What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is blood flow from the vagina that is not related to normal menstrual cycles. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can refer to bleeding that occurs before puberty or after menopause, or in a menstruating woman, vaginal bleeding that occurs between normal periods. Abnormal vaginal bleeding can also refer to menstrual bleeding that is either very heavy or unusually light, continues longer than normal or occurs after sexual intercourse.

There are many different possible causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding, including uterine infections, hormonal disorders, taking hormonal medications (including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy) and some medical conditions. See your doctor if you are experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding. In addition to doing a pelvic exam, your doctor may order certain blood tests and possibly an ultrasound screening, a biopsy of the uterine lining (endometrial biopsy), an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and/or a hysteroscopy (in which a thin tube equipped with a tiny camera is inserted into the uterus to view the uterine lining).

Treatments for abnormal bleeding depend on its cause, and may include medications or surgery. Choosing the best one for you will depend on the cause of the bleeding as well as your age, whether you want to have children and other factors.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any bleeding that is outside of normal menstrual periods, or any bleeding after menopause. A normal menstrual period occurs on a regular predictable schedule (that can be anywhere from every 3 to 5 weeks), lasts no longer than a week at a time, and is not heavy enough to interfere with a woman's normal activities. Bleeding in between periods, bleeding after sex and ANY bleeding after menopause is consider abnormal vaginal bleeding, and should be evaluated by a gynecologist.

Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any vaginal bleeding outside of normal withdrawal bleeding that occurs once a month.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.