While it may raise some red flags and cause worry that something serious might be going on, it’s actually not uncommon for women to experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or notice that they are spotting between periods. In fact, it happens to most women at some point in their lives, and abnormal vaginal bleeding has many possible causes. One of the important things to know is if the vaginal bleeding you’re seeing is actually abnormal or not.
So what truly classifies it as “abnormal,” and what causes abnormal vaginal bleeding? Bleeding is considered to be abnormal bleeding when it occurs during a time when the menstrual cycle is not yet due; when you notice abnormal menstrual bleeding, which would be either heavier or lighter than it usually is for you; or at a point in your life when bleeding would not usually be happening, such as menopause.
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There are many causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding. Fortunately, not all of the reasons for abnormal bleeding are indicative of a serious medical condition. Even so, a medical professional such as a urogynecologist should be consulted for further evaluation, and a female pelvic exam may be considered necessary to rule out the possibility of serious problems.
Some of the most common causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding include:
- Use of an IUD (intrauterine device)
- Infection of the organs in the pelvic region, such as the cervix, the vagina, the ovaries, the uterus, or the fallopian tubes
- Use of certain medications including oral contraceptives
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
Flashing Red Signs
Cases of abnormal vaginal bleeding which may be reason for concern include bleeding during pregnancy, which may indicate complications of some kind. Spotting and a minimal amount of bleeding is normal, but heavier bleeding during a pregnancy must be brought to the attention of a doctor immediately.
There are other, less common causes for abnormal vaginal bleeding which may be more serious, including:
- Fibroid uterus
- Cervical cancer
- Vaginal cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Cancer in the uterus
- Pelvic organ prolapse
- Sexual abuse
- Excessive amounts of stress or exercise
Never ignore red flags when it comes to your health! Consult with the caring team at Coyle Institute today!