How is abnormal menstruation (periods) diagnosed?

If any aspect of your menstrual cycle has changed, you should keep an accurate record of when your period begins and ends, including the amount of flow and whether you pass large blood clots. Keep track of any other symptoms, such as bleeding between periods and menstrual cramps or pain.

Your doctor will ask you about your menstrual cycle and medical history. He or she will perform a physical examination, including a pelvic exam and sometimes a Pap test. The doctor might also order certain tests, including the following:

  • Blood tests to rule out anemia or other medical disorders
  • Vaginal cultures, to look for infections
  • A pelvic ultrasound exam to check for uterine fibroids, polyps or an ovarian cyst
  • An endometrial biopsy, in which a sample of tissue is removed from the lining of the uterus, to diagnose endometriosis, hormonal imbalance, or cancerous cells. Endometriosis or other conditions may also be diagnosed using a procedure called a laparoscopy, in which the doctor makes a tiny incision in the abdomen and then inserts a thin tube with a light attached to view the uterus and ovaries

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 08/25/2019.

References

  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Abnormal Uterine Bleeding. Accessed 8/28/2019.
  • US Department of Health and Human Services. Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. About Menstruation. Accessed 8/28/2019.
  • US Department of Health and Human Services. Office on Women’s Health. Menstrual Cycle. Accessed 8/28/2019.

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy