Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding Quick Overview
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any bleeding that occurs outside of the expected time of menstruation.
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding can include
- excessive or heavy bleeding,
- prolonged periods,
- bleeding or spotting between periods,
- menstrual periods that occur too frequently,
- bleeding after sex,
- bleeding after menopause, or
- vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
- Women who are not ovulating regularly may have abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- There are many causes of vaginal bleeding, and treatment depends upon the underlying cause.
- It is important to visit a health-care professional for any abnormal vaginal bleeding.
- Women approaching menopause may have irregular periods or may miss periods. This can begin several years prior to actual menopause.
What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?
Unexpected bleeding is always a concern for a woman at any stage of life. Bleeding other than a normal menstrual period and even an abnormally heavy period can be
a cause for alarm. The medical term for excessive or prolonged vaginal bleeding that occurs at the regular time of the menstrual cycle is known as menorrhagia. Metrorrhagia is the term used to refer to uterine bleeding at irregular intervals, particularly between the expected menstrual periods. Menometrorrhagia is the combination of the two, that is, excessive uterine bleeding, both at the usual time of menstrual periods and at other irregular intervals.
It is important to understand exactly what is causing the bleeding, its origin (uterus, vagina, or some other organ or tissue), and to make decisions about how to control or stop the bleeding.
- A woman's normal menstrual cycle involves a complex series of hormonal events. An egg is released from the ovary; either the egg is fertilized by a sperm and implants in the uterus, or the lining of the uterus is shed each month as the menstrual period. This shedding causes normal menstrual bleeding.
- A normal menstrual cycle is 28 days plus or minus 7 days.
- A menstrual period generally lasts from 2-7 days and has a typical volume of
blood and fluid loss of about 2 to 8 tablespoons. This corresponds to about eight or fewer soaked pads per day with usually no more than 2 days of heavy bleeding.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 11/18/2015
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