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Abnormal bleeding

Vaginal bleeding between periods

Bleeding during a regular menstrual period should last between 2 and 5 days. Bleeding for longer or less than this time (having a very short or long menstrual cycle) constitutes abnormal bleeding.

Excessively light or very heavy periods (menorrhagia), absence of a period (amenorrhea) or bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia) also falls under the category of abnormal bleeding.

There are several different conditions that have abnormal bleeding as a symptom, including endometriosis, irregular hormone levels (oestrogen, progesterone, insulin, or thyroid hormones), contraceptive methods, PCOS, cysts, fibroids, pregnancy, miscarriage, or functional uterine problems.

Should I see a doctor?

You should make an appointment to see one of our doctors if you have any of the following symptoms:

Unusually short or long menstrual cycle (bleeding every three weeks or less, or less than every five weeks).

Excessively heavy menses or severe pain with your period (having to change your pads or tampons every hour, or being unable to contain your flow with pads).

What to do next

If you are not sure whether your periods are regular, it can be helpful to use a period tracker or to keep notes in your calendar to record the first day of your bleed each month, the length of your bleeds, and any symptoms of pain, water retention, swollen or sore breasts, or emotional symptoms.

Call us to make an appointment.

  • 02073231023Harley St Area


What constitutes a heavy menstrual bleed?

If you are bleeding for longer than 7 days, soaking more than one pad or tampon every hour for several hours, needing to double up on pads to deal with your flow, or experiencing large blood clots, you are likely having heavy bleeding (also called menorrhagia).

What are the causes of menorrhagia (heavy bleeding)?

Many conditions and diseases can cause heavy bleeding, so it is best to get examined by a doctor who can give you a proper diagnosis. Things like hormone imbalances, irregular ovulation, bleeding disorders, fibroids, polyps, endometriosis, and cancer all can present with heavy bleeding.

Why is it important to have my heavy periods treated?

Heavy bleeding can be a sign of an underlying serious condition, so it is best to get checked out by a doctor if you notice that you are bleeding more than usual, or if your bleeding is interfering with your ability to go about your normal activities. Extreme loss of blood can also cause anaemia, which can in turn lead to other symptoms.


Please note that Walk-in Clinic is a private medical centre and not an NHS service.
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