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Women's Health

Nonstop menstrual bleeding... need help!

06/17/2008

Question:

I`m 25 and have been dealing with irregular periods all my life. i also have skin problems with acne on my upper arms and upper back. i started at age 11 with heavy bleeding and horrible cramps, one time lasting almost 2 months. then after a few years, my period would rarely come, coming about every 4-6 months. i was treated with several different birth control pills but it only made me depress plus the weight gain so as of now i`m not taking any medication. now recently i started bleeding nonstop. i started bleeding for 3 months straight, then stop for 3 weeks and bled again for over 5 months. when i`m not bleeding, i`ll be spotting. now i`m bleeding only a little bit almost everyday for a few months already. i`ve gone to 3 different doctors and with the latest ultrasound test, i was told i have hormonal imbalance and some ovarian cysts which will go away with time. i avoided the pap smear test which the doctor also agree i don`t have to take since i`ve never had sexual intercourse. i can`t seem to get any answers anywhere beside "this is a normal situation so don`t worry about it." please help and give me some advices. thanks....

Answer:

Many of the symptoms you experience can be explained by a condition known as "polycystic ovarian syndrome" or PCOS. This is a condition in which the ovaries do not ovulate regularly, so that there are often months that go by without a period, followed by heavy irregular bleeding caused by the tissue that builds up within the uterus. The ovaries also tend to produce more androgens (or male-type hormones) that can cause acne and abnormal hair growth. The condition is more common in women who are overweight, and weight loss and exercise are very effective in improving the situation.

Usually PCOS is treated with birth control pills, which regulate the bleeding and also prevent the acne and hair growth. If you are not sexually active and don't need birth control, the bleeding can be controlled with a small dose of hormone (a progestin) taken for a few days each month to bring on an orderly period.

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Response by:

Jonathan  A Schaffir, MD Jonathan A Schaffir, MD
Clnical Associate Professor of Obstetrics & Gynecology
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University