A menstrual cycle results in vaginal bleeding that occurs regularly every 21- 35 days due to the shedding of the uterine lining in absence of a pregnancy. Any bleeding out of this regular pattern can be termed irregular or unusual vaginal bleeding, or intermenstrual vaginal bleeding. This unpredictable bleeding may be the result of pregnancy complications, hormonal changes, or any other abnormal lesions or even cancer.
Why does this happen?
Other causes are determined by their age and the location of the bleeding. After pregnancy has been ruled out, some of the recognized reasons are as follows:
- A physiological type of vaginal spotting may occur in some women around the time of ovulation. This is most often harmless and may be accompanied by some abdominal pain.
- Hormonal changes- changes or abnormalities in certain hormones including the thyroid hormones or the hormone Prolactin may cause some abnormal bleeding patterns. You may need a short course of hormonal medications to correct this irregular bleeding.
- Pregnancy complications- Bleeding might occur during pregnancy in the early months which can be due to a threatened or inevitable abortion.
- An ectopic pregnancy- pregnancy accidentally growing outside the uterus may also result in abnormal vaginal bleeding. This could be dangerous and needs to be attended to ASAP.
- Vaginal bleeding might occur later in pregnancy due to a low-lying placenta or an abnormal separation of a typically situated placenta- both instances which need to be attended by a doctor immediately.
- Contraception methods such as the pill, injections, or IUD (intrauterine device) may cause some vaginal bleeding occurring at odd times till your body may get adjusted to these devices. Such bleeding may be harmless and may not even need any intervention.
- Infection of the vaginal or uterine cavity may at times cause vaginal discharge or bleeding.
- Fibroids and polyps within the uterus may lead to abnormal and irregular bleeding. These need to be surgically removed to stop the bleeding.
- Trauma to the vaginal region- any external injury or injury during intercourse might cause such bleeding.
- Cancer of the uterus, cervix, or vagina- needless to say, such bleeding might be dangerous and may be the first symptom of cancer.
If you are experiencing any abnormal vaginal bleeding, consult your Gynaecologist for a comprehensive examination to ensure that there is no underlying disorder causing the problem. After a physical examination to visualize your cervix, the doctor might advise a variety of tests including a Pregnancy test, Cervical smear and swabs, Blood tests to check for certain hormones, and Ultrasound to proceed further.
Any bleeding out of this regular pattern can be termed irregular or unusual vaginal bleeding, or intermenstrual vaginal bleeding