Vaginal discharges are common during your menstrual cycles. But, if you experience bleeding soon after movements of the bowel, it can be a serious matter. What could be the causes for this? What must one do in such instances? Read on for more needful inputs.
Vaginal bleeding can be either due to your menstrual cycle or due to changes in your hormonal balance. But, you may at times experience vaginal bleeding along with or after bowel movements. If this happens, it is not a minor discomfort to be left untreated. It demands due attention, and also at the earliest possible time.
There can be a number of reasons why vaginal bleed is experienced during movements of the bowel. In such instances, bleeding may vary from moderate to acute levels. In essence, blood in your toilet paper is a matter of very serious concern. The reasons include-
Yeast infections in your vagina: This can be due to an attack by microbes. The signs of this condition are itchiness in the vaginal region, burning sensation while having sex or while passing urine, inflammation around the vagina, etc. This condition may be caused by a decrease in the number of good bacteria (called Lactobacillus) in your vagina, weakened immunity level, medical conditions like diabetes, imbalances in your hormone levels, etc. Your doctor may administer antibiotics and other similar drugs to treat this condition. Such drugs can fight these microbial attacks and help cure the discomforts associated with them.
Oversensitive cervix: This condition is also termed a “friable” cervix. Such a cervix is often subject to bruises, bleeding as well as inflammation. As an associated sign, women with a sensitive cervix may bleed after sexual intercourse. It is also possible that you have no symptoms; in such women, the medical condition may remain dormant and may persist for a very long time without being detected.
The causes for this condition include cervicitis. It can be triggered by infections such as herpes in your genital areas, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or trichomoniasis – all these are categorized as sexually transmitted infections. A condition called bacterial vaginosis may also lead to cervicitis; this condition is caused by a disturbance to the stability of bacteria naturally present in the vagina.
Cervical cancer: This cancer is caused by a microbe called human papillomavirus (widely called HPV). This condition can take any of the following stages.
Stage 0 – Detection of precancerous growth of cells
Stage 1 – Cancerous cells may be spotted deep within the cervix and have spread to lymph nodes in the adjoining parts, including the uterus
Stage 2 – Cells spread way beyond your uterine and cervical regions
Stage 3 – Cancerous growth is seen in the vagina (lower half), urinary tubes as well as on the pelvic wall
Stage 4 – Growth of cells seen in the rectum and beyond the pelvic region; some remote parts of your body such as lungs, liver, or bones may also be affected
HPV vaccines are administered to protect women from a likely onset of this cancer. Diets rich in vitamins A, B12, C, and E are known to reduce the risk factors. This condition is often treated with a combination of radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. The course of treatment is determined by the stage of cancer as well as other factors such as the age of the woman, her medical history, fertility (number of children), concurrent clinical conditions, treatments pursued other pre-existing medical conditions, etc.
Endometrial cancer: This condition affects your uterus; cancerous cells are seen growing on the lining of the uterus. This tissue is called as endometrium. If you are not opting to treat it, you run the risk of cancer growth to other parts such as the rectum, ovaries, urinary bladder, etc. The common signs of this medical condition are extreme pain while passing urine, pain in the rectum, bleeding profusely from your vagina, etc. This condition can be cured by radiation, chemotherapy, or surgery. There are instances where two of these three approaches have been used in tandem.
Other endometrial problems: These are disorders associated with your uterus. The common signs of these problems are elongated menstrual cycles or absence of such periods, bleeding or a thickened lining of the uterus. In some instances, bleeding occurs well after your menstrual cycles have stopped or you may bleed soon after taking ingesting drugs such as tamoxifen (a drug administered to treat breast cancer), etc.
Hemorrhoids or fissures in your anal areas: This occurs as a small rupture (tearing) of your skin near your rear passage (anal region). You may experience bleeding when you pass stool. It may be observed either soon after passing the stool or while passing it. This condition is noted as a common occurrence; in terms of incidence 1 in 400 people may get it every year. The leading cause for this is the damage experienced in the skin of the anus.
In some rare instances, some people may have a naturally tightened rear muscle, which may be vulnerable to tear and rupture. Inability to pass stool – due to hardening of feces – commonly termed as constipation, is another reason why this rupture may occur.
Though this can be treated with remedies available at home, you are advised to seek medical support without any further delay. In order to avoid constipation, you are advised to drink a lot of fluids, consume fibrous foods, and have an active lifestyle including exercises or workouts.
Cervical ectropion: This is by and large a benign medical condition. The symptoms of this medical condition include vaginal bleeding after intercourse. This is a condition wherein glandular lining usually seen inside the cervix is found to stretch onto the outer side of your cervical canal. Your doctor or gynecologist may not opt to treat this condition mainly due to its non-harmful nature.
Fibroids (or polyps): These are also benign outgrowth, commonly found in your uterine region. A discomfort in the rectum is a distinct sign of this condition. Apart from this, other common signs are pain while having sexual intercourse, stretched periods of menstrual cycles, etc. Common treatment methods include elimination of the polyp through surgery (myomectomy), surgical removal of the uterus (hysterectomy), or shrinking the polyp through a process called embolization.
In some rare cases, the uterine lining is surgically treated to minimize the bleeding. This procedure is known as endometrial ablation.
In some very remote cases, women with thyroid problems have also developed vaginal bleeding after bowel movements. Thyroid problems can be either hyperthyroidism (an extra production of the thyroid hormone) or hypothyroidism (your body makes less than needful amounts of the thyroid). Extra production of the thyroid can trigger many other complications such as problems in your pituitary glands (which may, in turn, lead to excessive growth of cancerous cells), imbalanced hormones in your body, or a condition called Graves’ disease (triggering skin and eye-related medical conditions). On the other hand, reduced production of thyroid can lead to a significant loss of energy levels and also growth-related disorders (dwarfism or stunted growth).
If you see (in the stool) mucus of your bowel along with the vaginal bleeding, then it may be associated with serious problems in the cervical region. This condition needs to be cared for on an urgent basis. Your doctor may explore ways to stabilize the overproduction of bacteria, which may be the cause of mucus discharge. If you have problems such as itchiness in your vagina, discoloration, or inflammation of the vaginal areas, you may have to consult your doctor (preferably a gynecologist) as soon as possible. Your treating doctor may prescribe a list of gastrointestinal lab tests to arrive at the actual cause for the discharge of bowel mucus.
There can be a few other factors and causes that are not listed here. Regardless of the reasons, the first big step to take – immediately after spotting blood in your toilet tissue – is to consult your physician or gynecologist. It often takes a doctor’s attention to understand the cause of the bleed. Your physician will first try to understand the reason behind this symptom. The usual approach is to eliminate reasons that may not be the causes for this medical condition.
It is not recommended to panic or get stressed if you experience this condition. It may be due to a minor cause that can be treated with needful medications. However, if you are not taking proper medical guidance, the actual reasons for this condition may remain undiagnosed for long. In conditions such as these, your inability to avail of proper treatment can turn into a costly error. Otherwise minor discomfort in the vagina may – over a period of time – turn into an acute medical condition.