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.
You Have Bacterial Vaginosis Or A Yeast Infection
These two infections are so common it’s estimated that three out of four women will experience at least one in her lifetime. Any kind of infection can cause inflammation and irritation, which can result in bleeding” during sex, says Dr. Mahnert.
That said, bleeding isnt the most common symptom with bacterial vaginosis or a yeast infection. They’re typically characterized by changes in the color or odor of vaginal discharge as well as vaginal discomfort like prolonged itching, she explains. But if the cervix is infected and becomes inflamed , there could be some small amounts of blood seen after sex, due to the rubbing, says Dr. Gersh.
How Is Heavy Bleeding Diagnosed
After a thorough history and clinical examination including a cervical screening test and swabs your doctor might order blood tests and/or a pelvic ultrasound to eliminate some of the possible causes listed previously. The gold standard is to perform a hysteroscopy and curette in all women over 35 years of age to rule out endometrial hyperplasia or cancer. This is where the lining of the womb is viewed with a telescope the hysteroscope and is then lightly scraped away and a biopsy taken for examination.
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When Should You See A Doctor About Abnormal Bleeding
“You need to see a doctor if you dont have a monthly period or have more than one period per month. Feeling lightheaded or dizzy when you stand is also concerning,” says Dr. Schrop. She also urges women to see a doctor if they experience bleeding after going through menopause, or if they experience bleeding while pregnant.
Finally, Dr. Schrop says to see a gynecologist if you are experiencing any of the following:
- Bleeding that requires more than one tampon or sanitary pad in an hour, for several hours in a row
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Bleeding after having sex
- Nipple discharge
When Should You Visit The Doctor
It’s important to remember that if you have any concerns at all about your vaginal health, your doctor should be your first port of call.
If you do experience any bleeding during, or after, sex – or between periods – don’t just brush it off. ‘The most important message is that unexpected bleeding from anywhere should not be ignored,’ says Dr Webberley.
Dr Ashby agrees: ‘There are a whole host of other reasons why women may bleed after sex, and it’s important to see a doctor who can offer you an examination and some tests to look into why the bleeding is occurring.’
For more information, visit our women’s health collection.
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A Recurring Period Thats Heavy And Painful
If every period is heavy, painful, and difficult to work around, you may have underlying, long-term issues.
Your body typically balances progesterone and estrogen, the two hormones that play the biggest roles in menstruation.
Too much estrogen, however, can lead to a thickened uterine lining. This can cause heavy bleeding as the lining is eliminated during your period.
An underactive thyroid gland may also cause heavy or irregular menstrual bleeding
Roughly 10 to 30 percent of women with heavy periods have a bleeding disorder, such as von Willebrand disease. These disorders can make it difficult to stop your bleeding.
These small growths on the lining of the uterus can make periods heavier.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths of the muscle tissue of the uterus. They can develop on the outside of the uterus, within the wall, or protrude into the cavity or some combination of these.
Cancer in your uterus, cervix, and ovaries is rarely the sole cause of heavy bleeding, but a heavier period may be a symptom.
During this transition before menopause, you may experience hormonal changes and unusually heavy bleeding during your period.
After you have a baby, heavy periods arent uncommon. These changes may be permanent, or your period may return to a flow similar to what you had before getting pregnant.
- painful periods
Endometrial Tissue Blocking The Opening Of The Cervix
When you bleed on your period, the lining of your uterus is broken down and shed through a tiny opening of your cervix, down the vaginal canal and out of your vagina. Your period consists of a mix of blood and endometrial tissue. The opening in your cervix is small, which means that small pieces of endometrial tissue can block this opening, causing a temporary blockage of flow.
When this happens, your period may stop for several hours or a day or two. Once the blockage is removed, your period will resume again. This can mean that you experience a heavier than normal flow for the first day after bleeding resumes, due to a buildup of blood waiting to be released.If a small piece of tissue blocking the cervix is the cause behind your period stopping and starting again, this is generally nothing to worry about. This is frequently the cause of a one-off stop-and-start period.
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Is Bleeding After Sex Serious
If you have some minor bleeding every once in a while, chances are everything is fine. But the only way to know for sure is to see your doctor for a physical exam.
If the bleeding happens right before you get your period or within a few days after it ends and it doesnât happen again, you can hold off on making that appointment. You can also probably hold off if you recently had a pelvic exam and Pap smear and got a clean bill of health. In all other cases — or if youâre just worried — itâs best to get checked out to rule out infection or anything more serious.
When Should You Seek Help From Your Healthcare Provider About Your Period Heaviness
If your period amount is regularly over 80 mL, your period is longer than 8 days in length, or if your menstrual flow is so heavy that you are repeatedly soaking through a pad or tampon every two hours, this is considered heavy menstrual bleeding, and should be discussed with your healthcare provider . This type of excessive menstrual bleeding can impact a personâs quality of life and can cause anemia . Heavy menstrual bleeding can have many potential causes including: fibroids , adenomyosis , problems with blood clotting , uterine polyps , and tumors .
If your period has stopped and you are not taking any form of hormonal contraceptive, you should also discuss this with your healthcare provider, as you could be pregnant.
Even if your period falls out of the âofficialâ typical range, itâs important to know what is ânormalâ for you. The majority of health research is conducted on populations from western industrialized countries, which may not reflect your own personal genetic background or environment. Everybody is different, just as everyone’s period is different. Speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned about your period volume.
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How Do I Know Whats Causing My Heavy Periods
Your doctor will perform an evaluation and likely ask you a variety of questions about your menstrual cycle and how it affects your quality of life. Consider keeping a period log for multiple cycles that notes how many days of bleeding you experienced, how heavy your flow was, and how many sanitary products you needed to control it, and then share this log with your doctor.
From there, to determine the cause of your heavy menstrual bleeding, your doctor may order one or more of these tests:
- Blood test to screen for anemia, thyroid disorders, and blood-clotting issues
- Endometrial biopsy to assess the uterine tissue for abnormalities or growths
- Pap test to evaluate cells from the cervix for infection, inflammation, or cancer
- Ultrasound to evaluate the structure of the uterus, ovaries, and pelvis
Depending on what these initial tests find, your doctor may order additional tests or procedures:
- Sonohysterography to look for problems in the uterine lining
- Hysteroscopy to take a closer look inside the uterus
- Dilation and curettage to find whats causing the excessive bleeding
Risk Factors For Bleeding After Sex
You may have a higher chance of bleeding after sex if you:
- Have cancer of the cervix, vagina, or uterus
- Are going through menopause or perimenopause
- Had a baby not long ago or are breastfeeding
- Arenât fully aroused before vaginal penetration
- Use douche products a lot
- Have an infected cervix
- Have a sexually transmitted disease or sexually transmitted infection
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Help I’m Bleeding And I’m Not On My Period
Whether it’s tampon tax that you’re campaigning against or you’re celebrating one key player in the sanitary towel industry finally appreciating that our periods aren’t blue, it seems that periods are being discussed more openly than ever before. Whatever you call your period, apparently there are a staggering 5000 synonyms for menstruating , individual experiences of having a period vary greatly.
But what about when bleeding happens when you’re not expecting it? I don’t mean getting caught out without your ’emergency’ sanitary towel or tampon in your desk drawer I mean vaginal bleeding that isn’t your usual period .
Whilst commonly , paying a visit to your GP surgery or nearest sexual health clinic for further assessment is completely reasonable. So, let’s talk terminology. There are three main terms to be aware of when describing vaginal bleeding and we’ll go through each in turn. Causes vary with age and some women present with a combination of the different bleeding patterns.
Intermenstrual bleeding – this is when you bleed in between normal periods. If you don’t have regular cycles, this can be a difficult one to pick up
Postcoital bleeding – bleeding immediately after sex
Breakthrough bleeding – irregular bleeding associated with hormonal contraception . It is particularly reasonable to seek medical advice if this is worrying you or has lasted for longer than 3 months
1. Is there any chance that you could be pregnant?
2. When was your last STI check?
Sensitive Skin And Bleeding
Sensitive patches or polyps could also be to blame for bleeding during or after sex, as these can be agitated by having sex which may cause spotting.
‘Your nurse or doctor at your GP surgery or local sexual health clinic can have a quick look inside and see if there is an obvious raw patch,’ says Dr Webberley.
‘Sometimes a small polyp on the neck of the womb at the top of the vagina can bleed after sex. Sometimes the skin on the cervix can become very thin and bleed on contact.’
The best advice is to head straight to your GP to have an examination. ‘I would always offer an examination and if she would like, perform some simple painless tests for infections,’ says Dr Ashby. ‘If she had not had an up-to-date cervical smear test I would take the opportunity to perform this.’
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You Have Excruciating Migraines Before Or During Your Period
If migraines were even remotely considerate, theyd at least leave you alone when youre about to get your period. Unfortunately, period migraines are another issue you can add to the list of common period problems.
Its not that menstruation will just randomly cause migraines in unsuspecting people who have never had one, but people with a history of migraines may experience them before or during their periods, according to the Mayo Clinic, which adds that this may be due to estrogen fluctuations. They tend to get the headache right as they go into their periods, and it seems to get better after they have had their menses for a day or two, Dr. Minkin says.
If youre dealing with this, your typical migraine medication may work for you. As you probably know if youve grappled with migraines, the treatment options are legion. They include pain-relieving medications to relieve symptoms ASAP and preventive drugs to ward off migraines altogether, according to the Mayo Clinic. In the former camp, you have choices like anti-nausea meds and triptans, which constrict swollen blood vessels and block pain pathways in the brain. In the latter, youve got meds like tricyclic antidepressants, which affect brain chemicals like serotonin that may be implicated in migraines.
Youre Spotting A Ton Between Periods
The weird thing about spotting is that its one of those period problems that can actually be totally normalto a certain extent. For example, spotting isnt necessarily worrisome if youve just started a new type of birth control, or are pregnant , Dr. Minkin says. But if nothing in your life has changed and you start spotting between periods, its time to check in with your doctor.
Oftentimes, something thats ultimately pretty harmless is causing this menstrual cycle problem, like a benign uterine or cervical polyp thats prompting you to bleed between periods. But spotting is also a common sign of pelvic inflammatory disease , which happens when sexually transmitted bacteria from infections like chlamydia and gonorrhea spreads to reproductive organs like your uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. In addition, pelvic inflammatory disease can cause issues like fever, strange vaginal discharge that smells bad, and burning when you pee.
If you have PID, your doctor will first address the STI in question with antibiotics, says the CDC, then treat your partner for an STI if necessary. Pelvic inflammatory disease is a leading cause of chronic pelvic pain and infertility in women, so if you suspect you have it, getting quick treatment is of the essence.
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