When to see a doctor

By Mayo Clinic Staff

If you're pregnant, contact your health care team immediately if you notice vaginal bleeding.

To be safe, you should have any unusual vaginal bleeding checked by your doctor or other health care professional. They can tell you if there's cause for concern based on your age and whole health picture.

Be sure to seek care when there is unusual vaginal bleeding in these cases:

  • Postmenopausal adults who don't take hormone therapy. Hormone therapy is a treatment that helps with menopause symptoms such as hot flashes. Some bleeding may happen with these treatments. But if you notice any vaginal bleeding after menopause without hormone therapy, see a doctor.
  • Postmenopausal adults taking cyclic, also called sequential, hormone therapy. Cyclic hormone therapy is when you take estrogen every day. And then, you add progestin for 10 to 12 days a month. Some withdrawal bleeding is expected with this kind of therapy. Withdrawal bleeding looks like a period. It happens for a few days of the month. But any other vaginal bleeding needs to be checked by a doctor.
  • Postmenopausal adults taking continuous hormone therapy. Continuous hormone therapy is when you take a low dose of estrogen and progestin daily. Some light bleeding is expected with this therapy. But if the bleeding is heavy or goes on longer than six months, see your care team.
  • Children who don't have any other signs of puberty. Signs of puberty include breast development and underarm or pubic hair growth.
  • Children younger than age 8. Any vaginal bleeding in a child younger than 8 is concerning and should be checked by a doctor.

Unusual vaginal bleeding during the following stages is likely OK. But talk to your care team if you're concerned:

  • Newborns. Some vaginal bleeding may happen during a baby's first month of life. But bleeding that's heavy or lasts longer should be checked by a provider.
  • Teenage years. Menstrual cycles can be hard to track when teens first get their periods. This can go on for a few years. Also, it's common for light spotting to happen in the days before a period.
  • Starting birth control pills. Spotting might happen in the first few months.
  • Nearing menopause, also called perimenopause. Periods might be heavy or hard to track during this time. Ask your care team about ways to lessen any symptoms.

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May 02, 2023