What is Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding?

Bleeding from your vagina or uterus other than your normal menstrual cycle is considered abnormal and should be checked by your doctor. This includes unusually heavy bleeding with your period, spotting between periods, severe pain during your period, and bleeding past the date your period should stop. If you’re reached menopause and no longer have menstrual periods, any bleeding is abnormal.

If you’re younger than 20 or older than 40, you’re at higher risk for abnormal bleeding because hormone imbalances are common at the beginning and end of your reproductive life. Other causes of bleeding include
• polyps
• fibroids
• tumors
• infections in the uterus

In teenagers and young women; pregnancy can cause abnormal bleeding. Factors that can increase your risk of abnormal bleeding include
• obesity
• excessive exercising
• stress

When Should I See My Doctor?

See your doctor if you’re
• passing blood clots the size of a golf ball or larger
• soaking a pad or tampon every hour
• feeling dizzy, weak, or feverish
• if you have severe abdominal pain
• your period doesn’t stop when expected

Be sure to tell your doctor if you could be pregnant.

How Will My Doctor Find Out What’s Wrong?

Your doctor will take a detailed medical history—which is your story of the problem and how long you have had it—and perform a physical exam. She’ll want to know if your periods are regular, the dates of recent periods, how long your periods last, and how heavy the blood flow is when your periods were “normal.” Your doctor ask how many times you’ve been pregnant and given birth, whether you’ve ever had an abortion or miscarriage, and if you use any type of birth control. She’ll also ask about any medicines including over-the-counter medicine and if you use recreational drugs.

Your doctor will do a pelvic exam to check problems with your vagina or cervix, such as an infection. She may also do a Pap lest. She’ll do an ultrasound exam to evaluate your uterus and ovaries. If you’re over 35, she may do an endometrial biopsy; where a small piece of the uterine lining is removed and examined under a microscope. Your doctor may
• take blood for a complete blood cell count
• order a thyroid function study (from the blood taken)
• take urine sample to check for infection
• do a pregnancy test

What Can Be Done To Fix The Problem?

Treating your problem will depend on the cause of the bleeding. If your blood count and blood pressure are normal, your doctor may start you on a birth control pill to help balance your hormones and make your periods more normal. If you have high blood pressure or can’t take estrogen, your doctor may prescribe progesterone instead.

You can take ibuprofen or naproxen for cramps unless your doctor tells you not to. Don’t take aspirin, which can make you bleed more. If your bleeding is very heavy, your blood count or blood pressure is low, and you’re having symptoms such as dizziness, you may need to go to the emergency room at your hospital.

If medicine doesn’t work, you may need a hysteroscopy to examine the uterus to look for the cause of the bleeding. Or your doctor may do an endometrial ablation, which involves inserting a heating device through your vagina into your uterus through your vagina and applying heat to destroy some of the lining of the uterus. Ablation is only done if you don’t want to have more children.

If medicine and endometrial ablation don’t stop the excessive bleeding, you may need surgery to remove your uterus, called hysterectomy.


  1. Denise smith says

    Hi everyone im 42 my tubes have been tied for 20yrs and i have horrible periods , so bad that i have on three pain patches taking pain meds ,and nothing working

  2. Cristina Ramirez says

    I was on the birth control nexplanon that goes in the arm and supposedly the side effects of bleeding would stop i been bleeding for 2 going on 3 years now. Spotting every now and then. I got off it in 2 years to make the bleeding go away but I’m still bleeding every day.

  3. Ashlie keesler says

    I have endometriosis and other multiple health issues. I don’t believe this is from endometriosis Im weak very weak very fainted and have a lump on my forehead I have been bleeding for over a month almost a month and a half it’s very heavy idk what to do I’ve begged for years for a hysterectomy but my gyro said u may want more kids um after saying I can’t have any due to endometriosis please help me

  4. Kriti bansal says

    When my periods start it is less than normal for about 4 to 5 days. But then turns out to be heavy periods from 4th or 5th day to 9th or 10th day. Then again circle transforms into less than normal. But during this time I feel low.. and sometimes back pain. DO I need to see a doctor?

  5. millie (15 years) says

    ok so i usually do have fairly heavy periods and once had a time that was really bad but they are still a “normal heavy” if that makes sense, but all of a sudden my periods had completely stopped for 6 months! then i had a tiny bit of random bleeding here and there but it was basically nothing and it stopped, then i came on for the first time and i was honestly so scared from how much blood there was, my whole bed soaked in it and it was just non stop bleeding, then when i came off my periods honestly couldnt decide weather they were coming or going, id be on one minute and off the next, then the next couple days i’d be on again but it was very light bleeding, almost nothing. now i have come on again and it is horribly heavy, again soaked through onto my bead even though i changed about 3 times during the night, my stomach is alot more uncomfortable and painful then it usually is, i never really have any pain but i do now. about a week prior to this i had a bad pain on the right side of my lower belly, around where my right ovary would be and it turned into a shooting pain down my leg, and in fact as i write this the same thing is happening now but on my left side. i dont know what to do, the bleeding is so bad i basically have no choice but to bleed everywhere during the night :/ ill definately follow the advice on this page, it seems really good and i’ll let my mum know weather i should see the doctor.

  6. Boitumelo Sekonyela says

    I’ve been on my periods for about a month now, with a day or two spotting. Prior to that, I was coming down with urine infection. Now I’m having an excessive bleeding with clots size of a grapefruit,along with a headache and back pain. I can’t even walk to the kitchen, if feels as though the blood will flow down to my legs. Insomnia has become a part of me since. 😭😭

  7. Hi i had my period 3 weeks ago and it ended thn last week i startd my period n t ended on tuesday this week i hve startd again bt im worried cz my pads soak up quickly n im using 2 pads bt they gttn soakd up quicky n there r many clots

  8. Cindy Schmidler says

    Hi, Eleece. Thank you for reaching out to us with your concern! Did the bleeding occur during a menstrual period, or was it unexpected and sudden? There are a lot of possible reasons for menorrhagia or excessive vaginal bleeding. We highly recommend that you visit a trusted gynecologist as soon as possible so you can be given a reliable diagnosis and treatment.

  9. Eleece Kirby says

    I am having very large clots about the size of my hand with a lot of pain I have been bleeding through large pads with blood coming out in large bursts not normal and I nervous I had to leave the store because I went through a super tampon and a pad and I was bleeding down my legs only after an hour of putting them on what should I do

  10. I’ve been on the birth control patch for almost 6 months, and everything has gone well. I have had normal periods lasting 4-8 days, and they came every month when I took the patch off. This month I’ve had 3 periods and severe cramping, tons of pain and very hard to keep food down. Idk if it’s the new medicine I’m on, but it’s scaring the shit out of me. Please help.

  11. Shannon Knowlton says

    My mom has been too over six doctors and know one can figure it out. We thought of going to the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota but not sure if she can make the 12 hour drive. Please help

  12. Shannon Knowlton says

    My mom is 70 years old her period stopped at 43. For the past two years she bleeds in cycles done lasting two to three weeks so heavy it’s requiring blood transfusions st first they thought it was her kidneys as she has chronic kidney stones and is in stage four kidney disease she had a complete work up a year ago with the female doctor and everything came back normal what is it.

  13. If you have your tubes tied….. Google search Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome. Alot of women have never even heard of this and don’t know they have it. Why? Because it’s doctor induced so very rarely will any doctor diagnose it. I had my tubes tied almost 4 years ago. Every single period after has been terrible…lasting a full 7 days, SUPER heavy and excruciating cramps. Not to mention the “phantom periods” in between. I have almost died twice now from this because of blood loss. I had to be given blood transfusions and hormones. I’ve had blood clots the size of a grapefruit and a period that lasted 28 days. The only way to correct this is to have a tubal reversal or hysterectomy. Post Tubal Ligation Syndrome is no joke ladies. Hope this helps.

  14. I been bleeding since Jan 10,2017 to February 11,2017 . Non stop .

  15. when I start my period I can’t stop bleeding it gos for week n keeps going but idk why I don’t stop

  16. Never ignore symptoms like this, two years ago when I was 18 I had a very bad period, I ignored it for only 3 days as I was looking after my grandmother who had a heart condition I figured it would stop when it was ready. By the time my mother came to visit I was passing out even when I was lying down, I had clots the size of tennis balls that would occur up to every hour and the blood had soaked through two towels and into the bed. I was rushed to hospital with a haemoglobin level of 63 ( average is at least 120) and my blood pressure was dangerously low with my pulse rate sitting at 148bpm and tacky cardiac lying down. I needed 6 blood transfusions and surgery (curetting) to stop it, I was on hormones and transenemic acid for months and the doctors still don’t know why it occurred even two years later.
    It was the scariest thing ever and I only ignored it for 3 days because I was told heavy periods are normal.

    If something doesn’t feel right act on it.
    I almost bled to death because of my period, I would have if my mother hadn’t visited.

  17. said bouharassi says

    Dear Sisters
    if your period doesn’t stop u can contact me if you want to know what i know about that . and i have the solution

    my email :
    whats up : 00212643075379

  18. Carne Terrance says

    I am obese but have been on my period for two weeks. I am having bad clots, not the size of golfballs, but still, and I am having cramps that effect my back. I have taken pamprin, and ibuprofen. What should I do???

  19. good advice,thanks

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