Why Am I Bleeding Between Periods?

What causes bleeding between periods?

If there is one good thing about your period, it’s the day it’s gone. Whew! Now you’ve got a couple weeks of freedom! You go about your merry way, wearing your favorite white skirt in the summer and then…what the? Bleeding between periods?

It’s happened to the best of us, girlfriend, and we know—it’s the worst. And of course, it would fall on the day you’re wearing white or you forgot to wear your proof® underwear.

Why Am I Bleeding In The Middle Of My Cycle?

Your first thought (after dang it!) is probably why is this happening to me? Well, there are several reasons this obnoxious flow is ruining your day. Some of them are a lot scarier than others, but keep in mind that there is no need to jump to conclusions. Bleeding between periods is not uncommon. If you’re concerned, please call your doctor. If it happens every month, then you really should see someone.

Here are a few common ones:

  • Ovulation—yes, ovulation can sometimes cause bleeding between periods. Good news is, if you’re hoping to get pregnant, you know just what to do. If you aren’t hoping for a baby in nine months, then keep an eye on it and talk to your doctor if you’re worried.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)—PCOS affects around five million women in the United States. What is it? It’s a hormonal disorder among women of child bearing age, causing them to have infrequent or extra long periods. Usually, this means you have fewer periods a year (say, every 35 days instead of every 28), but for some women it means bleeding at random times during your cycle.

  • The pill—bleeding between periods when you’re on the pill is most common right after you start or if you’ve switched to a new one. But it can happen to anyone on the pill. Guess what? This can also happen if you miss a day or two (oops!).

  • Other medication— there are some medications that could cause light bleeding between periods. If this happens after you’ve started taking a new medication, call your doctor or pharmacist as soon as you can.

  • An IUD—just like the pill, you are likely to experience random bleeding between periods as your body adjusts. Don’t panic, but if the bleeding is excessive or lasts for a few days, call your doc. Also—some women have experienced bleeding after having sex with an IUD.

  • Infection—this could be in any of your pelvic organs (vagina, uterus, fallopian tubes, cervix, or ovaries). If you suspect an infection, call your doctor right away—an antibiotic might be just the thing you need.

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)—this is an infection of your reproductive organs, and happens when bacteria is transmitted sexually. Some women won’t even notice symptoms until they try to get pregnant, so if you are and you start bleeding, talk to your doctor.

  • Urinary tract infection (UTI)—UTIs often come with bloody urine. It’s normal. Infections often cause inflammation, so when you urinate it could cause you to bleed a little bit.

  • Uterine fibroids—these are little growths that appear on your uterus, but don’t worry—they’re not cancerous. They can cause heavy bleeding between periods or make your periods last longer than a week. Often, they have similar symptoms to a UTI, too.

  • Cancer—that awful word. Yes, bleeding between your period could be caused by cancer. Don’t immediately jump to this conclusion, but if you are bleeding heavily for a long time, your doctor can order an ultrasound to check things out if you’re worried.

  • Extreme emotional stress—yes! Your emotions can affect your period! If you are under an abnormal amount of stress, your body will react. While this type of bleeding is usually quite light, it can range anywhere from a few spots to a heavy flow. Make sure you take care of yourself and get some rest!

When Should I Worry About Bleeding Between Periods?

It’s perfectly natural to be worried if you are bleeding between periods. It’s unexpected, it often hurts (hello cramping and lower back pain), and there are chances it can be serious. But don’t freak out the second you see a spot on your knickers—give your body time. With that in mind, however, there are some times when bleeding between periods is something to be concerned about.

Here’s what you need to watch out for:

  • Heavy bleeding—we’re talking filling a pad, a tampon, or your proof® underwear in an hour.

  • Feeling faint or dizzy—if you feel faint along with the bleeding, get a snack (preferably one with iron and/or protein in it), sit down, put your feet up, and call your doctor.

  • Fever—if you’re also running a fever, check with your doctor. This likely indicates some kind of infection, and hopefully it can be taken care of with an antibiotic.

  • Bleeding for a long time—if it lasts a day or two, that’s not unusual. But if it’s like having a second period (4–7 days), you might want your doctor to schedule an ultrasound.

  • Bleeding after sex—if you start bleeding after having sex with your partner or you are sexually assaulted, let your doctor know immediately. She might want to give you a pelvic exam to make sure everything is ok.

  • Postmenopausal bleeding—if you’ve already experienced menopause, and you start bleeding, contact your physician right away.

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What's The Difference Between Implantation Bleeding And Your Period?

It is not uncommon for women to spot a little bit after they have become pregnant. Actually, around one in four of your girlfriends will experience some spotting after they get pregnant. For most women, this bleeding does not indicate anything is wrong with their baby or their own body. But it’s always a good idea to alert your OBGYN if you’re bleeding when you’re pregnant.

If you don’t know whether or not you’re pregnant, it could seem like a period. There are a few key differences from your period, however, so watch for these three things:

  • When: implantation bleeding occurs a week to two weeks after conception. It would seem like a very early period.

  • Color: bleeding during your period is usually bright red. Implantation bleeding is light pink or brown.

  • Amount: if this is bleeding after conception, it will be just a few drops here and there, but not a heavy flow. Also—it should stop within a day or two.

How To Prevent Bleeding Between Periods

Obviously, in some cases there is no way to prevent bleeding between periods. Usually this accompanies a more serious diagnosis, but we’ll take the optimistic glass half-full of Diet Coke side of life and give you a few tips for preventing it:

  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle—ok, doesn’t this seem so obvious? But really—if you are maintaining an unhealthy weight, you are more likely to have abnormal periods. So, what is a healthy lifestyle? Eat whole foods, drink lots of water, exercise a few times a week, and get enough rest (at least 8 hours a night. You might have to turn off Netflix early).

  • Take your pills responsibly—if you are on the pill, make sure you are taking it as directed. One pro tip—take it at the same time every day. Set an alarm in your phone, take it right before bed, or right after you shower in the morning. It will help reduce any hormonal imbalance that might come from taking doses too close together or too far apart.

  • Exercise moderately—it’s not usually a good idea to workout like a psycho one day and then do nothing for a few weeks. Keep things consistent. It’s perfectly fine (and good!) to push yourself, but make sure you’re consistent and careful.

  • Manage your stress—we know this seems easier said than done. But guess what: practicing good self-care can help reduce bleeding between periods and help make your periods less awful.

Watch Out For Yourself, Girlfriend

Here at proof®, we care about you and your health. We believe that your period is a natural thing that makes you a glorious woman! So, don’t panic about bleeding, and just do what you need to do to take care of yourself. And remember—if you ever feel concern, trust that instinct. You know yourself and your lady parts better than anyone. Call your doctor and give yourself the peace of mind that you are ok.

Keep your chin up—you got this!

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