Abnormal menstrual bleeding with no apparent cause; has this happened to anyone else? (Not for the squeamish, sorry!)
June 26, 2008 5:52 AM   Subscribe

I'd really appreciate any thoughts. My period is usually pretty regular - every 26-32 days for years, (though three months ago my cycle was 37 days long). Last month it came and went as normal (5 days long) but then, about three days later, I noticed more kind-of watery blood. Then, in the night, I coughed and some very bright, red, new-looking blood dripped out for about an hour. There was no pain and it wasn't excessive (didn't fill a pad), but kinda scary.

This lasted in a more watery form for another 4 days. I went to the doctor and she did some STD and pap smears - normal. I got a blood pregnancy test about a week and a half later, (just to rule that out) and there were no hcg levels. My doctor set me up for an ultrasound. This also came back normal.

I can't seem to find anything on google that fits these symptoms, yet that bright blood seemed so weird. It wasn't just like a long period. I understand that diagnosing polyps requires another test. Has anyone experienced anything like this? I just want to make sure I'm covering the bases as I am leaving the country for a while in September. I am Canadian and (gratefully) covered by medicare here.

I'm 32, and in good shape/health, no drugs, no medication other than a vitamin supplement I've taken for a long time. Some stress in my life but not too excessive.
posted by anonymous to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Are you positive the blood isn't in your urine? (I ask because if it's watery, and it shows up when you cough, I've had those symptoms when I had a UTI that had no other symptoms).
posted by dpx.mfx at 5:59 AM on June 26, 2008

Seconding possible UTI or kidney issue. I have had this before a kidney stone started to pass. Might want to rule out urinary issues.
posted by pearlybob at 6:10 AM on June 26, 2008

Nthing the possible in-your-pee theory. Also, you said that you've had an ultrasound, but did it completely for sure rule out an ovarian cyst? These run in my family, and evidently excessive bleeding is one of the signs of a rupture (it is also invariably coupled with excruciating pain, however). Also, endometriosis is a possibility (but then this all-of-a-suddenness is strange). I think the only way it can be diagnosed is through a laproscopic examination, so discuss that with your doctor as well.

It also could just be one of those things. Ovaries are weird, mysterious, and often non-compliant objects. But kudos to you for going to see your doctor. A lot of people don't.
posted by phunniemee at 6:15 AM on June 26, 2008

I'm not a doctor, but I am a woman, and to me, having your period every 26-32 days (and one recently at 37 days) isn't at all what I would call "pretty regular". At 18 it wouldn't be too weird but at 32 it actually sounds pretty damn irregular to me. So just based on what you've said, I wouldn't be that surprised that you had this weird periodus interruptus mid-cycle.

It sounds like your doc has been doing some diagnostics but beyond that I don't think I'd do much worrying about remote possibilities. I definitely would find that period irregularity very annoying though, but if you're cool with it then more power to ya.
posted by loiseau at 6:23 AM on June 26, 2008

Heh. It'd be nice if I were as regular as 26-32 days. :)

Had you had intercourse recently? Totally anecdotal, but a friend of mine had a benign uterine cyst that would sometimes bleed after vigorous sex.
posted by GardenGal at 6:27 AM on June 26, 2008

Given you've been pretty comprehensively checked out, and assuming it doesn't persist more than a couple of months, I would write it off as one of those system reboots that happens to everyone occasionally. My cycle, otherwise like clockwork, doesn't like time zone changes, DST start/stop, or other sudden changes in sunlight exposure or the far extremes of daylight hours. You might be having a little summer long-day hormonal fluctuation.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:30 AM on June 26, 2008

Oh mercy, I had the same thing happen to me. I was 28 when it started and it lasted on and off for several years. I would have *bright* red non-period looking blood for a couple of days a couple of times a month.

When it began, I went to the gyno and at first they didn't want to see me because I wasn't pregnant. When I insisted, they examined me exactly as you report and concluded it was "stress." I knew my body and I knew it was weird. I insisted they check further and they gave me a uterine biopsy (don't ever to this, btw; they give you and Advil, breach the cervix, and snip) to check for uterine cancer, which was negative.

I was traumatized by the uterine biopsy and didn't investigate further. After intermittent episodes over about five years, it ceased. I have had zero reproductive-system issues since then (though I have never tried to become pregnant or anything).

I, too, searched and inquired fruitlessly for the cause of the bright red non-period blood, and never found a satisfactory explanation (I don't believe it was "stress" - that seems ridiculous, and I KNOW MY OWN BODY). I do not think it is blood from ovulation, either. However, I haven't tried to reproduce so if this is in your plans, I would continue pushing to find the answer. The problem with bleeding from the vagina is that every single disease state - endometriosis, etc. - has the symptom of vaginal bleeding. I eventually came to accept that it wasn't hurting me and the cause was undetectable, but I can understand and support a more thorough approach.

Good luck, and I know how you feel - hang in there.
posted by Punctual at 7:29 AM on June 26, 2008

Hi-- I had a fibroid that tapped into a significant blood vessel (rather than simply being sourced via the endrometirum) which created these symptoms, only with much higher blood volume than you describe. IANAD, but my experience makes me wonder whether you could have a fibroid that has breached a lesser blood vessel. Perhaps your symptoms start/stop depending on clotting. Uterine Fibroid Embolization is one treatment regime for fibroids like mine.
posted by carmicha at 8:39 AM on June 26, 2008

Cervical polyp? I had similar bright-red bleeding during my last pregnancy. Naturally we were terrified, but it turned out to be a polyp that the OB snipped right off, no problem.
posted by libraryhead at 9:17 AM on June 26, 2008

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