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Dysfunctional uterine bleeding: advances in diagnosis and treatment

Munro, Malcolm G.

Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology: October 2001 - Volume 13 - Issue 5 - p 475-489
Review Article

Dysfunctional uterine bleeding occurs during the reproductive years unrelated to structural uterine abnormalities. Ovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding occurs secondary to defects in local endometrial hemostasis; while anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding is a systemic disorder, occurring secondary to endocrinologic, neurochemical, or pharmacologic mechanisms. Evaluation of patients with abnormal uterine bleeding and identifying those with dysfunctional uterine bleeding is achieved with a combination of the following: history; physical examination; and judicious use of laboratory evaluation, endometrial sampling and uterine imaging, with sonographic techniques and/or hysteroscopy. Coagulopathies should be considered as should the notion that intramural and subserosal myomas are unlikely to contribute to AUB. High-quality evidence suggests that medical therapy is frequently successful, and newer approaches, such as local delivery of progestins via intrauterine devices, appear to be particularly promising and devoid of systemic side effects. For those intolerant of medical therapy, and/or for whom fertility is no longer desired, a number of minimally invasive surgical options for hysterectomy now exist and are collectively termed endometrial ablation. Endometrial ablation may be performed with or without hysteroscopic guidance. There is an increasing body of evidence that suggests that nonhysteroscopic endometrial ablation may be at least as effective as hysteroscopic endometrial ablation, even when the hysteroscopic procedure is performed by experts.

Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCLA School of Medicine, Sylmar, California, USA

Correspondence to Malcolm G. Munro, MD, Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, UCLA School of Medicine, 14445 Olive View Drive, Suite 2B-163, Sylmar, CA 91342 1495, USA. Tel: +1 818 364 3222; fax: +1 818 364 3255; e-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.