When should abnormal bleeding be investigated?

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Abnormal bleeding isn’t uncommon, nor is it always something to worry about. However, in some cases, it can be a sign of very serious, underlying conditions and shouldn’t go ignored. The question is, what counts as “abnormal bleeding” and when should you report it to a gynaecologist? Here are four signs that your vaginal bleeding should be investigated.

Bleeding occurs after sex

Bleeding after sex isn’t particularly uncommon, but for most women, it only happens very infrequently, perhaps as a result of particularly vigorous intercourse or due to temporary vaginal dryness. If bleeding after sex becomes a frequent occurrence, or if the bleeding is accompanied by pain, it’s important to investigate. Sometimes it can be a sign of cervical cancer, a sexually transmitted infection, uterine fibroids or pelvic inflammatory disease. It is vital that you visit a gynaecologist after experiencing abnormal bleeding after sex to rule out these serious conditions.

You have a very heavy flow and lots of clots

Every woman’s menstrual flow is different, with some of us bleeding heavier than others. However, those who find themselves bleeding through tampons and pads incredibly quickly could have an underlying condition such as polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). Similarly, those who suddenly experience very heavy periods which are not usual for them should seek a professional examination. If sudden, heavy bleeding and clotting occurs in between periods, you should seek medical care urgently.

You have nine or fewer periods each year

Menstrual cycles are, on average, 28 days long, but they can range between 21 and 35 days and sometimes last up to 45 days for teenagers. If you have a particularly long menstrual cycle and have found that you’ve had less than nine periods within one year, or if your periods are so irregular that you can’t seem to identify the length of your cycle, there could be an underlying issue.

You bleed in between periods

Spotting between periods is always defined as abnormal bleeding, but it’s not necessarily something to worry about. Hormonal contraception can cause spotting, particularly when a woman first starts using a new type of contraception. Women who are going through the menopause may also notice spotting between periods. If you have noticed bleeding in between your periods for three months or more – even if it is only very light – you should arrange a consultation with a gynaecologist.

If you’re in any doubts about whether you’re experiencing abnormal bleeding or not, it is always safer to get it checked out. Contact us today to arrange a consultation with Tania Adib, a female gynaecologist in London.

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