Skip to main content

What causes bleeding between periods?

There are many different causes of bleeding between periods. Some may not be anything to worry about, but seek medical advice if you're concerned.

If you are postmenopausal, or think you could be, find out more about postmenopausal bleeding.

Hormonal contraceptives

Irregular bleeding, such as bleeding between periods, is common during the first few months of starting hormonal contraception, such as the:

If you're concerned about bleeding or it lasts longer than a few months, you should seek medical advice.

You may also bleed between periods if you:

Other causes

Some other causes of bleeding between periods include:   

When to seek medical advice

If you have any unusual vaginal bleeding between your periods, you should:

A healthcare professional will talk to you about your symptoms. Depending on your situation, they may suggest doing some tests, such as:

  • tests for STIs, which may include an examination of your genitals
  • blood tests
  • a pregnancy test
  • cervical screening, if you're aged 25 to 64 and not up-to-date with these
  • a pelvic ultrasound scan

To diagnose some conditions, you may need an examination, such as:

  • a speculum examination – a smooth, tube-shaped tool (a speculum) is inserted into your vagina to examine your vagina and cervix
  • an internal examination of your vagina with gloved fingers (bimanual examination)

Page last reviewed: 9 October 2023
Next review due: 9 October 2026