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Chicago OBGYN explains potential causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be related to issues with the reproductive system, medical issues, or medications. If you experience abnormal bleeding, you want a team you can trust. With an office in Chicago, the OBGYN team at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates offers feminine health care to patients throughout Chicagoland. During your appointment, our Chicago OBGYN team explains causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding and helps you find a solution for your case.

The Chicago, IL OBGYN team at Northwestern Women’s Health Associates S. C. explains the causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding

Normal menstruation occurs every 21 to 35 days. This happens when the uterus lining sheds to start a new reproductive cycle. A normal period may last for a few days or for up to a week. Abnormal vaginal bleeding is defined as any bleeding that is not related to normal menstruation. This may include spotting between periods or even extremely heavy bleeding during periods in which a pad or tampon is soaked in one to two hours. Vaginal bleeding for a woman who has reached menopause is abnormal and should be cause for concern as well.

Possible causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding

If you are experiencing abnormal bleeding, consult your Northwestern OBGYN to discuss potential causes and to determine a treatment plan. Several factors may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. These may include:

  • Cancer or precancerous conditions – This includes cervical, endometrial, ovarian, or vaginal cancer. Endometrial hyperplasia may cause abnormal bleeding as well.
  • Endocrine system factors – Hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, polycystic ovary syndrome, or starting or stopping birth control medication can impact vaginal bleeding.
  • Fertility or reproductive factors – Changes in your reproductive system such as pregnancy, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, perimenopause, or vaginal atrophy are causes of abnormal bleeding.
  • Infections – Some STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, and cervicitis may cause bleeding.
  • Medications – Side effects of birth control, hormone therapy, or intrauterine devices include spotting between periods or abnormal bleeding as your body adjusts to the hormonal change.
  • Noncancerous growths – Cervical or uterine polyps or uterine fibroids can cause bleeding.
  • Trauma or sexual abuse can lead to damage or bleeding.

For patients who experience unexpected bleeding, it is important to consult with your doctor to determine the cause. For some patients, vaginal bleeding may be normal based on age or circumstances. During your appointment, your physician will discuss your medical history and current circumstances to determine the testing necessary to assess your situation.

Call : 312-440-9400 OR Request an Appointment

Certain circumstances may help you determine how quickly to contact your physician.

  • Patients who are pregnant should contact their Chicago OBGYN immediately if they notice vaginal bleeding.
  • Postmenopausal women who do not take hormone therapy and experience vaginal bleeding should contact a doctor.
  • Postmenopausal women who do use cyclic hormone therapy may experience vaginal bleeding that resembles a period. This is known as withdrawal bleeding. Patients who experience more bleeding than the anticipated withdrawal bleeding should consult a physician.
  • Postmenopausal women who take continuous hormone therapy may experience light bleeding for the first six months. Bleeding that lasts longer than six months or that is heavy may be abnormal.
  • Young girls who have not yet shown signs of puberty but are experiencing any vaginal bleeding should see a doctor.

Diagnosing abnormal bleeding

Abnormal vaginal bleeding can be related to issues with the reproductive system, medical issues, or medications.

When you consult with your Northwestern OBGYN, your physician will review your medical history, age, current symptoms, and health. This helps determine the necessary tests to diagnose the exact cause of your symptoms. It is crucial to properly diagnose the cause of your abnormal bleeding to ensure you receive the most appropriate treatment. Diagnostic tools may include:

  • Blood work to check for pregnancy. This also ensures your blood count is not too low if you have been bleeding heavily.
  • An ultrasound may show problems with the ovaries and uterus.
  • An endometrial biopsy removes a tiny piece of the uterine lining for laboratory testing.
  • Sonohystogram is an ultrasound, which fluid is inserted into the uterus
  • A hysteroscopy is performed by inserting a thin, lighted tube through the vagina to examine the cervix and uterus

Once your condition has been diagnosed, your OBGYN team can work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan. Let your Northwestern GYN know if you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. Contact our Chicago office today for an appointment with our experienced team. Call 312-440-9400.


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Making use of advanced technology and staying on the cutting edge of women’s healthcare, our team of experts is dedicated to providing every woman who visits our office with the highest level of sensitive, specialized care. At our office in Chicago, you can receive exceptional obstetrics and gynecology (OBGYN) services from any one of our highly skilled doctors, including Stanley Friedell, MD; Abbie Roth, MD; Regina Belmonte, MD; Sharon Wise, MD; Julianne Morton, MD; Whitney Dunn, MD; Aleena Lakhanpal, MD ; and Margaret Kistner, MD. With their combined expertise, this team of board-certified doctors at Northwestern Women's Health Associates makes it possible for you to receive efficient, personalized care from the preeminent women’s hospital in the Midwest.

Success Stories

  • 5 Star Review
    "Wonderful experience with Dr. Julianne Morton @ NW Women's Associates. I've recommended her to countless girlfriends. Being a first time mom, I went through many physical symptoms and emotions that accompany pregnancy. She is extremely thorough, patient, and has wonderful bedside manner. I felt confident going into delivery with Dr. Morton taking the lead with my delivery. Wonderful practice!"

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    "Dr. Morton is absolutely amazing. She cared for me throughout my first pregnancy and we found her to be kind and caring and straightforward - could not have asked for a better experience! Dr. Dunn ended up being on call during my delivery and she was great as well. I have always found the nurses and office staff to be friendly and on top of things - very happy with the practice!"

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    "I had to have a laproscopic hysterectomy done by Dr. Friedell and all went fabulously! They were very detailed in pre-op which made a lot of difference. I came out of surgery feeling great and post op I was back to work within two weeks. Everyone at the practice, at the hospital, at pre-op were incredible."

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    "Dr.Julianne Morton is amazing! I was recommended by a friend when I moved to the Chicago area and was looking for an OB-GYN. I have seen her for two years in Chicago for my yearly exam. She is beyond kind and great at what she does. Dr.Morton makes you feel very comfortable and is such an incredible doctor! I have recommended her to all of my friends as well who need a new gyno/OB-GYN."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "Dr. Morton is a really great doctor. She has an incredible bedside manner and makes you feel comfortable. She makes sure to ask if you have any questions and will happily answer all of them with you. Would highly recommend!"

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    "Dr. Friedell is amazing! He helped delivered my first baby and the whole process was super smooth and stress free. All the staff in the office are super friendly too. Highly recommend!"

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    "Dr Freidell is extremely knowledgeable, thorough and really cares about his patients. He is very good at getting to the root of the problem, especially with overlapping symptoms. He guided me through all my options and their implications. I will highly recommend him and his team."

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  • 5 Star Review
    "I love Dr. Belmonte. I have been going to her since 2006! She rocks!!! She is straight to the point, I love that about her. When I leave her office after seeing her I always feel great, like a just left a good friends house or something!"
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  • 5 Star Review

    "I can not tell you how wonderful my experiences have been. Dr. Sharon Wise is my doctor and she is fantastic. She is straightforward and honest about treatments and procedures. I enjoy her sense of humor, and I found her bedside manner when delivering my son to be excellent. "

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