Throughout life, a woman should pay close attention to the nature of her vaginal discharges . Do not procrastinate, but also do not panic, if some deviations from the usual routine are observed. To begin with, any changes in your period and discharges between periods should be discussed with your doctor to ensure it’s normal. Vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods usually causes great anxiety in women. But at the same time, this phenomenon is quite common and does not always indicate the presence of a serious health problem.
Let’s try to figure out what kind of discharges are normal and what to do if you detect spotting between periods, especially if you have uterine fibroids.
Is Spotting Between Periods a Cause For Concern?
Any woman has some light discharges between periods. Normally, they are light, white in color or transparent, and you do not need any additional measures to protect underwear, such as daily panty liners. If there are any changes in your body or reasons for concern, discharges usually change color and texture.
Typically, the duration of a menstrual cycle is from 21 to 35 days (on average, it’s 28 days). Menstrual bleeding usually lasts for 2-7 days. During this time, an average woman loses from 30 to 80 ml. of blood.
Bleeding is considered atypical if blood appears after the end of the last menstruation and before the onset of a new period.
Spotting Between Periods is a Frequent Clinical Manifestation of Uterine Fibroids
A woman can experience brown or dark in color discharges. They often contain coagulated blood. Fibroids contain blood vessels that sometimes can be damaged. The blood comes out of them either during a period or at some other time of the cycle. Therefore, there is a risk of bleeding both, during menstruation and between periods. This causes not only discomfort but also can negatively affect female health and lead to anemia in cases of heavy bleedings.
If you need to stop a bleeding caused by fibroids urgently, you should consult your doctor. Options include oral contraceptives prescribed in a specific dosage that is gradually reduced, IUD, and other methods.
It is important to understand that oral contraceptives can only temporize the uterine fibroid symptoms; it is not a cure.
Uterine Fibroids Accompanied by Heavy Bleedings Can be Treated with:
– Surgery (myomectomy, hysterectomy). Both of these options come with potentially high risks like any surgical procedure. Myomectomy does not remove all of the fibroids and additional procedures are often required. Hysterectomy results in the loss of the uterus and potential severe side effects like loss of self esteem (like a man being castrated), decreased libido, depression, and significant bone loss.
– Nonsurgical treatment -UFE (uterine fibroid embolization). This non-surgical, outpatient treatment method is a safer, cheaper, less invasive, and has a much shorter recovery time than the surgical options. It is a very effective treatment method with excellent results. UFE is performed by an experienced Interventional Radiologist (IR), not an OB/GYN. Therefore, before settling on a surgical approach one should consider a second opinion from an experienced IR like Dr. John Lipman of the Atlanta Fibroid Center.
– Endometrial ablation. This procedure can be performed in women that are not interested in future fertility and their heavy bleeding is not fibroid-related. While some patients with fibroids and heavy bleeding undergo ablation, these patients are better served with UFE. Ablation only treats the lining but does not do anything to the fibroids. These patients often have bulk-related symptoms (exs. pelvic pain/pressure, bloating, increased urinary frequency) that are not affected at all by the ablation.