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Abnormal Menstrual Bleeding

NetWellness experts receive many questions about abnormal menstrual bleeding, something with which most women have had some experience.

Variations in Menstrual Bleeding

Commonly reported variations in the menstrual cycle include:

  • Spotting (very light bleeding between periods)
  • Unusually heavy or unusually light menstrual flow during periods
  • Heavy bleeding between periods
  • Too long periods
  • Too short periods
  • Missing periods entirely

Irregularity is just part of the normal and natural process of menstruation. But sometimes abnormal menstrual bleeding can be a sign of another condition.

Causes of Abnormal Menstrual Bleeding

Irregular vaginal bleeding is a possible sign or symptom of the following:

  • Menstrual dysfunction
  • Fluctuating hormone levels (either naturally occurring or as a result of taking hormones during menopause, after menopause, or as a form of birth control).
  • Vaginal infection
  • Tumors, polyps or fibroids of the vagina, cervix, uterus or fallopian tubes
  • Cervical disorders, such as cervical ectropion, a condition common among younger women, especially young women taking birth control pills, in which the cervical tissue becomes more susceptible to abrasion, often associated with bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Cancer of the uterus, cervix, vagina or vulva
  • Some sexually transmitted diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea or genital warts
  • Vaginal injury from trauma or sexual abuse
  • Early pregnancy-associated bleeding
  • Ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg becomes implanted outside the uterus
  • Complications from pregnancy, such as miscarriage

If you suspect that you are experiencing abnormal menstrual bleeding, contact your healthcare provider to make an appointment. Keep track of when the bleeding started and how heavy/light it was so that you can give accurate and detailed information during your visit.

Most of the time abnormal menstrual bleeding is not indicative of a serious condition, but it is important to visit your healthcare provider to find the source of the problem.

For more information:

Go to the Women’s Health health topic.