Okay girl, if you’ve had your period for a while now, you’re likely a master of your own flow and totally fluent in your body’s patterns and grooves. So just when you think you know exactly what to expect at that time of the month, you notice spotting but no period or blood when it ISN’T at the time your period is due. *Major head tilt moment.* Listen up sis, we’re here to discuss what this kind of irregular bleeding can mean and when to check in with your GP.
So, what exactly is irregular bleeding?
As we all know, a regular period occurs on average every 28 – 32 days and lasts around 4-7 days. Your monthly period pattern and flow can vary based on your age, genetics, stress levels, diet, exercise and other such lifestyle factors. So when bleeding, spotting or brown discharge occurs outside of your period, it’s totes normal that you’re left feeling majorly confused! While there’s no absolute way of knowing exactly what it is, there are a number of different causes and signs to help you and your GP work it out.
Okay, so what actually causes irregular bleeding?
From pregnancy, to infections, to changes in hormones, let’s take a look at all the different things that can cause irregular bleeding:
- Contraception such as the pill, injection or intrauterine device (IUD) – blood or spotting can be seen when you begin a new hormone contraceptive, or when you forget to take the pill; as this can affect your hormone levels. This is also known as ‘breakthrough bleeding’.
- Changes to your hormone levels – it’s normal to see spotting when you ovulate, which is when your body releases an egg for fertilisation, which is 10 – 14 days (on average) before your monthly flow starts. Hormonal imbalances can also be brought on by rises in stress levels, or dietary changes.
- Irregular period – this can be the case if you’re young and have just started getting your period, or if you’re much older and going through menopause.
- Pregnancy – if you’re sexually active and see light bleeding (like pink or brown spots) in your undies, this could be a sign of ‘implantation bleeding’. It usually takes place 10 – 14 days after conception, or around the time of your missed period.
- Miscarriage – heavy bleeding or clotting can be a sign of miscarriage. If you experience this level of bleeding, it’s important to visit your GP immediately.
- Underlying health issues – like polycystic ovary syndrome, endometriosis or thyroid disorders.
- Fibroids or polyps (growths) inside the uterus
- Infection, injury or trauma to the vagina or uterus
- Some types of medications (like anticoagulants or anti-epilepsy)
- Cancer in the lining of the uterus, cervix or vagina – rare, but possible.
How can I treat irregular bleeding?
This totally depends on the cause and frequency of the bleeding, sis! If it’s just a red discharge but no period, throw on a Libra Protect Active Liner to keep your undies fresh, take note of your symptoms, and keep a close eye on your body for any further changes. If you experience anything more than that, we’d recommend a visit to your GP.
Alright, so when should I be concerned?
Girlfriend, this is an important one. If irregular bleeding happens more than twice, is heavy, clotting, or continues for a while, head straight to your GP! Be sure to advise on all of your symptoms; like how often you’ve experienced blood spots or heavy bleeding, if you’re experiencing any pain, the colour of the blood, the consistency, and how long you’ve been experiencing the bleeding. They’ll be able to run tests such as a cervical smear, pregnancy test, blood test or ultrasound, to determine the cause and best course of action. If you’re ever worried, it’s super important to book in a chat with your GP ASAP. When it comes to your body, don’t ever leave it to chance.
Anything else? Asaleo Care makes no warranties or representations regarding the completeness or accuracy of the information. This information should be used only as a guide and should not be relied upon as a substitute for professional, medical or other health professional advice.