Vaginal bleeding stands for blood loss from the vagina (including the vaginal wall) or uterus. Marking the beginning of a new reproductive cycle, normal vaginal bleeding (menstruation) takes place every 21-35 days.
It is regarded abnormal if it takes place.
- Outside of your normal menstruation period
- When you’re pregnant
- After menopause
- Menstrual flow is heavier or lighter than normal
Common Causes of Unexpected Vaginal Bleeding:
1. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
If your body’s hormone production is out of balance, it brings about a disruption in the normal ovulation (monthly discharge of an egg) cycle, causing abnormal vaginal bleeding.
2. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
Infection or inflammation of the female reproductive organs namely, uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes as a result of sexually transmitted bacteria can lead to abnormal bleeding. The problem occurs when the bacterial infection spreads from the vagina into these parts of the reproductive system. More importantly, inflammation of these areas can also bring about vaginal bleeding particularly after sexual intercourse.
3. Intrauterine Device (IUD)
The use of Intrauterine Device (a birth control tool that is inserted into the uterus to prevent future pregnancy) can also cause vaginal bleeding like spotting (light bleeding between periods) or heavy periods.
Any hormonal medications, containing Estrogen or Progesterone (eg: certain birth control pills), when taken irregularly or indiscriminately, may lead to hormonal imbalance, leading to abnormal bleeding.
5. Early Pregnancy
Another very important cause of abnormal bleeding in women of reproductive age group is - Pregnancy. Any abnormal pregnancy or early pregnancy with certain defects, can lead to abnormal bleeding even though you may not yet be aware of the pregnancy. Usually, it is the first condition to be investigated in a woman with abnormal uterine bleeding, in reproductive age group.
Apart from these common causes, abnormal vaginal bleeding can also happen due to:
6. Thyroid Disorders
Changes in your menstrual cycle as a result of the hormonal imbalance brought on by an underactive thyroid gland (hypothyroidism) or an overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism) can lead to irregular bleeding patterns.
7. Uterine fibroids
Abnormal growths in the uterus or on its surface can lead to unexpected vaginal bleeding (longer or heavier periods and bleeding between periods).
8. Cancer of the reproductive organs
Cancer of the uterus, ovaries, vagina or cervix is also known to be an uncommon cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding. The blood loss can take place after sexual intercourse or between one menstrual cycle and the next. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.