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Vaginal Bleeding: Discharge Instructions

If you are experiencing abnormal vaginal or uterine bleeding, your health care provider may start by checking for problems most common in your age group. Some of these symptoms are not serious and are easy to treat. Others can be more serious. All should be checked.

Abnormal uterine bleeding can be caused by any of the following:

  • Problems with ovulation
  • Fibroids and polyps
  • Endometriosis - a condition in which the endometrium grows into the wall of the uterus
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Problems linked to some birth control methods, such as an intrauterine device (IUD) or birth control pills
  • Miscarriage
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Certain types of cancer, such as cancer of the uterus
  • Maintain activity as suggested by your health care provider
  • Avoid intercourse until bleeding and cramping stop
  • Wear a sanitary pad and do not use tampons
  • Take acetaminophen (e.g. Tylenol) for cramping or pain
  • Follow up as recommended at an early pregnancy clinic, your gynecologist or obstetrician, or your family doctor
  • Take any prescribed medication to treat the bleeding as directed

Return to the Emergency Department if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • You are soaking more than two pads each hour for more than two hours
  • If your pain is not controlled by acetaminophen
  • You have a fever of 38 degrees celsius or higher
  • You have foul smelling vaginal discharge

These evidence-based resources provide more information on vaginal bleeding:

  • Abnormal pain and vaginal bleeding: a helpful resource from the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada

The content on this webpage is to be used as a supplement to the instructions provided to you during your Emergency Department visit. The content, including information and instructions, provided on this website are not to be used as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 9-1-1 or go to the closest emergency department.