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Severe Vaginal Bleeding

When reviewing the following guidelines, take into account how heavy your normal menstrual flow is. Abnormal vaginal bleeding varies depending on what is normal for a particular woman.

  • Severe bleeding: You are passing clots of blood and soaking through your usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours.
  • Moderate bleeding: You soak more than 1 pad or tampon in 3 hours.
  • Mild bleeding: You soak less than 1 pad or tampon in more than 3 hours.
  • Minimal bleeding: You have "spotting" or just a few drops of blood from the vagina.

Vaginal bleeding refers to bleeding from inside the vagina, not from a cut or scrape near the vagina.

For most women, soaking more than 2 maxi pads, super pads, or super tampons in 2 hours is not normal and is severe bleeding. This is more serious if you have the following symptoms:

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  • New lightheadedness or feeling as if you may pass out
  • Lightheadedness or fainting when you change position
  • Passage of several blood clots that are larger than a quarter
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Last Revised June 20, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 20, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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