What Can Cause Bleeding Between Periods
There are several things that could cause bleeding between periods, such as changes to your hormones levels, use of hormonal contraception or contraceptive devices, an infection, or an injury.
Other causes of bleeding between periods may include:
When Should You Seek Help
Dr Mackay urges anyone who has a heavier period to what is normal for her to speak to a doctor.
She says: “If a woman has had a longer or heavier period that is significantly different to what is normal for her and/or if her period lasts longer than 7 days, she should speak to her healthcare professional.
“Heavy periods are common and can have a big impact on a womans life.
“There are various treatments for heavy periods, including contraception, medicines, and in some cases, surgery.”
Your Period Often Takes You By Complete Surprise
An unexpected period is a classic annoying menstrual cycle problem. Pour one out for all the times you thought youd have a period-free vacation, only for it to show up right as you hit the beach. Fun! Irregular periods could be due to a number of different things that are in your control, like stress and travel, Dr. Streicher says. But they can also happen because of various health conditions.
Take thyroid issues, for example. Hypothyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland in your neck doesnt produce enough hormones, can lead to an irregular period, according to the Mayo Clinic. It can also cause myriad other symptoms, like heavier than usual periods, fatigue, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, impaired memory, and more. Treatment typically involves taking medication that mimics the thyroid hormone.
On the flip side, hyperthyroidism, which is when your thyroid gland is overactive, can cause light or infrequent menstruation, along with issues like sudden weight loss, rapid heart rate, increased appetite, and more frequent bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic.
PCOS and uterine polyps, which we discussed earlier, could be behind irregular bleeding, too.
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How Does Spotting Differ From Light Period Bleeding
Sometimes people describe light bleeding that occurs at the beginning or end of their period as spotting.
It can be hard to differentiate spotting from menstrual bleeding by just looking at the amount. Generally, if you have light bleeding that occurs within 2 days of your period, you should consider that part of your period, not spotting . However, if itâs very, very light – like you only see a little on your toilet paper – that probably could be considered spotting.
For example, if you have light bleeding on Sunday, no bleeding on Monday, and bleed enough to require a tampon on Tuesday, you should consider Sunday the start of your period.
What Are Heavy Menstrual Periods
When you have heavy menstrual periods , you are losing more than 80 ml of blood per menstrual period and the usual amount of blood loss per period is 10 to 35 ml. You may:
- Pass large blood clots and soak through your usual pads or tampons.
- Bleed for more than 7 days.
Heavy periods can be messy and unpleasant, and they may disrupt your life. But in most cases, they aren’t a sign of a serious problem.
A doctor can suggest treatments to ease your symptoms and make sure that you don’t have a more serious condition.
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What Is The Normal Duration For A Menstrual Period
Women vary greatly in the range of their cycles. This includes how long they go between periods .
It also includes how long a period lasts. Generally, a period should last six days or less and start heavier and get lighter. But every woman is different, Dr. Thielen says.
Whats more important is whether the length of your period has changed, she stresses. If you regularly bleed for eight or nine days, thats not concerning. But if you previously had a five-day flow and now youre going eight or nine, that should be evaluated, she says. Even women in perimenopause, whose periods may be all over the place, are wise to get examined.
Depending on the circumstances, long menstruation might be a mild condition that can be easily controlled, or one that indicates a more serious underlying health issue.
We Dont Need To Bleed: Why Many Women Are Giving Up On Periods
With recent confirmation that periods have no health benefit, an increasing number of women are using contraception to stop them altogether
For some, it is about bringing an end to debilitating pain or dark thoughts. For others, it is as simple as being liberated from the sinking realisation that you need a tampon but you left them in your other handbag.
When a new wave of feminist authors and activists are calling on women to embrace their periods, the idea that some do not want a monthly bleed and are seeking to avoid having them altogether can seem radical.
The technology is there, in contraceptives. They dont only prevent pregnancy. A recent drop in tampon sales has been linked to women using contraceptive methods that stop, or lighten their periods. About a fifth of women using the contraceptive implant no longer bleed , while many who take contraceptive pills without a break often achieve the same result and they are not the only methods.
The impact can be life-changing. I started taking the mini-pill purely for the fact it would stop my periods, says Jaimi Kendall, 25, from Exeter. For years, I had extremely heavy periods that would drag on for eight weeks or so and left me severely anaemic to the point where I started experiencing pulsatile tinnitus. Not having periods any more is a blessing.
So, if women do not want a period, is there a medical reason that they should? Many may be surprised to learn that the short answer is: no.
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When Are Heavy Periods A Cause For Concern
When you lose a lot of blood during your period, your iron levels can drop. This can cause anemia. Anemia can make you feel tired and weak. Call your doctor if you think you have anemia.
In rare cases, heavy periods may be a sign of a serious problem, such as an infection or cancer.
or seek immediate medical care if:
- You pass clots of blood and soak through your usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours.
- You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
Cervical Causes Of Bleeding
Unlike the vagina, bleeding from the cervix after sex usually isnt heavy enough to bring you to the emergency room in the middle of the night. Typically there’s a limited amount of bright red blood. It can be so minimal that you only notice it when you’re wiping yourself or changing your sheets.
Even though it may be minimal, it’s still important to discuss any bleeding after sex with your healthcare provider. Essentially there are four reasons why your cervix may bleed after sex.
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What Is Metrorrhagia
Bleeding that occurs between periods or is not directly associated with your normal menstruation is referred to as metrorrhagia. This can consist of light or heavy bleeding or spotting that may be accompanied by abdominal pain or cramps. Metrorrhagia is more common for teenagers and women nearing menopause.
How Is Pms Diagnosed
To diagnose PMS it is important to keep a symptom diary .
The symptom diary will enable your doctor to not only identify the typical pattern of PMS, it will also help to determine the type of PMS symptoms there is more than one type. PMS symptoms occur in the latter half of the menstrual cycle, resolve within a few days of the onset of menstruation, and do not return until the second half of the next cycle.
Women who are suffering with other mental health disorders may notice symptoms throughout the month, but that some symptoms worsen premenstrually. Keeping a symptoms diary will help to sort these out.
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When Do Most Girls Get Their Period
Most girls get their first period when they’re around 12. But getting it any time between age 10 and 15 is OK. Every girl’s body has its own schedule.
There isn’t one right age for a girl to get her period. But there are some clues that it will start soon:
- Most of the time, a girl gets her period about 2 years after her breasts start to develop.
- Another sign is vaginal discharge fluid that a girl might see or feel on her underwear. This discharge usually begins about 6 months to a year before a girl gets her first period.
Does Birth Control Stop Periods
Technically speaking, yes. The period that you get when youre on birth control isnt the same as a regular period. Without hormonal birth control, the lining of your uterus gets thicker to prepare for possible pregnancy and then sheds during your period if youre not pregnant. Your body doesnt ovulate or go through this regular menstrual cycle when youre taking oral contraceptives. Instead, what you experience as a period on birth control is called withdrawal bleeding.
This bleeding occurs as a response to your body not receiving the same hormones during the rest week at the end of your 21-day pack. That means that if you continue taking the pill and skip the rest week, you can skip your periods too. Make sure to talk to your health care provider about whether this is a good option for you.
You Bleed Through A Pad Or Tampon In An Hour Or Less Your Period Lasts Longer Than Seven Days Or Both
The medical term for an exceedingly heavy or long period is menorrhagia. Menorrhagia affects more than 10 million American women each year, or about one in five, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
These are basically periods that would fit right into a scary movie, but some people dont even realize this kind of bleeding isnt normal. One of the biggest problems is someone being so used to heavy bleeding that she underplays the amount, Lauren Streicher, M.D., an associate professor of clinical obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, tells SELF. Shell come in and say her periods arent too bad, then say she has to change her tampon every hour.
One huge sign you may be dealing with menorrhagia: Passing period clots larger than a quarter, according to the CDC. While thats technically a good sign that your bodys clotting mechanism is trying to prevent you from losing too much blood, it also indicates that youre still passing much more blood than you should, as SELF previously reported. Even if your clots arent that big, soaking through a tampon or pad in an hour or less is a tip-off that your bleeding is too heavy and intense. Bleeding for more than seven days is another period problem that points at menorrhagia, the CDC notes.
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.
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What To Do If You Are Not Sure If You Are Spotting Or Having Your Period
Talk to your doctor or other health care professional if you are not sure if it is your period, or if you are spotting.
Remember, spotting is light bleeding that does not get heavier like a typical menstrual period. The normal menstrual period usually is associated with some other symptoms like breast tenderness or cramps as described previously, and often is accompanied by heavy flow. During the first day of your period bleeding may be light, but it typically becomes heavier over the next few days.
Light bleeding that does not worsen and is not associated with the symptoms of a your period is likely to be spotting.
You should always contact your doctor or other health care professional if you experience any vaginal bleeding, spotting if you are pregnant or if you have reached menopause, or any time you have unusual bleeding that concerns you.
How Can Birth Control Or Menopause Affect The Duration Of Your Period
Birth control pills generally help with prolonged menstrual bleeding, but on occasion may cause it. IUDs, especially copper IUDs, sometimes cause prolonged bleeding, especially in the first year after insertion.
Women in perimenopause, the years leading up to menopause, frequently find their periods changing. Still, even if youre perimenopausal, you want your doctor to check things out. Long or irregular bleeding may just be from perimenopause. But it is also often our first clue of endometrial cancer or cervical cancer, she says.
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Whats A Normal Period
Normal periods are different from person to person. They can also change over your lifetime. Periods usually come about once a month. When you first start having your period, the bleeding may last only a few days or be really light .
During your period, its normal to bleed anywhere from 2 to 7 days. It may seem like a lot of blood comes out, but most people only lose about 1-6 tablespoons of blood and tissue during each period. Period blood can be red, brown, or pink. Its also normal for it to be kind of clumpy at times. If your period is so heavy that you have to change maxi pads or super tampons every hour call your doctor or your local Planned Parenthood health center.
During the first few years of your period, it might not always come at the same time every month. You may bleed more or less, or have different PMS symptoms month-to-month. As you get older, periods usually get more regular and itll be easier to know whats normal for you. Learn more about what a normal period is.
Even though its normal to have periods that arent always regular, missing a period can be a sign of pregnancy. If youve had penis-in-vagina sex without using birth control and you skipped your period, take a pregnancy test. Read more about what to do if you miss your period.
Want to track your period? Weve got you. Download our Spot On app.