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When Bleeding Between Periods Occurs

When to See Your Doctor for Bleeding or Spotting Between Periods


Updated May 29, 2014

You should expect to give your full medical history when you visit the doctor for diagnosis of bleeding or spotting between periods. Also expect to have a pelvic exam, including a Pap smear if you haven't had one recently. If you've kept a menstrual cycle calendar, you'll be ready to answer your doctors questions. These questions may include:
  • How long have you experienced bleeding between periods?
  • Does it happen every month or is this the first time?
  • What day during your menstrual cycle does the bleeding begin?
  • How long does it last?
  • Do you experience menstrual cramps when bleeding between periods occurs?
  • Does anything make bleeding worse?
  • Does anything make it better?
  • Is bleeding worse with increased physical activity?
  • Are you experiencing an increase in stress?
  • Do you have any other symptoms such as pelvic pain, increased bruising, difficulty swallowing, pain or burning during urination?
  • Is there blood in your bowel movements or urine?

It's also important to advise your physician if you are pregnant or have had a recent miscarriage or abortion. If you have had a D&C, your physician should know this as well.

Remember to inform your physician about any prescription or over-the-counter medications (including herbal supplements) that you are taking.

Your physician will also ask you how old your were when you started having periods, if you are sexually active, and whether you have experienced bleeding between periods in the past. If you have experienced any injuries, or had medical or surgical treatments, this is also important to tell your physician.

If you are currently using oral contraceptives your physician should be aware of this: bleeding between periods can sometimes be caused by something as simple as not taking birth control pills at the exact same time each day.

The management of uterine bleeding depends, to a large extent, on your answers to your physician's questions, as well as the findings of your pelvic exam. Based on the initial evaluation there may be additional tests and/or treatment.

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MedlinePlus. Vaginal Bleeding Between Periods Accessed 07/14/09.

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