Q: Dr. please what’s the cause of blood coming out of a female vaginal as a discharge when she is not menstruating?
A: Hi dear, thanks for writing in.
My first question would be, ‘how do you know it’s not a period?’ Irregular periods may be hard to track.
A ‘regular’ menstrual cycle is supposedly one in which the cycle (the length of time from the 1st day of a menstrual period to the first day of the next menstrual period) is about 28 days but there is nothing abnormal about cycles that fall outside of this range. It could range from about 24 days to 34 days with ovulation happening at mid cycle. Indeed, in some women each period appears to have a different cycle. For young girls who have just started menstruating, skipped or irregular periods may occur.
What do people refer to as irregular periods? Well, if the time between each period changes, or the length of days of the period changes or indeed when the quantity of blood lost during each period changes, the period is termed irregular. What can cause these changes? They include:
- Changes in hormone levels, as is common in the puberty period or menopausal period.
- Excessive weight loss or excessive weight gain
- Problems with the thyroid (hyperthyroidism)
- Polycystic Ovary Disease (PCOD)
- Scarring from previous surgery in the uterus
- Pregnancy cannot be overlooked as a cause of irregular bleeding and has to be checked out.
- Breast-feeding mothers may also experience irregular periods as the hormones released may delay return of menstruation. Remember, however, that this is not an effective means of contraception.
- Cancer of the cervix or uterus.
- Sexually Transmitted infections
- Recent instrumentation like a Dilatation and Curettage (D and C)
- Injury to the vagina eg through rough sex
So, it’s always a good idea to keep a record of your periods: length of cycles, number of days the period lasts, presence of pain etc. If you keep a chart of this over time, you would be able to know what is normal for you.
Treatment of irregular periods depends on cause: fibroids, PCOD, hyperthyroidism all have to be treated. If irregularity is due to stress, learning coping mechanisms or relaxation techniques may help. Reduce weight or go easy on your exercise routine, if weight issues are a problem.
However, be sure to see your doctor if your period is consistently below 21 days or more than 35 days, if you menstruate for longer than one week, still believe that the bleeding is between periods or experience severe cramps.
For related topics, please click on https://chatwithdrketch.com/2014/06/27/daily-health-tips-why-do-i-have-scanty-periods/
Have a good evening, y’all 😀