Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

Vaginal bleeding between your periods is not unusual, but should be checked by your doctor if it happens more than once or twice.

Vaginal bleeding between your periods is not unusual, but should be checked by your doctor if it happens more than once or twice.
beginning of content

Bleeding between periods

Vaginal bleeding between your periods is not unusual, but should be checked by your doctor if it happens more than once or twice.

There are several things that could cause bleeding between periods, such as changes to your hormonal levels, use of hormonal contraception or contraceptive devices, an infection, or an injury, for example.

Bleeding between periods should be checked out by your doctor. You should also go to your doctor if you bleed after sex.

Changes to your hormonal levels

Young women often spot, or bleed very slightly, when they ovulate (release an egg from the ovary). It happens about 10-14 days after their period and is usually caused by a temporary drop in levels of the hormone oestrogen. This is quite normal.

As well as reduced oestrogen levels, you may also experience other hormonal imbalances, which are completely harmless. This could be as a result of stress, or a recent change of diet. Your doctor will be able to diagnose this by talking to you, and possibly taking a blood sample, and also advising you about possible treatments.

Girls who have just started their periods and women going through menopause are more likely to have irregular periods.

Use of hormonal contraception

If you have recently started taking hormonal contraceptives it is not uncommon to experience bleeding between periods due to the drop in hormone levels. This will usually happen around two weeks after your last period, and is often referred to as breakthrough bleeding.

Your periods will usually become more regular within six months, and the bleeding between your periods should stop after a month or two. Bleeding between periods can also occur if you forget to take one of your oral contraceptives.

However, if bleeding occurs at other points during your menstrual cycle, you should consult your doctor in order to rule out the possibility of other conditions.

If you have other hormonal contraceptives such as hormone containing intra-uterine devices (IUDs) contraceptive injections or rods you may have some changes to your bleeding pattern. Many women have heavier, longer and more painful periods. This may improve over time.

If you have prolonged bleeding it may be possible for your doctor to give you additional medicine that can help control the bleeding. They may also check the bleeding is not due to other causes such as infection.

Fertility treatments

Vaginal bleeding may occur during certain fertility procedures - for example, during the egg collection stage of IVF treatment. Usually it is mild to moderate bleeding with some cramping. However, if you experience heavy bleeding, you should contact your fertility clinic or doctor for advice.

Other causes

Bleeding between periods can also be caused by other conditions including:

When to seek help

If you are bleeding very heavily or you feel faint or that you might pass out, call triple zero (000) immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero (000) does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.

Not sure what to do next?

If you are still concerned about bleeding between periods, check your symptoms with healthdirect's online healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.

The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether it’s self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero (000).

Last reviewed: June 2017

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 162 results

Pregnancy: Vaginal Bleeding | myVMC

Vaginal bleeding can occur early in thepregnancy (spotting) or late (antepartum haemorrhage) and should be investigated by a medical professional.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

How endometriosis affects pregnancy

Find out more about how endometriosis affects pregnancy, how endometriosis can affect infertility and cause problems in pregnancy as well as treatment options.

Read more on Pregnancy, Birth & Baby website

Endometriosis | myVMC

Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition in which endometrial tissues grow outside of the uterus. It is associated with pain during menstruation and sex.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Endometriosis in adolescence | Women's Health Queensland Wide

Many adolescents experience discomfort with periods but more severe pain can be a symptom of endometriosis. By Kirsten Braun Health_Journey_Issue_1_2015.pdf

Read more on Women's Health Queensland Wide website

Endometriosis fact sheet | Women's Health Queensland Wide

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to that which normally lines the uterus grows in other parts of the body. Studies suggest that it affects 5 10% of menstruating women in Australia.

Read more on Women's Health Queensland Wide website

Endometriosis | Better Health Channel

Read more on Better Health Channel website

Female infertility - myDr.com.au

Find out more about the causes of female infertility and the tests that can help diagnose these problems.

Read more on myDr website

Polycystic ovary syndrome - myDr.com.au

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a condition that affects females in their reproductive years. It may cause irregular periods, excess hair growth and cysts on the ovaries.

Read more on myDr website

Placenta Praevia | myVMC

In placenta praevia the placenta grows in an incorrect position covering the opening of the uterus. It typically causes is painless vaginal bleeding.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Postpartum Haemorrhage (PPH) | myVMC

Postpartum haemorrhage refers to vaginal bleeding within six weeks of childbirth which results in loss of more than 500ml of blood.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Check your symptoms Find a health service

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback