The medical term for bleeding between periods is metrorrhagia. It is also known as spotting or breakthrough bleeding. Any bleeding between your period is not usually a cause for concern but should be investigated.
Causes of bleeding between periods
Fibroids are benign tumours that grow in and around the uterus. Around one in five women between 30 and 50 years have fibroids.
Light bleeding is common in early pregnancy and can occur from implantation. However, if you are experiencing bleeding later on in pregnancy or experiencing heavy bleeding and pain you should get checked over by your midwife, as it could also be a sign of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
An imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone in your body may cause spotting. You may also experience bleeding within the first 3 months of taking hormonal contraceptive.
Sexually transmitted infection
Sexually transmitted infections (STI's) can cause bleeding, in particular Chlamydia which can also cause bleeding after sex.
The body produces a natural lubricant when aroused that prepares the vagina for penetrative sex. If the vagina is dry abrasion or injury can occur which may bleed. Post-coital bleeding can also be caused from infection, cervical polyps, endometrial polyps, cervical ectropian and cervical cancer so it is best to get it checked out.
When tissue that acts in the same way as the tissue in the uterus builds up and sheds (bleeds) elsewhere in the body.
Cervical cancer, uterine (womb) cancer and vaginal cancer can cause bleeding between periods.
Investigations for bleeding between periods
A cervical screening test
Treatment for bleeding between periods
Treatment will depend on the cause. For example, fibroids can be treated with medicine or surgery to remove them, hormonal imbalance can be treated with hormonal contraceptive. Gynaecological cancers can be treated different depending on their stage and grading.
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