When to See a Doctor About Abnormal Bleeding

Regardless of the topic, defining normal can be nearly impossible, and so it is with vaginal bleeding as well. You may wonder if your experience merits an appointment with one of the expert providers at Advanced Women’s Healthcare. This post provides some insight into what is considered abnormal bleeding in a medical context, but if you have questions, we encourage you to come in for a visit. 

Definitely abnormal

Some instances of vaginal bleeding are definitely abnormal. For example, if you’re pregnant and you have vaginal bleeding, you should see your doctor right away. Similarly, if you’re post-menopausal and not taking hormone therapy and you experience vaginal bleeding, you should see your doctor. 

Numerous other instances of vaginal bleeding are unusual, but not necessarily abnormal. For example, if you’re post-menopausal and taking certain types of hormone therapy, you may have some vaginal bleeding. 

Some cases of menstrual bleeding are also considered abnormal. For example, if you soak through a pad or tampon every hour for several hours, you’re experiencing abnormally heavy bleeding and should talk to your doctor. 

If you pass blood clots larger than a quarter, you should schedule an appointment to discuss abnormal bleeding with your doctor. If your period disrupts your normal activities, you may have abnormal bleeding. 

Potential causes

There are many reasons you might have abnormal bleeding, and some are easier to treat than others. Sometimes medications, such as birth control pills, can cause abnormal bleeding, or devices, like an IUD, may bring about bleeding. 

Uterine fibroids, which are quite common, can cause bleeding, and several hormonal issues may make you bleed when you aren’t expecting it or more than normal. PCOS, or polycystic ovarian syndrome, can cause abnormal bleeding, and endometriosis is often associated with heavy, painful periods. 


Many women who have abnormal bleeding don’t even realize that it’s abnormal and think that they just have to live with the discomfort and limitations of heavy bleeding. However, depending on the cause of your abnormal bleeding, there may well be effective treatments that will make your life more comfortable. 

Before making a treatment suggestion, your doctor talks to you about your symptoms, your medical history, and your lifestyle. They also perform an exam and may order diagnostic tests. It’s important to understand the underlying cause of your abnormal bleeding before embarking on a treatment plan, because the most effective treatment for a hormonal issue is much different from the best treatment for endometriosis. 

If you’d like to discuss your particular situation, or if you have questions about what is or isn’t normal, schedule an appointment at Advanced Women’s Healthcare today. We’re happy to help you find answers! 

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