In November 2010, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics formally accepted a new classification system for causes of abnormal uterine bleeding in the reproductive years. The system, based on the acronym PALM-COEIN (polyps, adenomyosis, leiomyoma, malignancy and hyperplasia-coagulopathy, ovulatory disorders, endometrial causes, iatrogenic, not classified) was developed in response to concerns about the design and interpretation of basic science and clinical investigation that relates to the problem of abnormal uterine bleeding. A system of nomenclature for the description of normal uterine bleeding and the various symptoms that comprise abnormal bleeding has also been included. This article describes the rationale, the structured methods that involved stakeholders worldwide, and the suggested use of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics system for research, education, and clinical care. Investigators in the field are encouraged to use the system in the design of their abnormal uterine bleeding-related research because it is an approach that should improve our understanding and management of this often perplexing clinical condition.