often discovered during routine dental work.

Uterine fibroids and polyps (growths) or infections are common causes of abnormal bleeding. Precancer or cancer in the uterus, cervix or vagina can also cause abnormal bleeding.

How do you treat abnormal uterine bleeding?


For uterine bleeding, a pelvic exam is the first step to determine the cause of the bleeding. A doctor might also perform blood work to check your hemoglobin levels, or an ultrasound might be performed to check for any abnormalities, such as fibroids or polyps.

Depending on the cause of the bleeding, your doctor will determine the treatment, which can range from various medicines to surgery.

Your doctor may also order blood tests, a transvaginal ultrasound, or an endometrial biopsy.

What if a woman experiences bleeding during pregnancy?

Heavy bleeding is never normal during pregnancy, but a lot of pregnancies do have spotting or mild bleeding as a result of implantation early on in the pregnancy. That’s normal.

However, a pregnant woman should always see her OB/GYN if there is bleeding in order to determine if it’s normal or abnormal.

Heavy bleeding that occurs in the first trimester may mean a serious problem, including an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Any heavy bleeding after the first 12 weeks of pregnancy could also mean a serious problem, such as placenta previa.

Obosa Osawe, Board Certified OBGYN, sees patients in HQMP’s Poughkeepsie and Fishkill offices. She delivers at Vassar Brothers Medical Center. She is trained in daVinci robotic surgery.


Other articles by Health Quest Medical Practice-Obstetrics and Gynecology


  • A girl’s first gynecological visit

    Dr. Obosa Osawe of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses taking your daughter to the gynecologist

    Dr. Obasa Osawe, a board certified Health Quest Medical Practice OB/GYN, shares insights on when to schedule your daughter’s first gynecological appointment and how to prepare her (and yourself) for the exam. read more »
  • Giving birth on your own terms

    Shaye Arnold of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses midwifery

    Childbirth is a truly amazing experience. Those that have witnessed the birth of their child know it is hard to describe the intense rush of emotions felt as your child enters the world. Shaye Arnold, a certified nurse midwife at Health Quest Medical Practice, knows exactly how empowering childbirth can be, which is why she knew she was destined to become a midwife. read more »
  • Are you at risk of developing gestational diabetes?

    Dr. Jed Turk of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses gestational diabetes

    Being diagnosed with gestational diabetes can be alarming, but Dr. Jed Turk, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Health Quest Medical Practice, knows your diagnosis doesn’t mean your pregnancy won’t progress normally, nor does it mean your baby will be unhealthy. read more »
  • Am I going through the change?

    Dr. Jose E. Baez of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses perimenopause

    You wake up doused in sweat, your clothes don’t fit, and you’re literally crying over spilled milk. Dr. Jose E. Baez, a board-certified obstetrician and gynecologist at Health Quest Medical Practice in Poughkeepsie, knows you’re not on the verge of a breakdown; but, you may be entering perimenopause. read more »
  • Ask the OB: Pregnant after 35

    Dr. Jed Turk of Health Quest Medical Practice answers questions about becoming pregnant as you get older.

    If you have put off becoming pregnant because of your career, relationship issues, or you just weren’t ready, you may have questions about becoming pregnant as you get older. Obstetrician Jed Turk, MD gives straight-forward answers to some of women’s top concerns. read more »
  • Is it Braxton Hicks or True Labor Contractions?

    Dr. Donna Kasello of Health Quest Medical Practice answers questions about Braxton Hicks contractions.

    Dr. Donna Kasello of Health Quest Medical Practice answers questions about Braxton Hicks contractions that occur in about 70% of pregnant women read more »
  • If you don't vaccinate your children - read no further.

    Dr. Molly Cowgill of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses the importance of immunizing for for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV).

    Dr. Molly Cowgill of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses the importance of immunizing for for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). read more »
  • What is a midwife and what services do they provide?

    Is using a midwife the right choice for you?

    Nancey Rosensweig, a certified nurse midwife, joined Health Quest Medical Practice (HQMP) in 2011, and has more than 15 years experience in guiding women through their pregnancies. She answers questions about midwives and their services. read more »
  • Ask the OB: Exercise during pregnancy

    Dr. Stacey Madoff of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses the importance of exercise during pregnancy

    Dr. Stacey Madoff of Health Quest Medical Practice discusses the importance of exercise during pregnancy read more »
  • Ask the OB - Reduce birthing pain

    Dr. Meredith McDowell of Health Quest Medical Practice gives advice for a less painful birthing experience

    Pain and birthing, do they go together? Not always! Dr. Meredith McDowell of Health Quest Medical Practice gives advice for a less painful birthing experience read more »