spotting before period
Menstrual Health Women's Health

Are You Spotting In Between (before/after) Your Period? Is it BAD News?

Spotting Before Period

An unscheduled menstrual bleeding can be quite a hassle, especially when you had your menstrual cycle just a week ago and your next one aren’t due again until next month.spotting before period - dont panic

Not only that, but an unexpected bleeding can also cause quite a stir and brings
up a wide range of emotions and questions running through your head. So, why the heck are you bleeding now?!

Stay calm.

Breathe…

We know what you are going through, and do not worry. Everything you need to know about spotting before period is all on this page.

So relax, and continue reading…

Spotting before or after period or sometimes called intermenstrual bleeding can occur due to numerous of possibilities.

Sometimes it is cause by benign or low key health issues such as hormonal fluctuations at the beginning of your reproductive life cycle (more on this below) or you simply swap birth control pills or even you might be feeling slightly under the weather.

However, spotting can also be a sign that you are probably pregnant OR, keep in mind this is quite uncommon, a sign of a serious health issue which you should get checked immediately.


How Do You Know If It Is Spotting Or A Period?

spotting between periods - spotting or period

Let’s have a look at a normal menstrual cycle; which lasts for 28 days and menstrual bleeding usually lasts for about 4 to 7 days in most women.

However it is not uncommon to find women who have an irregular period which means that their menstrual cycles are either shorter or longer than 28 days and for their menstrual bleeding, it can last longer and occurs at a different time every month.

And that is menstrual bleeding; spotting however occurs if you experience vaginal bleeding after your menstrual period or before your next period.

Usually it doesn’t reach the underwear, but appears when swiped with toilet paper after urination or a bowel movement. The blood can be pink-tinged mucus, rusty brown or bright red.

Sometimes spotting can last for several hours or even days, or it can be just a one-time occurrence.

Some women may experience a blood spot or two; however if the bleeding is heavier it may resemble their normal menstrual bleeding.
Heavy flow before or after your period can be alarming as it can suggest a few reproductive health problems, if you are experiencing this, it best that you immediately go and consult a doctor.


Identifying Your Vaginal Discharge

The characteristics of your vaginal discharge may vary throughout your menstrual cycle, and surprisingly every type can tell you a lot about your health, which can signify everything from normal cycles to major health problems.

For instance, a clear discharge is a pretty common occurrence during the 28 days menstrual cycle, which probably comes like clockwork. This is usually a sign of ovulation and its nature’s way of telling you that it is time to get busy if you want to get pregnant or a good time to protect yourself if you don’t.

A thick and white discharge is possible a sign infection, most possibly yeast infection. The symptoms of yeast infections are usually thick and white discharge and extreme itching.

Fortunately, yeast infection can be easily treated with over the counter medication or to be safe, go and consult a doctor. If you are prone to yeast infection, most doctors recommend avoiding heavily scented soap.

Some discharge signifies a major health problem for example yellow and green discharge. A yellowish greenish discharge is an irregular feminine secretion and usually accompanied by a foul smell and itchiness.

This most often means gonorrhea or trichomoniasis both of which are STDs that require medical treatment. It might be nothing or it might be something, to be safe go and see a doctor.


Common Causes for Spotting In Between Periods

 

Implantation Bleeding – You Might Be Pregnant

spotting before period - pregnant

Implantation bleeding is one of the signs of early pregnancy and is one of the many reasons for spotting. However, not every woman will experience implantation bleeding, some will and some won’t.

Implantation occurs when your newly fertilized egg, which is now called the blastocyst, made its way through your fallopian tubes to your uterus, where it will completely implant itself within the lining of the uterus.

Now, because of the complexity nature of conception and pregnancy itself, only about 50% of these blastocysts will be successfully be implanted in the uterine lining.

And for those that did not managed that, will be discarded as well as all the uterine tissue which will result in a very early miscarriage.

Most women who experience this never realized that they were pregnant in the first place, and this will result early miscarriage bleeding resembling a normal menstrual period.

However, if the blastocyst successfully embedded itself in the uterine lining, it has managed to hook on some blood vessels and can cause it to crack. If this happens, leaks of blood may occur and will result in mild spotting.

This is called implantation bleeding.

It can be quite confusing trying to differentiate between implantation bleeding and an early miscarriage bleeding, but in usually, early miscarriage bleeding appears as light spotting in the beginning but will become heavier resembling normal menstrual period with small to large clots and dark red color.

Implantation bleeding however will be much lighter flow and will only last a couple of days.

To be absolutely certain that you are spotting because of implantation bleeding, you can always go and consult a doctor, or probably the easiest way is to just take a home pregnancy test.


Low Progesterone Level (Hormonal Instability)

Progesterone is a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries and the adrenal glands and is very important in any women’s health.

Low progesterone level among women is by far the most common cause of spotting.

Progesterone keeps your uterine lining intact and if your progesterone level is not high enough, you might start spotting before your period.

Best way to increase your progesterone level is to de-stress yourself.

Try and keep calm and relax.

Also, eat food high in vitamin B6 such as pistachio nuts, sunflower seeds or tuna which help in getting your corpus loteum in shape which is your big progesterone producer.

Vitamin C is also proven to help raise progesterone level. Foods that are high in Vitamin C are peppers, dark leafy vegetables, broccoli and berries to name a few.


Medicine Taken For Contraception

spotting before period - contraception medication

Breakthrough bleeding, which means spotting or bleeding discharge that happens before or after periods, can occur with any birth control pill, especially during the first few months of use.

It is important to know that birth control pills and birth control vaginal rings consist of small amounts of two synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin, which are used to restrict natural hormones that allow you to become pregnant (Progesterone).

Estrogen basically prevents ovulation and progestin makes your uterine lining inhabitable to a fertilized egg.

What causes spotting with oral contraceptives is never always clear and obvious.

It may be simply because your body needed time to adjust to the artificial hormones from the pill or your uterus transition to a thinner uterine lining.

Spotting in between periods are more likely to happen because of oral contraceptives is you miss a pill, started a new type of birth control or you are ill with vomiting or diarrhea, which may reduce the effectiveness of the medication.

If you ARE on the pill, make sure you keep taking it as directed. Bleeding between periods does not mean that the medication isn’t working! If you stop taking it, you will risk unplanned pregnancy!

Important to note that if the spotting becomes heavier and or last more than 6-7 days in a row, it is advisable that you consult your doctor.


Harmless Growth in the Uterus (Uterine Fibroid)

Uterine fibroids are harmless noncancerous growth of the uterus which may appear alone or in groups.

These growths can grow anywhere within the uterus and even on the outer surface of the uterus.

Fibroids are commonly asymptomatic, which means that many women who have fibroids do not show any symptoms.

However, when symptoms do appear, these symptoms can be influenced by the size, location and number of growth.

The most common symptoms are:

  • Constipation
  • Longer menstrual periods (More than a week)
  • Backache or leg pains
  • Pelvic pain or pressure
  • Lower back pain
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding such as spotting between periods
  • Urinary problems

Uterine fibroids are extremely common; they affect an estimated 70% of women. There are many treatments for fibroid and if you think you have them, it is best to consult your doctor.


Hypothyroidism

Your spotting might be caused by lack of thyroid…

Hypothyroidism or sometimes called underactive thyroid disease is a very common disease, in which is a condition where your thyroid gland fails to produce enough thyroid hormone.

The main purpose of the thyroid hormone is basically to maintain the body’s metabolism. Metabolism is important; it affects your body’s temperature, your heartbeat and how efficient your body is burning calories.

There are several symptoms of hypothyroidism but sometimes it can be vague and often than not mimics other conditions, which includes:

  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Slow heart rate
  • Dry hair and hair loss
  • Swelling of the thyroid gland (which is located in front of the neck)
  • Constipation
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Dry rough pale skin
  • Spotting between periods
  • Weight gain or increased difficulty losing weight
  • Memory loss
  • Decreased libido

Some may have any number of these symptoms, and how long the body is deprived of the proper amount of hormone will influence the severity of the symptoms.

If you believe that you have hypothyroidism and is causing spotting between periods that it is best to consult your doctor on your condition.

Depending how severe your body lacks in thyroid hormone, a doctor would normally suggest a daily pill to restore your thyroid your body’s hormone level.


Sexually Transmitted Infections (Chlamydia)

spotting before period - sexually transmitted disease

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by a kind of bacteria that is passed during sexual contact and often causes spotting in between periods.

Usually chlamydia has no symptoms and a lot of people, men and women are not aware that they have the infection.

If you recently had unprotected sex and are currently spotting before your period, chances are chlamydia is causing it.

Other than bleeding in between periods, here are other symptoms associated with chlamydia:

  • Abnormal vaginal discharge which includes unpleasant smell, darker color (usually brown) and or a different texture than usual.
  • Pain during intercourse and or pain during urination. (Burning pain during urination usually indicates some sort of infection, seek help if you are suffering from this)
  • Bleeding after sexual intercourse
  • Low grade/ mild fever
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling inside the vagina or around the anus
  • the urge to urinate more than usual

If you have a few of these symptoms, it best to consult your doctor. Chlamydia if left untreated will lead to sterility.


Cancer

Relax… take a deep breath… This is a very rare case but it is also important to cover.

Some cancer such as cervix cancer and uterus have been known to cause bleeding in between periods in women.

However, cancer of the cervix as well as other cancers has been known to show little to no symptoms at all.

These symptoms usually appear at a later stage where the cancerous cells are more advance and intense, destroying nearby cells.

This intrusion against the neighboring cells results in abnormal bleeding in between periods.

The bleeding may also appear during or after sexual intercourse.

When was your last pap smear? If you had it recently and everything checks out that you have nothing to fear.

Like previously mentioned, cervical cancer does not usually show any symptoms until it has reached an advanced stage.

This is why it is IMPORTANT to attend all of your cervical screening appointments.

If you are unsure when your last pap smear was, contact your doctor immediately.


Von Willebrand Disease

spotting before periodVon Willebrand disease is a hereditary condition that can cause extended or excessive bleeding that arises from problems with blood coagulation or blood clotting.

Normally those who have this condition may experience little to no symptoms at all, however the most common symptoms of this condition for women is spotting.

Other symptoms include:

  • Recurrent and prolonged nosebleeds
  • Increased menstrual flow
  • Blood in stool
  • Blood in urine
  • Bleeding from the gums
  • Slightly larger blood clots during menstrual flow (more than 1 inch)
  • Fatigue
  • Excessive bleeding when cut

Consult your doctor if you believe you are suffering from this condition as it can lead to numerous health complications.

To know more about Von Willebrand disease click here.


When Spotting is NOT okay?

  • When you are pregnant
  • If you are experiencing fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Spotting is more than a few days (prolonged vaginal bleeding)
  • Spotting becomes heavier

However, you should always consult your doctor anytime you are experiencing spotting before period as the cause of the bleeding could be serious and should be determined.


What to expect when consulting your doctor?

Be prepared to answer questions about spotting in between period.

Also to important that it can be helpful to keep a record of your menstrual cycle such as when your period starts and ends the heaviness and duration of your flow and how much or little you spot in between periods.

Your doctor would also like want to know any symptoms that you have experienced and any medication that you have taken.


Can I just ignore the spotting between periods?

It’s probably nothing anyway… or is it?

Well, you can… In most cases the abnormal spotting will eventually resolve itself.

However, any abnormal or unusual things that happen in your body is usually how your body is telling you that something is not ok and might require treatment.

Ignoring the problem and not consulting to your doctor will eventually lead to worsening of the problem where prevention could be done earlier.

The cause of spotting before period can be anything; it could be hormonal imbalance, infection or something more life threatening.

You could ignore it, but better be safe than sorry.

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