Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any bleeding that occurs between two menstrual periods. It is also known as spotting, metrorrhagia or inter-menstrual bleeding.
Every woman at some point during the reproductive period will
experience an irregular menstrual cycle. Keep in mind that, any menstrual bleeding between the menstrual cycles, regardless if it is just a light spotting is not normal.
There are many different causes that can lead to inter-menstrual bleeding. However, it is very frustrating as various things cross a woman’s mind. If vaginal bleeding is accompanied with abdominal pain, fatigue, fiver, dizziness or any other sign and symptom, you should seek immediate medical help.
Possible causes of inter-menstrual bleeding include:
• Old blood – in many cases during the menstrual periods, all the blood and tissue was not expelled properly from the uterus. So, in this case it is normal to have dark vaginal spotting a week or two after your menstrual periods have ended.
• Hormonal imbalance – it is well known that the menstrual cycle is controlled and regulated by two hormones estrogen and progesterone. Any imbalance of these two hormones can cause vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods.
• Unregulated menstrual cycle – are one of the most common causes of vaginal bleeding between menstrual cycles. This is more common among teenage girls, whose menstrual cycle is not totally regulated yet. However, even older women can have unregulated menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle can change anytime during a woman’s life due to stress, work overload, any health condition, etc.
• Uterine polyps – are non-cancerous ingrowth inside of the uterus. In some cases these polyps can burst and lead to vaginal bleeding, usually spotting.
• Uterine fibroids – are non-cancerous ingrowth inside of the uterus, usually more common among women who have given birth. They vary in size, shape and location. Uterine fibroids usually affect the menstrual cycle leading to inter-menstrual bleeding, heavy bleeding during menstrual cycle and even prolonged menstrual bleeding. When they grow bigger in size they should be surgically removed.
• Infections – can also lead to vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), pelvic inflammatory diseases or any other infection that affects the reproductive organs, except other signs and symptoms, are also characterized with vaginal spotting or vaginal bleeding.
• Pregnancy complications – can cause vaginal bleeding or spotting. Both, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy, are accompanied with vaginal bleeding between menstrual periods.
• Deep penetration during sexual intercourse – like in cases of vigorous sexual intercourse can lead to vaginal bleeding due to a physical injury. Bruises of the cervix except with vaginal blood are accompanied also with vaginal pain.
• Oral contraceptives – that contain hormones can sometimes trigger various effects on the woman’s body. Women who have just started to take oral contraceptives as a protection method or even women who have just discontinued using oral contraceptives can experience inter-menstrual bleeding.
• Cancer – of the vagina, cervix, uterus or ovaries can cause bleeding un- related to menstruation.
What should you do when you notice vaginal bleeding after your menstrual periods?
Weather it is the first time you are noticing blood, or it is something that has been repeating for the last 2-3 menstrual cycles, you should seek medical help. A proper medical check-up and diagnosis are necessary in cases when you have noticed vaginal bleeding that is unusual and not related to the menstrual cycle. If, except vaginal bleeding, other signs and symptoms like pain, fatigue, dizziness or fever, occur you should seek immediate medical help.
In some cases inter-menstrual vaginal bleeding will resolve on its own. However, in other cases a proper diagnosis and treatment are necessary. Ignoring the problem and not seeking proper medical help may lead to worsening of the condition. This is very important, because vaginal bleeding could be due to something not serious like stress, hormonal imbalance, but it could be also due to a more serious condition like pelvic inflammatory diseases, STDs, or even cancer of the reproductive organs.