Pay attention to abnormal vaginal bleeding

Since puberty, we have learned to deal with it – we have to, we are women. We know the routine, we recognize the signs and symptoms month after month, and we have a shelf full of pads and tampons of all shapes and sizes. Menstruation is a normal, healthy, and necessary function of the female body that women experience for a about half their life. But abnormal vaginal bleeding can throw even the most prepared and scheduled woman for a loop.

There are about 7 days each cycle when vaginal bleeding is normal and expected. When spotting or bleeding occurs between your periods, is it considered abnormal vaginal bleeding. Let your doctor know if your period is extremely heavy, longer than normal or extremely light. If you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding at a time in your life when you should not be bleeding at all – like before puberty, during pregnancy, or after menopause – it is best to call your doctor right away.

There are many reason why you might experience abnormal vaginal bleeding.

Pregnancy – Any bleeding during pregnancy should be considered abnormal vaginal bleeding and reported to your doctor immediately. Some spotting can occur in the beginning but heavy bleeding could be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. After your first trimester, abnormal vaginal bleeding could mean you have placenta previa. After pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion you will tend to bleed heavily. When your uterus returns to normal size, your hormones will start to balance and your bleeding should subside.

Medicines – Taking certain medicines, birth controls, or antibiotics can lead to abnormal vaginal bleeding. Birth control pills can cause irregular bleeding for the first few months. Keep a strict schedule with your birth control, take it the same time every day. If you are a few hours off, your pill will be not only be less effective but this can also cause spotting. The ParaGard IUD is associated with heavier periods while Mirena users tend to have lighter bleeding or none at all.

Infections – Inflammation or infection of the pelvic/reproductive organs can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. These infections can be caused by STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or other problems that require medical attention.

Ovulation can cause mid-cycle spotting.
Some other causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding are sexual abuse, uterine fibroids, cancer, stress, menopause, weight gain or loss and other diseases such as diabetes or hyperthyroidism.

Treatment depends on what type of abnormal vaginal bleeding you experience. You will be given a pregnancy test to make sure your bleeding is not pregnancy related. Your doctor will also make sure the bleeding is coming from the reproductive tract and not the urethra or the rectum. If your abnormal vaginal bleeding is caused by an illness (such as kidney, liver, or thyroid disorders) the bleeding should improve when the disease does. Birth control pills, hormones, and the fertility drug Clomid can be used to treat abnormal vaginal bleeding. In some cases, surgery or a hysterectomy might be necessary.

What can you do to prevent abnormal vaginal bleeding?

By maintaining a healthy weight, taking any birth control pills or hormone replacement therapy medications on schedule, and decreasing the stress in your life – you will be doing yourself a favor while helping to prevent abnormal vaginal bleeding.

If you are experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding there is a chance you are low in iron – iron supplements are available but should only be taken if you have been diagnosed as anemic. Eat foods rich in iron like eggs, fish, liver, meat, poultry, leafy green vegetables, whole grains, molasses, kidney and lima beans, peaches, pears, raisins and prunes.

When you lose more blood then normal, you are losing valuable resources for your energy and vitality.  If you are experiencing abnormal vaginal bleeding, call Dr. Hessel. You know your body, how it works and when it works – team up with Dr. Hessel, she can help get you on the road to better health.

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