What is an infection?

The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are not normally present within the body. Some infections cause symptoms, others do not. An infection may remain localized, or it may spread throughout the body via the blood or lymphatic vessels.


An infection is a cause that is always considered in women with abnormal bleeding.


If an infection is the cause, treatment with antibiotics is required. This is generally given orally, but if an infection is severe, antibiotics given in to the vein (intravenous) may be required. This is generally given while a hospital inpatient.

When possible, clinicians prefer to isolate the actual organism causing an infection. This is to determine if the organism is sensitive to the antibiotics prescribed.

How we can help

If you think you may have an infection and would like to talk to us about how we can help, please feel free to contact us. You can also request an appointment online.

Further information


Bleeding after sex

Post-coital bleeding usually occurs within 24 hours of intercourse. In most cases it is nothing to worry about, but should be investigated if persistent or if you are concerned. Common causes are cervical polyps and cervical ectropion. An uncommon cause is cervical cancer. Find out more

Bleeding between periods

This is quite common, and if you experience just a single episode you need not be overly concerned. Common causes are oral contraceptives and other hormonal therapies. Persistent bleeding may be caused by genital tract infections, polyps within the uterus or cervix, or possibly cervical cancer. Find out more

Break-through bleeding

This is spotting or bleeding that occurs between periods while on hormonal contraception, or whilst pregnant. It is more common when you've missed a pill, or have vomiting or diarrhoea. It is relatively common in the first six months after a mirena is placed, or with a copper IUD. Other causes include genital tract infections, cervical ectropion, or as part of early pregnancy. Find out more

Irregular or unscheduled bleeding

There are a number of causes of irregular bleeding, and our investigations will depend a bit on your age and fertility plans. Common causes can include endometriosis, infection, instability of the lining of the womb, ovarian cysts, perimenopause, polycystic ovarian syndrome, polyps, and early pregnancy. Find out more

Prolonged periods

If your period lasts more than 7 days, you have prolonged bleeding. The term is often used synonymously with menorrhogia (heavy bleeding), but is more descriptive of periods that go on for an annoyingly long time. Find out more

Urinary incontinence

There are a number of different types of urinary incontinence, but the main two are 'stress' and 'urge' incontinence. An estimated 1 in 4 women are affected. There are a number of strategies that can help, and for some women there are simple surgical procedures with an excellent chance of success. Find out more