If you have been bothered by the sight of blood on your tissue paper upon wiping, or you see it on your toilet seat each time you pee – it is a concern.
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Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Any bleeding which unrelated to menstruation is abnormal. It includes spotting between periods, blood on your wipes, toilet seats or extremely heavy periods where you use up a single pad or tampon within 2 hours or even less.
The normal menstrual cycle begins between the 21st and 35th day of the cycle, when the uterus sheds its lining, starting a new cycle. This lasts from 4 days up to one week. The flow, its consistency and colour may vary throughout this cycle.
Causes of Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Cancer – abnormal bleeding is an indication for cancer or pre-cancerous conditions. If there is a cancerous growth which may cause – Cervical cancer, Endometrial cancer, Endometrial hyperplasia, Ovarian cancer, Vaginal cancer or Uterine sarcoma; then you might have spotting or light bleeding between your periods or even if you have hit menopause. To detect this, your doctor will advise pap smears and other tests.
Thyroid – in women who have an increase or decrease in the usual thyroid levels experience bleeding between periods. This is due to hormonal changes and can be treated with over-the-counter medication, easily.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome – this is a problem created mainly due to the lifestyle of women. There is an unexplained growth of cysts inside the ovary, which may cause bleeding between periods, pain or cramps, nausea and other symptoms.
Birth control – sometimes, when you change your regular birth control pills or, start using them for the first time, you will see spotting or light bleeding. This is due to the hormonal changes caused due to the medication.
If you use an emergency contraceptive pill, it may also cause bleeding due to alteration of the uterus lining.
At times, women who opt for IUDs also experience bleeding due to a reaction to them or an infection caused by their insertion. In such cases, you should have the device removed immediately.
Pregnancy – when the fertilized egg is implanted in the uterus, you may experience bleeding or spotting. It usually lasts for a few hours or may 1 to 2 days. If it goes beyond two days, you should consult your doctor. Bleeding for a longer time could indicate an Ectopic pregnancy or Miscarriage.
Peri–menopause – post the age of 45 years, women start to experience lesser blood during periods due to the approaching menopause. However, at times when a woman is about to hit menopause, the body starts bleeding between cycles. It is slight spotting and does not last for more than 2 to 3 days.
Hormonal levels – increased or decreased levels of hormones due to any reason cause bleeding between cycles. You should see a doctor to find a solution for the fluctuation of hormones. If left untreated, they pose a serious threat to your health.
Sexual intercourse – being sexually active can also be the cause for bleeding. If you have had rough sex or due to improper methods or less lubrication of the vagina, you may see bleeding immediately after having sex or after sometime. This is due to the lesions or tears caused inside the vagina. If this happens, it is advisable to abstain from vaginal penetration for a while, till your vagina heals properly. If the bleeding does not stop within a few hours, you should see a doctor.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease – the infection causes the pelvis to inflame and become over-sensitive. Another symptom of this disease is bleeding. You may see spotting over the course of a few days; the bleeding will not stop unless you start a proper treatment. However, bleeding only happens when it has escalated a lot.
Urinary Tract Infections – common Urinary Tract Infections or other infections like Bacterial Vaginosis can cause bleeding if left untreated. These infections, though common and not serious, can become potentially dangerous for your reproductive system if left untreated. Bleeding happens when the infection has been in the body for a good time. These infections can also cause damage to your kidneys.
Cervicitis – an inflammation of the cervix. In this case, the bleeding can be due to severe inflammation and infection. It may also be due to sexual intercourse while you have the infection or any kind of penetration which troubles the cervix.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases – the STDs like Chlamydia, Gonorrhea or Trachomatis often show symptoms of bleeding. If you spot blood accompanied by itching or burning sensation, pain or discomfort, you should see a doctor.
Severe systemic diseases – in diseases which are related to the kidney or liver, you may see spotting or slight bleeding as a symptom. If you don’t have symptoms of any infection or STD, you should go for a check-up for the kidneys and liver.
Thrombocytopenia – it is a condition where the person has a low platelet count. It often occurs as a result of leukemia or an immune disorder or as a side effect of certain medications. If the platelets are too low, they may cause internal bleeding. Other symptoms include heavy menstrual flow, blood in urine, fatigue, excessive bruising, etc.
Von Willebrand disease – this is a life-long disease. In this the blood doesn’t clot as usual. People are born with this, however, the signs may not show up until years later. It could also be inherited due to a faulty gene. The symptoms include urine in blood and stool, heavy menstrual flow, excessive bleeding from an injury, prolonged nosebleeds, etc.
Forgotten tampons or objects – when you insert a tampon or any other object and it is forgotten inside the vagina, it may cause bleeding due to infection. You should ensure than tampons should be changed every 6 hours, irrespective of your blood flow. If you insert any other object, like a sex toy, make sure it is sanitized and is removed post use.
Forgotten tampons or tampons used for a long time can result into Toxic Shock Syndrome, which is a life-threatening condition.
Uterine or Cervical Polyps – these are the non-cancerous growths which occur in the uterus or the cervix. These are usually tissues which can be easily removed. The symptoms in such cases include bleeding or spotting between cycles, nausea, cramps or pain, etc.
Uterine Fibroids – fibroids are growths on or inside the uterus which can cause greater harm if left untreated. Fibroids can also result in blockage of fallopian tubes. If you experience bleeding between cycles or spotting when you pee, you should see a doctor.
Prolapsed Uterus – when the uterus sags from its original place and is displaced, it causes disruption to other reproductive organs and hinders their movements. In such cases, you will experience bleeding and sharp pain.
Hemorrhoids – it is possible that the bleeding is not from the vagina but from a bleeding hemorrhoid. In this case as prevention, always wipe in the front to back motion. This will keep the bacteria from entering the vagina.
Sexual abuse – if the vagina is penetrated without any lubrication like in cases of sexual abuse; then there are chances that the delicate skin of the vagina may get torn or have lesions. This may result into bleeding post the sexual abuse. In such cases, it is advised to see a doctor to determine the amount of damage done to the insides and its treatment.
Injuries – sometimes, due to blunt trauma caused to the vaginal or insertion of objects, you may experience bleeding immediately after the act.
When Should You Visit the Doctor?
If you are pregnant and are bleeding, contact your doctor immediately. In other general situations, where you are bleeding or spotting between cycles or post-menopause, these are some situations which need immediate medical attention –
- Post-menopausal women not on hormonal therapy,
- Post-menopausal women taking cyclic hormonal therapy,
- Post-menopausal women taking regular hormonal therapy,
- Girls under the age of 8 years,
- Girls who have not had any signs of puberty prior to bleeding,
- Women nearing menopause,
- Women starting birth control pills,
- Teenagers having irregular cycles,
- Teenagers having severe cramps accompanied by bleeding heavier than usual,
- Newborn babies.
Remedies to Stop Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding
Weight management – women who are over-weight or under-weight often experience untimely bleeding. You should maintain a healthy weight with the help of proper diet and exercises. You can also try health supplements to help you in this case.
Thyroid – if you have abnormal bleeding, you should see a doctor to check your thyroid levels. If they are above or below normal, you should cut down on salt and oily food items. Adopt a healthy lifestyle and inculcate sufficient physical activities.
Birth control pills – if the problem is due to birth control pills, either you should start a new pill or try other methods of contraception. However, remember to consult your doctor before taking any decisions.
Hormonal balance – you can try and maintain a healthy hormonal balance by eating fruits and vegetables which are recommended for women. You can try having Avocado, Yams, Salmon, Almonds, Eggs, Broccoli, Quinoa, Olives, Chickpea, Flaxseeds, Sesame seeds, Peaches, Apricots, Oranges, Strawberry, Carrots, Kale, Celery, Soy products, Lentils, Peas, Dark Rye bread and Pinto beans.
Health supplements – in order for speedy recovery, you can add health supplements like Vitamin E, Primrose evening oil capsules, Cod Liver oil capsules, Magnesium, Folic acid, Iron and Zinc.
Stress – an easy way to solve the problem of abnormal vaginal bleeding is to get rid of daily stress. Avoid worrying too much and over-thinking. If you feel stressed try to meditate or take your mind off things.
Sexual activity – while indulging in any sexual activity make sure you know the history of your partner. This will avoid contracting STDs. It is better to abstain from casual sex. While you are at it, avoid making things rough – it not only causes tears and lesions inside the vagina, it may also cause the thin membrane between your vagina and anus to break, causing particles of feces entering the vagina.
Parsley Juice – drinking about 75ml of parsley juice every day can help reduce the problem of abnormal bleeding.
Ginger – it is one of the most readily available cures for abnormal bleeding or menstrual problems. Take around one inch of ginger and boil it in water for 10 to 15 minutes. Let the liquid cool down and drink it thrice a day. You can add sugar or honey to make it sweet.
Yogurt – it has probiotics which have been proven extremely helpful in keeping a woman healthy. The bacterium in yogurt helps maintain a balance in the body. You can also dip your tampon in yogurt and insert it in your vagina for a couple of hours to get rid of infections.
Banana flower – the banana flower can be cooked with curd to bring down abnormal bleeding as well as cramps.
Coriander seeds – take a handful of these seeds and bring them to boil. Let them boil for about 10 to 15 minutes and let the liquid cool down. You can also crush them and eat the powder.
Beetroot Juice – intake of 60 to 100ml of beetroot juice on a daily basis can help with abnormal bleeding.
Papaya – unripe papaya can do wonders for problems related to the uterus. If you eat papaya daily, it will ensure a regular flow avoiding any sort of abnormal bleeding.
Sesame seeds – take a teaspoon of sesame seeds powder with hot water to cure abnormal bleeding.
Tips for Maintaining Proper Hygiene
- Always wear cotton underwear, it lets the skin breathe and dries faster.
- Change tampons and pads every 6 hours.
- Do not douche.
- Do not use artificial scents and products.
- Do not sit on public toilets, if needed; use a sanitizing spray before sitting.
- Always wipe in the front to back motion.
- Do not wear thongs regularly as the string often brings the bacteria from your anus to your vagina.