Most women experience that their menstruations vary in strength and are not regular every time. It is normal and should not give rise to worry or closer examination. However, some interruptions in the menstrual cycle can be signs of infection or cancer. Women with spotting and older women, who after menopause have new bleedings, should therefore quickly seek a doctor. All women with lasting troublesome bleedings can go to a doctor and receive treatment for their interruption of their menstrual cycle.
Heavy bleedings (menorrhagia). In the case of menorrhagia, the interval between the bleedings is regular but the bleedings are lengthy and heavy. Menorrhagia is common and appears with 20% of women in the age of 30 to 50 years. With the majority of the women, there is no explanation for the heavy bleedings. Fibroids in the uterus and non-hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD) can lead to menorrhagia.
Irregular bleedings (metrorrhagia). In the case of metrorrhagia, the interval between menstruations is entirely irregular or the woman has spotting between regular bleedings. Metrorrhagia is common and seen with 20% of women in the age of 15-20 years. The most common causes are hormonal disturbances, use of birth control, infections and pregnancy. Hormonal disturbances are seen with the very young and not yet fully developed women or with older women nearing menopause. Using birth control or hormones during menopause can cause metrorrhagia as a side effect. Another more rare but serious cause of metrorrhagia is abdominal cancer.