360 Abnormal Bleeding from the Vagina
Heavy monthly bleeding, or bleeding
that lasts a long time
• Monthly bleeding is heavy if a pad or cloth is soaked
through in less than one hour.
• Monthly bleeding is long if it lasts for more than 8 days.
• Blood clots (soft, dark red, shiny lumps in the blood that
look like liver) are also a sign of heavy bleeding.
• Heavy bleeding that goes on for many weeks, months or
years can cause weak blood (anemia, see page 172).
• The hormones may be out of
balance so the ovary does not
release an egg. This is common for
women under 20 and women over
40 years of age (see page 47).
• An intra-uterine
may be making
more heavy (see
even if you did
not think you
(see pages 98
• If you have pain in the abdomen with
bleeding, you may have a pregnancy
outside the womb in the tube.
URGENT. Go to a
hospital right away
(see page 73).
• You may have a
problem with the
• You may have growths (fibroids or
polyps) or cancer in your womb
(see page 380).
changes in bleeding
IMPORTANT See a health worker trained to do pelvic exams if
you have heavy bleeding and:
• blood gushes from your vagina.
• monthly bleeding has been heavy and long for 3 months.
• you think you might be pregnant.
• you have severe pain with the bleeding.
Light monthly bleeding
Light bleeding each month is not a health problem.
• Some family planning methods—like injections,
implants, and the pill—can make you bleed less after
you have been using them for some time.
• Your ovaries may not have released an egg.
Where Women Have No Doctor 2012