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Terms used to describe abnormal uterine bleeding

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

Terminology and descriptions used to describe uterine bleeding consistent with the FIGO Menstrual Disorders Working Group consensus statement





heavy menstrual bleeding

excessive menstrual blood loss which interferes with the woman’s physical, emotional, social and material quality of life and which can occur alone or in combination with other symptoms

regularity (normal variation ±2 to 20 days)

irregular menstrual bleeding

a range of varying lengths of bleeding-free intervals exceeding 20 days within one 90-day reference period

absent menstrual bleeding (amenorrhoea)

no bleeding in a 90-day period

frequency (normal every 24 to 38 days)

infrequent menstrual bleeding

bleeding at intervals >38 days apart (1 or 2 episodes in a 90-day period)

frequent menstrual bleeding

Bleeding at intervals < 24 days apart(more than 4 episodes in a 90-day period)

duration (normal 3 to 8 days)

prolonged menstrual bleeding

describes menstrual blood loss which exceeds 8 days in duration

shortened menstrual bleeding

menstrual bleeding less than 3 days in duration

irregular, non-menstrual bleeding


irregular episodes of bleeding, often light and short, occurring between otherwise fairly normal menstrual periods


bleeding post-intercourse

premenstrual and post-menstrual spotting

bleeding that may occur in a regular basis for one or more days before or after the recognised menstrual period

bleeding outside reproductive age

post-menopausal bleeding

bleeding occurring more than one year after the acknowledged menopause

precocious menstruation

bleeding occurring before the age of 9 years

acute or chronic AUB

acute AUB

an episode of bleeding in a woman of reproductive age, who is not pregnant, that is of sufficient quantity to require immediate intervention to prevent further blood loss

chronic AUB

bleeding that is abnormal in duration, volume and/or frequency and has been present for most of the last 6 months


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