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How do health care providers diagnose menstrual irregularities?

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A health care provider diagnoses menstrual irregularities using a combination of the following1,2,3,4,5:

  • Medical history
  • Physical examination
  • Blood tests
  • Ultrasound examination
  • Endometrial biopsy—a small sample of the uterus's endometrial lining is taken to be examined under a microscope
  • Hysteroscopy—a diagnostic scope that allows a health care provider to examine the inside of the uterus, typically done as an outpatient procedure
  • Saline infusion sonohysterography—ultrasound imaging of the uterine cavity while it is filled with sterile saline solution
  • Transvaginal ultrasonography—ultrasound imaging of the pelvic organs including the ovaries and uterus, using an ultrasound transducer that is inserted into the vagina

  1. Sweet, M. G., Schmidt-Dalton, T. A., Weiss, P. M., & Madsen, K. P. (2012). Evaluation and management of abnormal uterine bleeding in premenopausal women. American Family Physician, 85, 35-43. [top]
  2. French, L. (2005). Dysmenorrhea. American Family Physician, 71, 285-291. [top]
  3. Master-Hunter, T., & Heiman, D. L. (2006). Amenorrhea: Evaluation and treatment. American Family Physician, 73, 1374-1382. [top]
  4. Apgar, B. S., Kaufman, A. H., George-Nwogu, U., & Kittendorf, A. (2007). Treatment of menorrhagia. American Family Physician, 75, 1813-1819. [top]
  5. Practice Committee of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2008). Current evaluation of amenorrhea. Fertility and Sterility, 90, S219-225. [top]

Last Updated Date: 11/30/2012
Last Reviewed Date: 04/16/2013
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