How Do I Know If I Am Experiencing Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
While many women, especially adolescents, have irregular periods, it’s still important to be aware of what your normal menstrual cycle looks like and what symptoms you have regularly. If your periods suddenly become less frequent, heavier, or you experience spotting, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider. Tracking your menstrual cycle each month helps you stay aware of any potential changes in your health.
Other Causes Of Bleeding Irregularities
Stress and lifestyle changes Stress and lifestyle changes, such as gaining or losing weight, dieting, changing exercise routines, traveling, illness and other disruptions to your normal daily routine can impact your menstrual cycle and cause irregularities.
Birth control Going on or off birth control pills can affect your menstruation. Some women may experience irregular periods or miss periods for up to six months after stopping birth control pills. Other forms of birth control, such as IUDs, can cause period irregularities or cause your period to stop. Birth control pills that only contain progestin may cause bleeding between periods.
Medications Some anti-inflammatory drugs, anticoagulants , hormone medications or steroids can affect menstrual bleeding.
Hormone imbalances An excess of estrogen and progesterone can cause heavy bleeding. This is most common for girls in the first year or so of having her first period and for women nearing menopause.
Uterine polyps or fibroids Uterine polyps are small growths in the lining of the uterus, while fibroids are tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus. Both are usually benign but can cause heavy bleeding and pain during periods.
Endometriosis Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow outside the uterus, sometimes growing on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other digestive organs. This condition can cause painful bleeding, cramps and painful intercourse.
It Is Estimated That 7 Million Women In This Country Suffer From Excessive Menstrual Bleeding
Patients frequently complain of excessively heavy periods. It is estimated that 7 million women in this country suffer from excessive menstrual bleeding. These women find themselves changing their pads or tampons frequently, flooding, clotting, and sometimes soaking through their clothes. Many report going to work with a bag full of feminine protection products, and still having embarrassing accidents. Often women have endured years of heavy periodsfinding it difficult to leave the house one or two days each monthbefore they seek treatment.
For women with excessively heavy menstruation, endometrial ablation procedures are an extremely attractive option. Endometrial ablation is a simple day-procedure which takes just a few minutes to perform. In this procedure, a special instrument is used to burn the inner lining of the uterus, permanently inactivating it. The result is permanently light periodstypically just a few days with a panty liner.
At The Womans Health Pavilion, we provide solutions for women with abnormal bleeding. Whether you are bothered by your symptoms, or simply wish to know if your bleeding pattern is normal, we invite you to call for a consultation.
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Why Spotting Between Periods Happens And When To Be Concerned
- Birth control pills: Some women on the birth control pill may experience irregular bleeding if pills are missed.
- Injections: Women who use the Depo-Provera injection as their birth control method may experience irregular cycles or bleeding between cycles as a side effect of the medication.
- Hormonal IUD: Women who have a hormonal IUD in place may also experience irregular bleeding. However, this typically resolves itself within the first several months after placement.
Megan Quimper is an ob/gyn at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Pelvic Floor Muscle Dysfunction
The pelvic floor is a group of muscles and other tissues that form a sling across the pelvis, which holds together the vagina, uterus, bladder, rectum, and other pelvic organs, according to the NLM. Just like any other part of your body, your pelvic floor can become weak or injured, particularly after pregnancy and childbirth, and cause symptoms such as pelvic pain, lower back pain, and the feeling of pelvic pressure or fullness that are akin to those during your period.
The standout difference from menstruation pain? If you can feel a bulge inside the vagina or, in more extreme cases, you can organs start to push out of the vaginal opening, per the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists , then you are probably dealing with pelvic floor muscular problems.
Other symptoms include pain during sex, burning feeling in the vagina and while peeing, leaking urine when you cough, laugh, or exercise, and leaking stool or hard time making it to the bathroom in time. To determine whats going on, ACOG says that your health care provide will typically conduct vaginal and rectal exams in which you may be asked to cough or strain to see if you leak.
Read Also: How To Tell If Your Period Is Over
Women In Their 40s And Early 50s
In the years before menopause and when menopause begins, women have months when they dont ovulate. This can cause abnormal uterine bleeding, including heavy periods and lighter, irregular bleeding.
Thickening of the lining of the uterus is another cause of bleeding in women in their 40s and 50s. This thickening can be a warning of uterine cancer. If you have abnormal uterine bleeding and youre in this age group, you need to tell your doctor about it. It may be a normal part of getting older, but its important to make sure uterine cancer isnt the cause.
Fluctuating Periods In Young Women
If youve reached the aged girls get their period for the first time, then your periods over the next few years may be lighter or irregular. It may take up to 6 years for your hormones to normalize. You may sometimes have an early period or a late period.
If you are still notice spotting after period just after menarche, then its likely due to hormone fluctuations.
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Scanty Period: What Causes Less Bleeding During Periods
If perhaps you just noticed less bleeding during periods , it may not mean much. During the menstrual cycle and because of hormone imbalance, you may experience lighter than usual bleeding sometimes.
However, if persistent for many periods, it may indicate a problem.
In some women, lighter than usual period bleeding may be the first sign of pregnancy. This occurs because of implantation bleeding.
Other reasons for a light period are perimenopause, drugs, sexual intercourse with a vaginal tear, weight loss, hypothalamus dysfunction, contraceptives, abortion and thyroid problems.
Why Am I Bleeding But I’m Not On My Period
Bleeding between menstrual periods is a common occurrence among women. Causes include hormonal surges and reductions, the use of certain medicines, pregnancy, injury, inflammation, cancer, certain forms of birth control, vaginal dryness and stress, according to About.com.
Women’s reproductive health systems are complex, and small changes can cause bleeding. According to the University of Colorado OBGYN and Family Planning, hormonal changes are the most common cause of bleeding between periods. Age is a large determinant of between-period bleeding, or abnormal bleeding. Younger women experience irregular menstrual cycles, which cause confusion as to the date of the menstrual period. Menopause and pre-menopause also cause abnormal bleeding. These developmental stages come with extreme hormonal changes. Bleeding also occurs during the implantation of a zygote, according to Mayo Clinic. This is light bleeding up to two weeks after conception. Some women believe implantation bleeding to be abnormal bleeding or an irregular period.
Bleeding between periods is typically minimal, and heavy bleeding between periods requires an immediate visit to the doctor, according to the National Institute of Health. At the doctor’s appointment, patients should discuss the severity of bleeding, the time within the cycle that the bleeding occurs, sexual activity, other physical symptoms, and any medicines or supplements currently under consumption.
Starting Or Changing Birth Control Methods
In this particular case, you may see spotting throughout your cycle or right before your period, which is also known as breakthrough bleeding. All types of birth control can cause this situation including the pill, IUD, the patch, a vaginal ring, or an implant.
This sporadic spotting between periods is caused by the introduction of estrogen present in the birth control medication. It will usually resolve itself within a few months time. Should you continue to have spotting beyond that time, see Mid-City OB-GYN for a diagnosis.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the likely cause of my abnormal uterine bleeding?
- Is my condition serious? Am I at risk for any other health problems?
- Based on the cause, what treatment options do you recommend?
- What are the risks and benefits of this treatment?
- Will the treatment affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?
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Just After You Had Your First Period Menarche
If you just had menstruation flow for the first time, you may get worried when you experience a delayed period or a light bleeding during your menstruation. This is not abnormal as your reproductive and sexual hormones take some time to normalize.
However, most women get normal flow six years after menarche. Yours could be earlier.
What To Expect At Your Office Visit
The provider will perform a physical exam and ask questions about your medical history. The physical exam will include a pelvic exam.
Questions about the bleeding may include:
- When does the bleeding occur and how long does it last?
- How heavy is the bleeding?
- Do you have cramps too?
- Are there things that make the bleeding worse?
- Is there anything that prevents it or relieves it?
- Do you have any other symptoms such as abdominal pain, bruising, pain when urinating, or blood in urine or stools?
Tests that may be done include:
- Blood tests to check thyroid and ovarian function
- Cervical cultures to check for a sexually transmitted infection
- Colposcopy and cervical biopsy
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Bleeding Doesn’t Smell Like Period
I started bleeding again after 10 days of my last mentsural cycle, it started a spotting then light bleding now it is going on for 5 days, but it doesn’t smell anything like my period and I do not have cramping, I usually have heavy cramping everytime I have my period, but the last two bleding have been without cramps, what do you guys think it could possibly be?
You might want to just contact your PCP if your bleeding again after 10 of your LMP. I would want to know what was causing the bleeding! They may have to start/change BC if your currently using one!
< blockquote> < b> Quoting Barnett Babies:< /b> ” You might want to just contact your PCP if your bleeding again after 10 of your LMP. I would want to know what was causing the bleeding! They may have to start/change BC if your currently using one!”< /blockquote>
Not using any, never used any before also
This month I experienced bleeding before I ovulated. I had spotting on CD11, 12 and 13. It was red and mixed in with my cervical fluid. I didn’t get any on my underwear, it was only when I wiped, sometimes it was a lot, sometimes it was only a little.
I’ve never had it before and I had assumed that ‘ovulation bleeding’ was right at ovulation or a little after and it was just a bit of brown blood. So I did some research and there isn’t a lot out there. From what I understand, this is considered to be a very fertile time for the woman.
Cancers Of The Reproductive System
In most cases, bleeding between periods is not a cause for concern. However, vaginal bleeding between periods is one possible symptom of certain types of cancer. It is especially important to take note of abnormal vaginal bleeding if you have entered menopause.
The following cancers may cause irregular vaginal bleeding:
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What Causes Bleeding After Sex
Among other things, bleeding after sex can be a side effect of menopause, or it can be a sign of a serious condition. Vaginal bleeding after sex is also called postcoital bleeding and can be caused by:
- Cervical inflammation Cervicitis can be ongoing and symptomless. It can also be caused by a sexually transmitted infection that needs to be treated, like chlamydia or gonorrhea.
- Vaginal dryness During menopause, the hormones in your body change. The level of estrogen decreases and may lead to a decrease in vaginal fluid, resulting in vaginal dryness. Because of this, during sex, the friction can irritate the tissues that line the vagina and cause pain. This can be alleviated with the use of some water-soluble lubricant.
- A cervical polyp Polyps are growths that are usually small and appear on the cervix where it meets the vagina. Most polyps are non-cancerous and can be removed by your OB-GYN during an appointment.
- Normal uterine bleeding This can happen just before or just after your expected period. At the very beginning or the very end of your period, its normal to experience light bleeding after sex. This may appear as light spotting.
- Cancer Cancer can affect the vagina, cervix, and uterus. Make sure you schedule regular appointments with your health care provider for Pap smears and pelvic exams, which can help detect early signs of cancer.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Use your menstrual cycle calendar to record the number of tampons or pads you use. This information can help your healthcare provider determine whether or not you are bleeding excessively.
Any unexplained vaginal bleeding between periods is a reason to call your healthcare provider. While it needs to be reported at any age, it is especially a concern for people who haven’t yet gone through puberty and for females who are past menopause.
If you are pregnant and you have spotting or bleeding, you need to see your healthcare provider.
You should seek immediate medical care if the bleeding is heavy, or if it is accompanied by pain, fever, dizziness, chills, nausea, or vomiting.
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Reasons To Worry About Spotting After Period