What is Metrorrhagia?
The definition of Metrorrhagia is uterine bleeding that happens at irregular intervals (between periods). It can also be bleeding that is not associated with menstruation. For example, non-menstrual cycle-related bleeding can be caused by fibroids and polyps or endometriosis.
Most people will recognize it as “spotting,” and it’s one of the more common kinds of menstrual cycle disorders. You might also see it called, “intermenstrual bleeding.”
Most Common Cause of Bleeding Between Periods
The first reason you may experience spotting between periods is because of changing hormone levels, namely estrogen and progesterone. The most common reason for this is a change in birth control methods (IUD, birth control pills, etc).
The second reason is that you may be in perimenopause. More details here:
Metrorrhagia: Very Common During Perimenopause
This bleeding between periods is most common in teenagers and in Perimenopausal women. For both these groups of people, the reproductive hormones (estrogen and progesterone) are fluctuating wildly. This can cause periods to be very irregular in many different ways.
What is a Normal Menstrual Cycle?
The average cycle length is 28 days. This is measured from the first day of menstruation one month to the first day of bleeding next month. Most people menstruate for 2-7 days and then don’t experience any sort of bleeding mid-cycle.
If pregnancy occurs, then the uterine lining is required for implantation and bleeding will not happen. A missed period is usually the first hint that someone might be pregnant.
Signs and Symptoms of Metrorrhagia
The main symptom for Metrorrhagia is light, or heavy bleeding between regular periods. There may, or may not be cramps associated with this bleeding.
It’s commonly known as spotting between periods if it’s light. If it’s heavy, most people would think they are having their period at the wrong time in their cycle.
If your Metrorrhagia is caused by an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage, it will likely be accompanied by severe cramps.
More Information about Bleeding Between Periods
What Causes Metrorrhagia?
There are many possible reasons why you may be experiencing abnormal bleeding. Please check with your doctor for a proper diagnose, and to learn more about the treatment options available to you.
This can be related to birth control pills, or an irregularity in the amount being produced by the body.
Another cause of irregular periods is taking birth control pills not according to your doctor’s instructions. Be sure to follow their directions precisely. Take the prescribed number of days of pills, and then skip the correct number of days.
Fibroids and polyps are (usually) non-cancerous growths that may cause heavy and/or abnormal bleeding.
Irregular bleeding can also be a sign of cancer, so make sure to visit your doctor to rule out this serious condition.
This is a condition where uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. For example, in the Fallopian tubes. It can cause irregular bleeding.
Find out more here: Endometriosis Symptoms and Treatment.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
Another cause of Metrorrhagia is PCOS. This condition can cause very irregular periods, including spotting. You may also have acne, fertility problems and gain weight easily.
A miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy (growing in the Fallopian tubes) can cause abnormal bleeding. If you experience abnormal bleeding, and have been having unprotected sex, please check with your doctor.
Bleeding caused by ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage may be accompanied by severe cramps and the bleeding may be quite heavy.
Some people experience some spotting when the fertilized egg implants into their uterus. Besides implantation bleeding, it’s also commonly known as breakthrough bleeding. The timing of it will be around ovulation, or a few days after so will fall mid-cycle. It may also be accompanied by some mild cramping.
These devices can cause irregular bleeding, so if you’re using one, please let your doctor know.
Blood Clotting Disorders and Blood Thinners
Normally, blood clots within a few seconds. However, if you have a clotting disorder, or are taking blood thinners for some reason, you may bleed more than normal.
Sometimes penetration can injure the cervix, or vagina and cause some spotting.
If you’ve had unprotected sex and then use some sort of emergency contraception, you may experience bleeding mid-cycle. This applies to both the morning after pill and an IUD.
Many people experience bleeding after an abortion. Small amounts is quite normal, but if it’s heavy enough to require a pad (as opposed to pantyliner), please see your doctor.
Some cancers of the reproductive system can cause abnormal bleeding. This is why it’s so important to see your doctor about bleeding between periods.
Some STI’s, genital warts, or a yeast infection can cause irregular vaginal bleeding.
Blood Clotting Disorder
People with a blood clotting disorder may find that they bleed abnormally throughout their cycle. When they do have their period, it may be heavier this normal. This often happens because their blood doesn’t clot as quickly as other people.
In addition, people on blood thinners may experience Metrorrhagia for the same reason.
Other Reasons for Spotting Between Periods
There are a few other things that can cause spotting between periods, but these things are relatively rare compared to the others on this list.
- Weight loss or gain
- Thyroid disorder
My Period is Irregular: Should I See a Doctor?
If you have any period irregularity, it’s important to see your doctor. This could include a very heavy period, bleeding between periods, or skipped periods.
There are treatment options available, as well as some more serious conditions, including cancer that should be ruled out.
In addition, there are medical treatments to solve many of the common causes of Metrorrhagia. You don’t have to suffer unnecessarily!
Finally, if you have spotting, or bleeding between periods along with fatigue, pain, dizziness and fever, please see a doctor immediately.
What about Irregular Bleeding During Perimenopause?
Perimenopause is the number of years before your periods officially cease. It’s characterized by fluctuating hormones, which can cause all kinds of wacky things to happen! Some of the most common perimenopausal symptoms include the following:
- Weight gain
- Hot flashes
- Trouble sleeping
- Depression and anxiety
Periods can also become very irregular as progesterone levels begin to drop. One thing can happen is that you may spot between periods.
Another cause of spotting between periods during perimenopause is one of the most common treatments for the symptoms of perimenopause: Hormone Replacement Therapy. It may be the case that you don’t have the proper dosage yet—the key is to use the lowest one possible.
Should you see your doctor if you’re experiencing Metrorrhagia during perimenopause? Yes. Bleeding between periods is not a normal thing that should be happening, even during perimenopause.
What About Bleeding After Menopause?
You’ve officially entered into menopause when you haven’t had a period for more than one year. For example, if you’ve not had a period for 6 months, but have one, you’d reset the clock. That means you’d need to go another year, instead of just 6 months to be considered to be menopausal.
If you experience any sort of bleeding post-menopause, you may have a serious problem of some kind. Please see your doctor immediately.
Keeping Track of your Period
If you’re going to see your doctor about an irregular period, it’s important to track it. Write down when you start your period, and how heavy your flow is. Note when it ends. If you spot between periods, write that down too. You could also note any particularly heavy cramping.
We recommend using a phone app to make it simple.
That said, don’t wait to see your doctor until you’re able to track your menstrual cycle. Just go now, even if you are bleeding at the time.
Learn More About Metrorrhagia
Treatment for Metrorrhagia
There are various treatments used to deal with irregular bleeding, or spotting between periods. The treatment will depend largely on the underlying cause of it.
Often, the first thing your doctor will usually assess is whether the abnormal bleeding is related to a pregnancy, or not. If not, they’ll try to determine if it’s related to your menstrual cycle, or not.
If the problem is a polyp, fibroid or endometriosis, surgery may be recommended.
If hormonal, birth control may be prescribed in order to regulate them a bit better.
Are you taking birth control pills already? Your doctor may check to make sure you’re taking them correctly.
Perhaps it’s related to an IUD? In this case, it will be removed, or adjusted.
If cancer, your doctor may suggest radiation, surgery or chemotherapy.
If you’re using hormone replacement therapy before menopause, your doctor may adjust your dosage. Or, if you’re not, they may suggest starting HRT.
There really is not one single solution to deal with Metrorrhagia because the treatment depends so strongly on the cause of it. Please see your doctor for the best option for you.
After seeing your doctor, you may also wish to try out some natural treatments for irregular periods.
Are there any Home Remedies for Irregular Periods?
There are a few supplements and other home remedies that you could try to help regulate your menstrual cycle. You can learn more about that here:
General health practices such as managing stress, maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, eating healthy food and drinking enough water can go a long way towards preventing all sorts of health problems, including irregular periods.
However, there are some very serious medical conditions that can cause Metrorrhagia so we strongly recommend checking in with your doctor before going the self-treatment route. Untreated infections, cancer, etc. can have some very serious health effects, including death.
What is the Medical Definition of Metrorrhagia?
According to medicinenet.com, the medical definition of Metrorrhagia is as follows:
“Uterine bleeding at irregular intervals, particularly between the expected menstrual periods.
Metrorrhagia may be a sign of an underlying disorder, such as hormone imbalance, endometriosis, uterine fibroids or, less commonly, cancer of the uterus.
Metrorrhagia may cause significant anemia.”
Metrorrhagia Risk Factors: What are They?
So you want to know the risk factors for irregular bleeding? Here are a few of them:
- Improper use of hormonal birth control
- Family history
- Lack of treatment for infection or inflammation of the uterus, vagina or cervix
- In perimenopause
- Some medicines, especially blood thinners which can cause easy bleeding
- Weight gain or loss
How to Handle Metrorrhagia
If you’re experiencing spotting, or abnormal bleeding, there are a few things you can do to handle this.
See your Doctor
The first thing you’ll want to do is check in with your doctor. There are treatment options available, and also some serious conditions (including cancer) that should be ruled out.
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Use Cloth Panty Liners
Besides that, consider making the switch to resuable panty liners, instead of disposables. They’re made from cloth, bamboo, charcoal and other biodegradable materials. If you’re using them for the majority of the month, they have a number of advantages:
- Cheaper over the medium to long-term than disposables.
- Better for your health because some brands of disposable pantyliners contain trace amounts of toxic chemicals.
- Eco-friendly. Stop throwing plastic waste away if possible.
For some of our favourite options for cloth pantyliners, check out our comparison chart below:
Oh yeah, reusable pantyliners are also great for vaginal discharge!
Consider Period Panties
The next option you might want to consider for Metrorrhagia are period panties. They’re way more than just regular panties because they have a leakproof layer in them. If you have extremely light spotting, this may be enough for you.
However, there are some menstrual underwear (these ones from Modibodi for example) that contain padding as well. They can absorb up to 10 ml, which is the same as a jumbo pad. If your bleeding is a bit heavier than spotting, they may make a nice choice for you.
You can check out Modibodi Leakproof Period Underwear over at their website:
Learn more about Modibodi Leakproof Period Panties
My Menstrual Flow is Just Really Heavy (Mennorrhagia)
Do you have a heavy period, but not an irregular one?
The average person loses around 30 ml of blood during a cycle. However, there are some people who lose more than 80 ml. A quick test is if you have to change a jumbo tampon or pad every 1-2 hours, multiple times in a row.
This condition is officially classified as Mennorrhagia. You can learn more about it here:
Be aware that there are many causes of very heavy bleeding, and the treatment depends strongly on this. See your doctor for the best advice for your specific situation.
Abnormal, as well as Heavy Bleeding (Menometrorrhagia)
Here’s a question for you! What does Metrorrhagia and Menorrhagia equal? It’s irregular, as well as heavy periods, and is called Menometrorrhagia.
Metrorrhagia means just abnormal bleeding, which may not be related to the menstrual cycle at all.
However, many people not only have irregular periods, but very heavy ones as well. This is called Menometrorrhagia. You can learn more about it here:
I have No Periods Now, or I’ve Never Gotten my Period
Have you never gotten your period, but are older than 15? You’re considered to have Primary Amenorrhea. It’s recommended that you visit your doctor to find out the reason for this.
Or, maybe you’ve started menstruating, but it’s now stopped? You should check with your doctor if you’ve missed three periods in a row. This is called Secondary Amenorrhea.
There are various reasons for this, as well as a number of treatment options which depend on the underlying cause.
You can learn more about this menstrual disorder here:
My Period is Lighter Than Normal
Some people suddenly start having lighter periods than normal. Is this okay? Or, is it not. What are some of the possible causes and treatments. You can learn more here:
I Have Infrequent Periods
If you find yourself having very few periods in a year, then you may have what’s known as Oligomenorrhea. These people generally only get 6-8 periods in a year.
There are various causes, and the treatment option depends on this. Check with your doctor, or learn more about Oligomenorrhea here, including whether or not you can get pregnant.
Metrorrhagia: Have your Say!
Do you have Metrorrhagia? How did you deal with it?
Leave a comment below and let us know your thoughts.
Reference: Baby Med.