- Your Bloody Vaginal Discharge May Also be Known as:
- Bleeding between periods
- Bleeding from vagina
- Bleeding from vulva
- Blood clots in underwear
- Blood coming out of vagina
- Blood from my vagina
- Blood from my vulva
- Blood in underwear
- Blood-stained vaginal discharge
Bloody Vaginal Discharge Symptoms
Vaginal discharge is a combination of cells and bodily fluids excreted through the vagina. This discharge is a normal biological phenomenon that all women experience. Vaginal discharge is usually a white or clear mucus-like secretion without a strong odor. However, sometimes the quantity and quality of vaginal discharge can change depending on different contexts and conditions.
Since the quantity and quality of vaginal discharge can vary so significantly in amount, color and consistency depending on the context, the most important thing a woman can do is pay attention to symptoms that stray from her normal. For example, discharge that appears abnormal may have an odor or vaginal discharge color you have never experienced.
In the case of bloody vaginal discharge, the fluid may look red but sometimes it can also look brown. You may also experience:
Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes Overview
Causes of bloody normal discharge are often promptly diagnosed and treated. It is important to seek medical attention promptly from your physician when you notice bloody vaginal discharge symptoms that stray from your normal patterns.
Reproductive Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes
- Menstrual Cycle. Discharge that appears bloody can be the result of menstrual residue mixing with vaginal discharge. Often the amount of discharge your body produces increases at the end of your menstrual cycle, making this mixing more likely to occur. The discharge can often look brown or rusty.
- Pregnancy Complications. Bloody discharge that occurs during pregnancy (a time when you should NOT expect to be bleeding or having a period) can be a sign of serious pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or placental abruption (a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the lining of the uterus).
- Age-related. Similar to pregnancy, sometimes women experience bleeding that occurs during a time in life that is not expected such as during the early stages of puberty and final stages of a woman's reproductive years (menopause). This irregular bleeding can mix with normal discharge creating a bloody or brown appearance.
Cancerous Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes
- Cervical. The cervix is the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina. The cervix is susceptible to the sexually transmitted infection Human Papillomavirus (HPV) that can transform the cells of the cervix into cancer cells. Bloody or brown vaginal discharge can be a sign of cervical cancer.
- Uterine/Endometrial. The endometrium is the layer of cells that line the uterus. Women of menopausal age are at risk for the development of cancerous cells within this lining, called endometrial or uterine cancer. Blood-tinged discharge can be a sign of this type of cancer as well.
Infectious Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes
The female reproductive system is open to the environment via the vagina, making it particularly susceptible to infection by not only outside organisms but organisms already present within its walls. Irritation from such infectious causes can result in bleeding that mixes with discharge.
- Bacterial. Bacteria that normally inhabits the vagina can overgrow and cause infection that leads to abnormal vaginal discharge. Furthermore, many sexually transmitted infections due to bacteria such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause similar symptoms.
- Fungal. Yeast is a type of fungus normally present in the vagina under a delicate balance. When this balance is disrupted, yeast can also overgrow and cause infection that results in vaginal itching and abnormal discharge.
Other Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes
- Obstructive. Any object inserted into the vagina that can obstruct the flow of vaginal fluid may result in abnormal vaginal discharge that may appear bloody. For example, intrauterine devices (IUDs) can change the amount, quality and consistency of your vaginal discharge as well as menstrual cycle.
- Anatomical. Rarely, an abnormal anatomical opening between the vagina and the rectum or the vagina and the bladder (fistula) allows feces or urine to leak into the vagina resulting in what may appear to be brown discharge with a foul odor.
Top 5 Bloody Vaginal Discharge Causes
1.Normal Case of Spotting
Spotting is vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods. Many women experience spotting between periods and it is often nothing to worry about. Oral contraceptives (the pill) can cause spotting as a side effect, especially if they have a low estrogen dose, someone started on them recently or does not take them on the same time everyday. Additionally, hormone supplements that only contain estrogen (often used in menopause) can cause spotting as well.
You most likely have nothing to worry about. If you take the pill, try to take it at the same time every day. If the spotting becomes severe or is bothersome, you should speak with your primary care physician or OBGYN.
- Top Symptoms:
- vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge, bloody vaginal discharge, mild unexpected vaginal bleeding, vaginal bleeding, vaginal discharge
- Symptoms that always occur with normal case of spotting:
- vaginal bleeding or bloody discharge
- Symptoms that never occur with normal case of spotting:
- severe unexpected vaginal bleeding, vaginal pain, vaginal itch or burning, bleeding after sex, severe abdominal pain
- Wait and watch
2.Ovulation Pain (Mittelschmerz) or Midcycle Spotting
Mittelschmerz, also known as ovulation pain or mid-cycle pain, is abdominal pain that occurs around the time the egg is released from an ovary. Ovulation can sometimes cause some mild vaginal bleeding, spotting or blood-stained/brown discharge as well.
This can be treated at home and will pass on its own. If your pain becomes very severe or you have other symptoms like nausea or fever, you should contact your doctor.
- Top Symptoms:
- abdominal pain (stomach ache), last period approximately 2 weeks ago, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain
- Symptoms that always occur with ovulation pain (mittelschmerz) or midcycle spotting:
- last period approximately 2 weeks ago
Bloody Vaginal Discharge Checker
Take a quiz to find out why you’re having bloody vaginal discharge.Take a quiz
3.Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding as a Result of Iud Use
Intrauterine devices, known as IUDs, can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding or "spotting."
If the bleeding is mild, you do not need to consult with a physician. If the symptoms last longer than 3 months or become severe, speak with your physician or OB-GYN.
- Top Symptoms:
- bloody vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, heavy menstrual flow, yellow or green vaginal discharge
- Symptoms that never occur with abnormal vaginal bleeding as a result of iud use:
- unintentional weight loss, yellow or green vaginal discharge
- Wait and watch
The cervix is in the back of the vagina and is the connection to the uterus. It can be affected by bacteria and viruses in the vagina, some of which can lead to serious problems that need a doctor's help.
You should visit your primary care physician within the next 24 hours. There, your doctor should do a pap smear for diagnosis to start.
- Top Symptoms:
- vaginal discharge, vaginal bleeding, bloody vaginal discharge, pelvis pain, painful sex
- Primary care doctor
Bacterial vaginosis (BV) is an infection caused when too much of certain bacteria change the normal balance of bacteria in the vagina. BV is not a sexually transmitted infection and is not caused by poor hygiene (in fact, excessive washing of the vagina may increase the risk). Its symptoms are usually mild, consisting primarily of a white-gray vaginal discharge that has a fishy smell.
You should visit your primary care physician. If you have any symptoms of BV, a swab of the discharge will be tested to confirm the diagnosis, and antibiotic treatment will be started.
- Top Symptoms:
- vaginal itch or burning, vulvovaginal odor, bloody vaginal discharge, thick vaginal discharge, thin vaginal discharge
- Primary care doctor
Bloody Vaginal Discharge Treatments and Relief
If you notice blood-tinged vaginal discharge, make sure to take note of benign conditions that may be affecting the color of your discharge. Think about the timing of your last menstrual cycle or recent sexual activity.
However, if your bloody vaginal discharge symptoms are occurring outside of a normal pattern, make an appointment with your physician. Your physician may perform tests that include:
- Pelvic exam. Your physician will carefully inspect the outer genitals and use a device called a speculum to open the vagina and/or two fingers to examine the inner pelvic organs such as the cervix and uterus.
- Pap smear. During a pap smear, your physician will sample cells from the cervix and examine them for abnormalities that could be related to precancerous or cancerous conditions.
- Ultrasound of the uterus. An ultrasound uses sound waves that will allow your physician to look for abnormalities in the lining of the uterus.
- Tissue samples of the vagina and uterus. Your physician will look at these tissues under a microscope or with more advanced laboratory tools in order to assess different types of infections or cancerous cells.
After the results of this testing, depending on the diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe:
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics are available for many sexually transmitted infections and bacteria.
- Vaccination. Vaccination against HPV is available for women between the ages of 9 and 26. Your physician may suggest this as a preventive measure to decrease your risk of cervical cancer.
- Changes to your current contraceptive regimen. If contraceptive methods or other medications are contributing to your bloody vaginal discharge symptoms, your doctor may discuss stopping your current medications in favor of a new regimen.
- Surgery or radiation. If your bloody vaginal discharge symptoms are due to cancerous conditions, your doctor will suggest surgery or radiation therapy. For women with advanced cancers, chemotherapy is also an option.
If you experience bloody vaginal discharge that becomes vaginal bleeding accompanied by abdominal pain, cramping, fever or chills during any trimester of pregnancy, seek emergency medical attention immediately. These could be signs of serious pregnancy complications that require emergency care.
Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Bloody Vaginal Discharge
- Q.Has your vaginal discharge been getting better or worse?
- Q.Is your vaginal discharge constant or come-and-go?
- Q.How long has your vaginal discharge been going on?
- Q.How much discharge is coming out of your vagina?
If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our bloody vaginal discharge symptom checker.Take a quiz
Bloody Vaginal Discharge Symptom Checker Statistics
People who have experienced bloody vaginal discharge have also experienced:
- 24% Vaginal Bleeding
- 13% Abdominal Cramps (Stomach Cramps)
- 7% Vaginal Discharge
People who have experienced bloody vaginal discharge had symptoms persist for:
- 39% Less Than a Week
- 27% Less Than a Day
- 17% Over a Month
People who have experienced bloody vaginal discharge were most often matched with:
- 33% Normal Case of Spotting
- 8% Ovulation Pain (Mittelschmerz) or Midcycle Spotting
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