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Vaginal Bleeding (Non-pregnancy): Care Instructions

Abdomen showing location of uterus, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and vagina.


It's common to have bleeding or spotting between periods. Lots of things can cause it. You may bleed because of hormone problems, stress, or ovulation. Fibroids and IUDs (intrauterine devices) can also cause bleeding.

If your bleeding or spotting is caused by one of these things and isn't heavy or doesn't happen often, you probably don't need to worry.

But in rare cases, infection, cancer, or other serious conditions can cause bleeding. So you may need more tests to find the cause of your bleeding.

The doctor has checked you carefully, but problems can develop later. If you notice any problems or new symptoms, get medical treatment right away.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse advice line (811 in most provinces and territories) if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

How can you care for yourself at home?

  • Take pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave you a prescription medicine for pain, take it as prescribed.
    • If you are not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask your doctor if you can take an over-the-counter medicine. Do not take aspirin, which may make bleeding worse.
  • If your doctor prescribed birth control pills for your bleeding, take them as directed.
  • Eat foods that are high in iron and vitamin C. Foods high in iron include red meat, shellfish, eggs, beans, and leafy green vegetables. Foods high in vitamin C include citrus fruits, tomatoes, and broccoli. Ask your doctor if you need to take iron pills or a multivitamin.
  • Ask your doctor when it is okay to have sex.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).

Call your doctor or nurse advice line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have severe vaginal bleeding.
  • You are dizzy or light-headed, or you feel like you may faint.
  • You have new or worse belly or pelvic pain.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse advice line if:

  • Your bleeding gets worse.
  • You think you might be pregnant.
  • You do not get better as expected.

Where can you learn more?

Go to

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Care instructions adapted under license by your healthcare professional. If you have questions about a medical condition or this instruction, always ask your healthcare professional. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information.