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Heavy or irregular uterine bleeding during chemotherapy

Author
Andrea Milbourne, MD
Section Editors
Barbara Goff, MD
Robert L Barbieri, MD
Deputy Editor
Sandy J Falk, MD, FACOG

INTRODUCTION

Chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia can lead to menorrhagia (ie, heavy and prolonged menses) or irregular bleeding in premenopausal women, including adolescents [1], whereas uterine bleeding is a rare complication of chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia in postmenopausal women. Premenopausal women treated with alkylating agents are also at risk of development of hypogonadotropic amenorrhea.

This topic review will address management of menorrhagia related to chemotherapy. Ovarian failure related to anticancer drugs is discussed separately. (See "Ovarian failure due to anticancer drugs and radiation".)

ETIOLOGY

There are three potential cancer-related causes of uterine bleeding:

Bleeding directly from a genitourinary neoplasm (eg, endometrial carcinoma, gestational trophoblastic disease, cervical cancer)

Bleeding secondary to thrombocytopenia induced by chemotherapy, radiation therapy, and/or the malignancy itself (eg, acute promyelocytic leukemia, non-Hodgkin lymphoma)

             

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Literature review current through: Nov 2016. | This topic last updated: Wed Mar 30 00:00:00 GMT 2016.
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