Abnormal vaginal bleeding occurs between menstrual periods, after sex, or after menopause. Menstrual periods that are heavier or last longer than usual or last more than seven days also are considered abnormal. Your doctor will likely perform a physical and pelvic exam and may test your blood, hormone levels and thyroid function to determine if you are pregnant or infected with a sexually transmitted disease. Imaging tests such as pelvic ultrasound, transvaginal ultrasound, ultrasound of the uterus, pelvic MRI, hysteroscopy or endometrial biopsy also may be used to help diagnose your condition. Treatment depends on the underlying cause and may include medication, uterine fibroid emobolization, endometrial ablation or surgical intervention. Normal vaginal bleeding, or menstruation also called a period , is part of a woman's menstrual cycle.
Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding - Evaluation and Treatment
Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods is also called intermenstrual bleeding, spotting, and metrorrhagia. When bleeding occurs between normal periods, there are many possible causes. While some causes may be easy to treat, others can indicate a serious underlying condition. Potential causes of bleeding between periods include:.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding can relate to an issue with your reproductive system a gynecologic condition or to other medical problems or certain medications. If you have reached menopause — defined as 12 consecutive months, give or take, without a menstrual period — subsequent vaginal bleeding may be a cause for concern and should be evaluated. Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products.
Top of the page Check Your Symptoms. Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs:. Abnormal vaginal bleeding has many possible causes. By itself, it does not necessarily indicate a serious condition.