Every woman experiences some amount of bleeding during her periods which is considered absolutely normal and is called menorrhea. And while some women may experience very little blood flow during their menstrual cycles, others would tend to bleed more profusely during this period.
There is a thin line of difference between menorrhea and a condition called abnormal vaginal bleeding which is characterized by excessive bleeding, usually much more than the normal shedding during menstruation.
Causes For Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Also called Menorrhagia, abnormal vaginal bleeding can occur due to various reasons. In addition to heavy shedding during menstruation, the condition can also cause bleeding during normal days and can also cause conditions like spotting, abdominal cramps and blood clots in the uterus etc.
If a woman experiences abnormal vaginal bleeding during the period when she is carrying, chances are there might be something seriously wrong with the pregnancy.
While spotting and excessive bleeding within the first few weeks can signal an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage, heavy bleeding during the last few weeks of the pregnancy can indicate issues like placenta previa.
Post Partum Bleeding
After giving birth, it would take some time for a woman’s uterus to contract to its original size. This could cause excessive bleeding for a few days. Again the presence of the fetal tissue inside the uterus could cause bleeding until the former is removed from the body completely.
Women over 40 years of age could experience menorrhagia for a few months before they enter into the menopausal stage. And although this is considered normal, excessive bleeding for days can signal trouble.
Ovulation And PCOS
Women who suffer from PCOS are likely to experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. This would be due to the fact that their ovulation cycles would not be perfectly timed and could potentially cause mid cycle bleeding in addition to heavy bleeding during menstruation. Again, absence of periods for many months together can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding as and when they occur.
Infections, illnesses and disorders pertaining to the organs in the pelvic region, including the cervix, uterus, ovaries, vagina and fallopian tubes etc. can cause excessive vaginal bleeding at times. This is usually experienced during douching or sexual intercourse.
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An Intra Uterine Device can likely cause abnormal vaginal bleeding if it is not placed inside the uterus properly during implantation, or becomes infectious. Even birth control pills can cause menorrhagia if they are discontinued or not taken regularly.
More Serious Causes
Even though abnormal vaginal bleeding can happen at times and does not necessarily signal something wrong, there are some serious causes for the condition that require immediate diagnosis and treatment, the exact reason as to why it is considered to have the condition checked out by a doctor as and when it occurs.
Accordingly, the more serious issues that can cause menorrhagia include uterine fibroids, cancer (in the uterus, vagina, ovaries or cervix), a foreign object in the vagina, urethral prolapse, polyps, physical and emotional stress, sexual abuse and hyperthyroidism etc.
Symptoms Of Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Differentiating abnormal vaginal bleeding from normal shedding is difficult but can be managed with a few quick signs and symptoms. Any of these signs or a combination of them would warrant a quick visit to the doctor.
Abnormal Bleeding Patterns
If you start to experience bleeding in between your cycles or spotting during periods, chances are you may be suffering from menorrhagia. The condition can also make you to change pads every hour or so during your periods.
The normal menstrual cycle for a woman would last for about 5-7 days. Anything above that would be considered as abnormal. So if you experience heavy bleeding for more than 7 days at a stretch, you might be suffering from menorrhagia.
Bleeding After Sexual Intercourse
If you experience vaginal bleeding every time you have sex, chances are you might be suffering from some kind of uterine or pelvic infections.
Puberty, Pregnancy And Menopause
If you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding at any one of these junctures, check with a doctor about the same. While heavy bleeding during puberty is expected, bleeding during pregnancy and menopause can be a cause for concern and need to be checked out immediately.
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