Bleeding Between Periods

Bleeding Between Periods

Polymenorrhea is a type of abnormal uterine bleeding. Polymenorrhea occurs when the menstrual cycle is less than 21 days long. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish polymenorrhea from metrohhagia; however, bleeding that occurs at regular intervals less than 21 days apart is usually polymenorrhea. Normal menstrual cycles are from 21 to 35 days long. Day 1 of the menstrual cycle occurs the first day you experience any amount of bleeding.

Intermenstrual bleeding is bleeding from the cervix, vagina, or perineum that is acute and occurs between expected periods.


Nirupama K De Silva, MD, Robert K Zurawin, MD, Definition and evaluation of abnormal uterine bleeding in adolescents, Up To Date (online). Accessed: 10/29/06.

Also Known As:

Acute bleeding, bleeding between periods, irregular menstruation, midcycle bleeding, vaginal bleeding between periods

Common Misspellings:

intramenstrual bleeding,


Intermenstrual bleeding is one way that abnormal uterine bleeding or AUB can appear in adolescent girls and women.

What Can I Do for Myself for Bleeding Between Periods?

When bleeding occurs between periods bed rest is recommended if the bleeding is heavy. Because of the bleeding effect that may be caused by aspirin, it''s best to avoid aspirin when bleeding occurs between periods. You should record how often you must change pads or tampons. If you see that pads or tampons must be changed more often than every hour or two, call your health care provider.

What Causes Bleeding Between Periods?

Although the cause of irregular bleeding can vary according to individual health situations, some of the more common causes include:

  • Abortion
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Beginning or stopping oral contraceptives or estrogens
  • Low thyroid levels
  • Stress
  • IUDs occasionally cause slight spotting
  • Injury to the vagina from insertion of objects, from malignant cancers, or from vaginal infections
  • Certain drugs such as anticoagulants Vaginal dryness
  • GYN procedures such as CONE biopsy or cervical cauterization

Bleeding or spotting between periods can be a frightening experience. You never know when bleeding between periods may occur. Maybe your period was over last week and then you notice that you''re bleeding again. Maybe this isn''t the first month you''ve experienced bleeding or spotting between periods. Or it could be the first time you''ve had bleeding between periods. Whether it''s the first time you''ve experienced bleeding between periods, or just another month of spotting, bleeding between periods is a frustrating and stressful experience.

What Is Normal Menstruation?

Normal menstrual bleeding lasts about four to five days, and although it may seem like you are losing a lot more blood, the amount of blood lost during your period is only about two to eight tablespoons. While normal menstruation occurs on average every 28 days, anywhere from 21 to 35 days between periods is considered normal.

When Should You Worry About Menstrual Bleeding?

If you are post-menopausal or younger than 11 and bleeding you should consult your physician immediately. Also do so if you are experiencing vaginal bleeding between periods.

Try to determine where the bleeding is coming from:

  • Are you sure you are bleeding from your vagina?
  • Or is it your rectum? Is there blood in your urine?

What Causes Bleeding Between Periods?

Although the cause of irregular bleeding can vary according to individual health situations, some of the more common causes include:

  • Implantation Bleeding/Pregnancy
  • Miscarriage
  • Hormonal fluctuations
  • Starting, stopping, or missing oral contraceptives or estrogens
  • Low thyroid levels
  • Stress
  • IUDs occasionally cause slight spotting
  • Injury to the vagina from insertion of objects
  • Malignant cancers
  • Undiagnosed vaginal infections
  • Certain drugs, particularly anticoagulants Vaginal dryness
  • GYN procedures
  • Some women have spotting during ovulation, which is normal

Bed rest may be recommended if between period bleeding is heavy. Use your menstrual cycle calendar to record the number of tampons or pads you use. This information helps your doctor determine whether you are bleeding excessively. Unless your doctor specifically advises otherwise, never take aspirin while you are menstruating. Aspirin can cause bleeding to occur longer and heavier. Of course, you should inform your doctor about any bleeding or spotting between periods that you experience. 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.