Health & Fitness

Irregular bleeding is never okay, but here's when you should actually start to worry

The causes of spotting between your menses could be the result of simple contraceptive issues or more sinister reasons such as cancer
 

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Any kind of bleeding is scary but when you notice blood stains on your knickers when you're not on your period, it's perfectly understandable to be concerned. This could happen due to a variety of reasons, here are five of them.

You're On The Pill

When you start taking oral contraceptives, it's normal to bleed when you're not having your period. This is known as 'breakthrough bleeding' and only happens in the first three or so months. Your body is adjusting to the medication and will settle after a few months so if you're still bleeding after that, go see your doctor. You might not have anything to worry about, it could just be because of the dose of your pill (a lower dose might cause you to bleed between periods) or the brand that you're using, in which case it's an issue that's easy enough to fix.

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You Have An STI

If an STI like chlamydia and gonorrhoea are left untreated, the infection could move into your reproductive organs and one of the symptoms of this is vaginal bleeding. Your fertility could also be infected if you leave an STI untreated so make sure you get tested regularly if you're sexually active. And always practice safe sex.

It's Pregnancy-Related

Spotting is possible during various stages of pregnancy and the first time could be before you even know you're pregnant. When a fertilised egg implants itself into the uterus, you could spot a little – this is known as 'implantation bleeding' and should occur about a week after ovulation. And, if you have sex while you're pregnant, you could bleed too as the cervix gets very sensitive during pregnancy and could bleed when your husband's penis touches it. This is nothing to worry about so keep calm and carry on having sex. But if you're pregnant and bleeding unexpectedly, see your gynaecologist right away as you could be having a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.

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You Have Fibroids Or Polyps

It could be something going on in your uterus that's leading to irregular bleeding and the main culprits are abnormal growths. Fibroids are a possibility and another symptom of this is very painful periods. You could also have polyps in your uterus or cervix. Most fibroids and polyps aren't cancerous but it's best to confirm that they're benign. Your gynae will do an ultrasound to get a better picture of the problem.

It's An Early Sign Of A Gynaecological Cancer

This is less common but if you're spotting between periods, it could be an early sign of cervical, ovarian or endometrial cancer. Have pap smears regularly to be up-to-date on cervical cancer screening. And never delay seeing a doctor if you're bleeding at any time you're not meant to.

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