Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any vaginal bleeding unrelated to normal menstruation. This type of bleeding may include spotting of small amounts of blood between periods — often seen on toilet tissue after wiping — or extremely heavy periods in which you soak a pad or tampon every one to two hours for two or more hours.

Normal vaginal bleeding, or menstruation, occurs every 21 to 35 days when the uterus sheds its lining, marking the start of a new reproductive cycle. A menstrual period may last for just a few days or more than a week. Your flow may be heavy or light and still considered normal. Cycles tend to be longer before age 20 and after age 40, and your flow may be heavier at those ages.

Apr. 16, 2013