Vaginal bleeding is a common issue for many women. It usually happens during a menstrual period. However, sometimes bleeding can happen at unexpected times. This can be worrisome and might point to different health conditions. Below are ten causes of vaginal bleeding that you should know about.
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1. Menstrual Cycle
This is when vaginal bleeding is expected. You usually experience this every month. Bleeding is part of your body’s natural cycle, and it prepares your body for pregnancy. Sometimes periods can come at unexpected times. Stress, weight changes, or illness can make your periods irregular. If this happens a lot, it could be a good idea to see a doctor.
2. Pregnancy-Related Causes
During the early stages of pregnancy, unexpected bleeding might be a sign of a miscarriage. It is a sad and difficult experience, and you should reach out to a healthcare provider if you think this might be happening. An ectopic pregnancy happens when the baby starts to grow outside the womb. This can cause vaginal bleeding and needs medical attention right away.
4. Medications and Birth Control
Some medications, like blood thinners (Warfarin or Coumadin), can cause unexpected bleeding. Also, if you start or stop using birth control, it might change your bleeding patterns.
5. Polyps and Fibroids
Polyps are small, soft growths that can appear in the uterus. They are usually non-cancerous but can cause discomfort or unexpected bleeding. Fibroids, on the other hand, are non-cancerous tumors that grow in the uterus. They can vary in size and might cause heavy periods or bleeding between periods. Treatment for both polyps and fibroids can range from monitoring to medication or even surgery, depending on the symptoms and the individual’s overall health.
6. Endometrial or Cervical Cancer
Endometrial cancer starts in the lining of the uterus, while cervical cancer begins in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus. Both types of cancer might cause vaginal bleeding, especially bleeding that’s not part of a normal period. Early detection is crucial, so regular check-ups and Pap tests can help catch any problems early. Treatment might include surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy, depending on the stage and type of cancer.
7. Hormonal Imbalance
Hormones control many functions in your body, including your menstrual cycle. If hormones get out of balance, it can lead to irregular or unexpected vaginal bleeding. Many things might cause this imbalance, such as thyroid problems, stress, or even certain medications. Treatment might include lifestyle changes, medication to regulate hormones, or addressing any underlying health issues that might be causing the imbalance.
8. Trauma or Injury
Any injury to the vaginal area might cause bleeding. This could include a surgical procedure, an accidental injury, or even rough sexual activity. Depending on the cause and severity of the injury, treatment might include rest, medication for pain or infection, or more intensive medical care if the injury is severe.
9. Bleeding Disorders
Bleeding disorders are medical conditions that affect how your blood clots, according to the American Society of Hematology. This means that if you get a cut or an injury, your blood might not clot as it should, and you might bleed more than usual. Some people might be born with a bleeding disorder, while others might develop one later in life. Unexpected vaginal bleeding could be a sign of a bleeding disorder. Treatment might include medication to help blood clot more easily or careful management of any activities that might lead to injury and bleeding.
10. IUD (Intrauterine Device) Complications
An IUD is a small device that’s placed in the uterus for birth control. It’s very effective, but sometimes it can cause unexpected bleeding. This might happen right after the IUD is placed, or it might happen later on. Most of the time, this bleeding is normal and will go away on its own. But if it continues or if there’s a lot of pain, it might be a sign of a complication, like the IUD moving out of place. In that case, you should talk to your doctor, who might need to adjust the IUD or choose a different method of birth control.
These causes of vaginal bleeding can be complex, and they might need medical attention to diagnose and treat properly. If you notice anything unusual, it’s always a good idea to talk to a doctor or nurse who knows your health history. They can help you figure out what’s going on and what you might need to do next.
Further Reading: Can a Yeast Infection Cause Bleeding?