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Excessive and Irregular Bleeding

From the GYN Diagnosis Articles List

What is excessive and irregular bleeding?What is excessive and irregular bleeding?


Beginning as early as age 9 and lasting until around age 50, women experience a monthly menstrual cycle which includes approximately two to seven days of vaginal bleeding. The amount of bleeding can vary and generally occurs every three to four weeks. For some women and girls, however, the bleeding can become excessive or irregular as the result of a gynecologic condition.

Some of the gynecologic conditions which can cause excessive bleeding and irregular periods include the following:There are non-gynecologic issues that can cause abnormal period issues too: medications, stress, infection, eating disorders, diabetes, and thyroid issues, bleeding disorders, and more.

There are several different terms used to describe the various types of irregular and bleeding issues relating to your period. Infrequent, irregular, or absent periods are known as anovulatory bleeding. If you have heavy or prolonged menstrual bleeding, it is referred to as ovulatory bleeding. Menorrhagia is the term used to describe heavy periods. Amenorrhea is the medical term used to describe a lack of menstrual periods.

It's easy to know when you have missed a period or experience only light bleeding, however; it can be hard to know how much bleeding during your period is considered normal and how much is considered excessive. In general, you should not need to change your pad or tampon more than every couple hours, and you should not flood through your clothing. If you need to change a pad or tampon every hour for several hours in a row, you are experiencing excessive bleeding. Passing several clots or clots larger than a quarter can also signal heavy bleeding.

While some women experience bleeding every 28 days, it’s not uncommon for there to be 21 or 35 days between each period. If your periods occur more or less often than those time frames or if the time frame changes frequently, you could be experiencing a gynecologic issue that is causing the irregular periods.

On occasion, you may have some spotting or bleeding in between your periods which is not necessarily a cause for concern. If, however, it occurs frequently or the bleeding is significant, you should speak to your doctor. Abnormal uterine bleeding during perimenopause can occur as your body goes through this time of life, but do talk to your doctor about the different changes that occur with your period. If you experience any spotting or bleeding after menopause, however, you should immediately call your doctor as that is never normal.

Because excessive and abnormal uterine bleeding can be caused by many things, it is important to keep detailed notes about your symptoms which you can share with your doctor. In your symptom diary, keep track of how often you are changing your pads or tampons; whether or not you have clots and how big they are; the color and texture of any bleeding; how many days the bleeding lasts; how many days are between each bleeding episode; and any symptoms you experience from the bleeding e.g. tiredness, weakness, shortness of breath, etc. which could indicate anemia.

Though both your gynecologist and general practitioner may be able to help, you should never hesitate to seek a second opinion about any bleeding or period concerns you may have. If you suspect there is a cancer concern or you have a strong family history of cancer, consulting with a gynecologic oncologist can be a wise move.


This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.

01-12-2015 - 09:03 PM


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