Minimal to moderate vaginal bleeding

When reviewing the following guidelines, take into account how heavy your normal menstrual flow is. Abnormal vaginal bleeding varies depending on what is normal for a particular woman.

  • Severe bleeding: You are passing clots of blood and soaking through your usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours.
  • Moderate bleeding: You soak more than 1 pad or tampon in 3 hours.
  • Mild bleeding: You soak less than 1 pad or tampon in more than 3 hours.
  • Minimal bleeding: You have "spotting" or just a few drops of blood from the vagina.

Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs:

  • When you are not expecting your menstrual period.
  • When your menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than what is normal for you.
  • At a time of life when it is not expected, such as:
    • Before age 10.
    • During pregnancy.
    • After menopause.

Many women have bleeding that lasts longer than the usual length of their periods or bleeding between periods. This does not necessarily mean a serious condition is present. Bleeding between periods can have many causes, including:

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