Vaginal Bleeding (cont.)
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Vaginal bleeding facts
- What is normal vaginal bleeding?
- What is abnormal vaginal bleeding?
- What conditions cause abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly?
- What conditions cause vaginal bleeding after menopause or abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are not ovulating regularly?
- What causes abnormal vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?
- What causes vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse?
- What diagnostic tests are used to evaluate abnormal vaginal bleeding?
- How is irregular vaginal bleeding treated?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What causes abnormal vaginal bleeding during pregnancy?
Many women have some amount of vaginal bleeding during pregnancy. Some studies show that up to 30% of pregnant women will experience some degree of vaginal bleeding while they are pregnant. Vaginal bleeding during pregnancy is more common with twins and other multiple gestations than with singleton pregnancies (pregnancy with one fetus).
Sometimes women experience a very scant amount of bleeding in the first two weeks of pregnancy, usually around the time of the expected menstrual period. This slight bleeding is sometimes referred to as "implantation bleeding." Doctors do not know for certain what causes this bleeding, but it may occur as a result of the fertilized egg implanting in the uterine wall.
The amount of the bleeding, the stage of pregnancy, and any associated symptoms can all help determine the cause of vaginal bleeding in pregnancy. While vaginal bleeding in pregnancy does not always signify a problem with the pregnancy, women who experience bleeding during pregnancy should be evaluated by a doctor.
Causes of vaginal bleeding in pregnancy include miscarriage, an abnormal location of the placenta, ectopic pregnancy, cervical infection or polyp, and premature labor. Chronic medical conditions and medication use can also be related to vaginal bleeding during pregnancy.
What causes vaginal bleeding during or after sexual intercourse?
Vaginal bleeding may occur during or after sexual intercourse for a number of reasons including:
- Injuries to the vaginal wall or introitus (opening to the vagina) during intercourse
- Infections (for example, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, yeast infections) can be a cause of vaginal bleeding after intercourse.
- Lowered estrogen levels in peri-menopausal or postmenopausal women may cause the lining of the vagina to become thinned and easily inflamed or infected, and these changes can be associated with vaginal bleeding after intercourse.
- Anatomical lesions, such as tumors or polyps on the cervix or vaginal wall may lead to vaginal bleeding during or after intercourse.
Women who experience vaginal bleeding during or following sexual intercourse should always visit their doctor to determine the cause of the bleeding.
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