Normal vaginal bleeding (menstruation) occurs every 21 to 35 days in women in the reproductive age group. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any bleeding not caused by menstrual cycle. This can include spotting of small amounts of blood (between periods), or vaginal bleeding which is heavier than normal.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding can manifest as intermenstrual bleeding, spotting, or heavy vaginal bleeding.
The underlying contributing factor for the abnormal bleeding may be varied. Whether you notice spotting or heavier bleeding between periods, it’s important to see your doctor for proper evaluation which includes a thorough clinical examination and appropriate investigations. Potential causes of bleeding between periods include:
- hormonal imbalance
- any kind of growth over the cervix or inside the uterus which can be as simple as a polyp or as ominous as a cancer
- undiagnosed pregnancy with complications like a threatened miscarriage, incomplete or complete miscarriage and may be a pregnancy outside the womb.
- Infection of the womb or vagina
- Vaginal dryness
- inherited blood clotting disorders
- side effect of some medication.
Your doctor will take a detail history which includes a menstrual history, family history, history of any underlying health condition and last but not the least sexual history. You will also have to undergo a physical examination and blood tests to check for pregnancy. hormonal levels to diagnose the cause of your bleeding. A range of imaging tests such as ultrasound or MRI scans, which produce images of your internal organs, may also be ordered to diagnose irregular bleeding. A cervical smear and swab may be taken and sent for sampling to determine any abnormalities.
The types of treatment for abnormal vaginal bleeding are based on many factors such as cause of bleeding, age and whether you want to have a child. Most cases of abnormal vaginal bleeding can be treated with medications except for a few which may require surgery.
Along with these treatments you can take good care of yourself by eating a well-balanced diet, exercising, and getting a proper amount of sleep.