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Management of abnormal uterine bleeding

      Abstract

      Patients treated for dysfunctional uterine bleeding are separated into two groups: those with acute bleeding episodes and those with chronic repetitive bleeding problems. An acute bleeding episode is best controlled with the use of high-dose estrogen. A curettage is indicated for patients with acute bleeding resulting in hypovolemia, and a curettage or hysteroscopically directed biopsies is indicated for women with risk factors for endometrial cancer who have persistent bleeding problems. The management of anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding is determined by the needs of the patient. In the adolescent medroxyprogesterone acetate is administered orally once a day for 10 days each month for ≥3 months, and the patient is monitored closely thereafter. Oral contraceptives are used for women of reproductive age with anovulatory bleeding episodes who also require contraception. Clomiphene citrate is used for women of reproductive age with anovulatory bleeding who want to conceive. Oral medroxyprogesterone acetate is administered 10 days each month for 6 months for the treatment of anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding alone in this age group. For the perimenopausal patient dysfunctional uterine bleeding may be treated by the administration of cyclic progestin or cyclic conjugated equine estrogens for 25 days with the concomitant administration of medroxyprogesterone acetate for days 16 to 25. The perimenopausal patient with dysfunctional uterine bleeding who is a nonsmoker and does not have evidence of vascular disease may also be treated with low-dose combination oral contraceptives. The long-term treatment for women with ovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding is the most difficult type of dysfunctional uterine bleeding to manage. The long-term therapy is directed at the reduction in menstrual blood loss. For these patients prolonged progestin use, oral contraceptives, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, antifibrinolytic agents, danazol, and as a last resort gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists are part of the therapeutic armamentarium. A combination of two or more of these agents is often required to successfully control the abnormal bleeding. For patients who no longer desire future fertility and have associated pelvic pathologic disorders or for those who fail all medical regimens, surgical therapy may be considered. Either hysterectomy or endometrial ablation has been used. Patients with von Willebrand's disease and excessive menstrual blood loss may be misdiagnosed as having dysfunctional uterine bleeding. von Willebrand's disease is the most common bleeding disorder and is present in approximately 1% of the population. It is much more common than previously recognized. There are improved diagnostic tests to identify this disorder and, most important, there is a high-concentration desmopressin acetate nasal spray available as treatment that does not involve the risk of transmission of hepatitis and human immunodeficiency virus. (Am J Obstet Gynecol 1996;175:787-92.)

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