Uterine bleeding between expected menstrual cycles, or metrorrhagia, is a common problem, especially in teenage and pre-menopausal women, explains Core Physicians. There are many possible causes for metrorrhagia, including hormone imbalance, polyps on the cervix or in the uterus, infection, and use of birth control pills.
Metrorrhagia resulting from hormone imbalances can occur naturally or due to misuse of hormonal birth control pills, Core Physicians further explains. Even when used according to directions, birth control pills and IUDs may still result in irregular bleeding. Benign growths in the uterus or on the cervix, such as polyps and fibroids, can also cause metrorrhagia as can scar tissue inside the uterus. In other cases, medications and stress may be responsible. Additionally, certain types of uterine, cervical and vaginal cancers can cause frequent vaginal bleeding.
Physicians use a variety of tests to determine the underlying cause of metrorrhagia, according to Core Physicians. Diagnosis generally requires a complete medical history and physical exam. Doctors may use ultrasound imaging to examine the uterus, ovaries and pelvis. Further examination of the lining of the uterus may require a specialized type of ultrasound called a sonohysterogram. In some cases, doctors may need to remove a small piece of uterine tissue for examination under a microscope in a procedure called an endometrial biopsy.