Spotting is defined as light vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your regular periods. Typically, spotting involves small amounts of blood. It usually only requires a panty liner if you need protection, not a pad or tampon. Bleeding or spotting any time other than when you have your period is considered abnormal vaginal bleeding , or intermenstrual bleeding. There are many different causes for spotting between periods.
Uterine polyps can only be seen on imaging tests like ultrasounds. Maintain a healthy weight. Heavier spotting is most often from the uterus, while lighter spotting can come from the upper or lower tract 3. Additional Resources. Is It Spotting or a Period?
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- Abnormal vaginal bleeding is any vaginal bleeding unrelated to normal menstruation.
- Many women experience spotting before their period or at times out of their regular menstrual period.
- There are many reasons why abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods could happen.
Spotting is defined as light vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your regular periods. Typically, spotting involves small amounts of blood. It usually only requires a panty liner if you need protection, not a pad or tampon. Bleeding or spotting any time other than when you have your period is considered abnormal vaginal bleeding , or intermenstrual bleeding. There are many different causes for spotting between periods. There are several reasons you might experience spotting before your period.
Many of these causes can be effectively treated or dealt with. Hormonal birth control pills , patches, injections, rings, and implants can all cause spotting between periods. Sometimes, birth control is used to treat abnormal bleeding between periods. About 3 percent of women experience spotting related to ovulation.
Ovulation spotting is light bleeding that occurs around the time in your menstrual cycle when your ovary releases an egg. For many women, this can be anywhere between 11 days and 21 days after the first day of your last period. Ovulation spotting may be light pink or red in color, and will last for about 1 to 2 days in the middle of your cycle.
Other signs and symptoms of ovulation may include:. Implantation spotting may occur when a fertilized egg attaches to the inner lining of your uterus. If it does occur, implantation spotting happens a few days before your next period should occur.
Spotting during pregnancy is not uncommon. About 15 to 25 percent of women will experience spotting during their first trimester. The bleeding is often light, and the color may be pink, red, or brown. If you experience heavy bleeding or pelvic pain, contact your doctor right away.
This could be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic tubal pregnancy. This transitional time is called perimenopause. During perimenopause, your periods become more irregular, and you may experience some spotting. Polyps are small abnormal tissue growths that can occur in a number of places, including the cervix and uterus. Most polyps are benign, or noncancerous. Your doctor can easily see cervical polyps during a routine pelvic exam.
If they do need to be removed, removal is generally easy and not painful. Uterine polyps can only be seen on imaging tests like ultrasounds. These polyps most commonly occur in people who have finished menopause. Sexually transmitted infections STIs , such as chlamydia or gonorrhea , can cause spotting between periods or after sex.
Other symptoms of STIs include:. Contact your doctor if you suspect an STI. Many STIs can be treated with minimal complications when caught early. Abnormal bleeding between periods is a common symptom of pelvic inflammatory disease PID. You can develop PID if bacteria spreads from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries.
If you experience any signs of an infection or PID, see your doctor. Many infections can be successfully treated with the right therapies. Uterine fibroids are growths on the uterus. In addition to spotting between periods, they can cause symptoms, such as:.
Fibroids are also typically benign and may shrink on their own. Endometriosis happens when tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside of the uterus. This condition can cause bleeding or spotting between periods, as well as other symptoms.
About 1 out of every 10 women in the United States is believed to have endometriosis, but many cases go undiagnosed. Irregular bleeding between periods is sometimes a sign of polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS. Stress can cause all kinds of changes in your body , including fluctuations in your menstrual cycle. Some women may experience vaginal spotting due to high levels of physical or emotional stress. Certain medicines, such as blood thinners, thyroid medications, and hormonal drugs, can cause vaginal bleeding between your periods.
Sometimes, an underactive thyroid can cause you to spot after your period ends. Other signs of an underactive thyroid hypothyroidism include:. Certain cancers can cause abnormal bleeding, spotting, or other forms of vaginal discharge. These may include:. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes , liver disease, kidney disease , and bleeding disorders, may cause spotting between your periods.
Spotting is different than the bleeding you experience when you have your period. Typically, spotting:. Pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin hCG in your urine. You should also see your doctor if your period is over a week late and you have a negative pregnancy test. Your doctor can run tests to determine if an underlying condition is responsible for your missed period.
You should see your doctor if you have unexplained spotting between your periods. Although it may be nothing to worry about or go away on its own, it could also be a sign of something more serious. Try to record exactly when your spotting occurs and any other symptoms you have so you can share this information with your doctor. Spotting before your period can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these require prompt medical treatment, while others are harmless. You should see your doctor if you experience spotting.
Spotting is lighter than a period and may indicate that you have an underlying condition. Call your doctor if you experience abnormal vaginal bleeding. Some symptoms are easy to identify as potentially serious health problems. Chest pain, high fever, and bleeding are all typically signs that something…. You may see red, brown, and even black blood during your period. Here's what the different period blood colors mean and when to see your doctor. During perimenopause, the hormones estrogen and progesterone fluctuate from month to month.
Here's how this affects your period and how to manage it. Learn when a light period is nothing to worry about, and when it may be the sign of something more serious. Learn ways to manage the birth control shot side effect of irregular bleeding and when you should see a doctor.
Throughout your menstrual cycle, the color and consistency of blood can change. It can be thin and watery one day, and thick and clumpy the next. Abnormal uterine bleeding is any vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods. Collagen is an essential building block for the entire body, from skin to gut, and more. Here's five changes you may see or feel just by taking more…. You can do a lot of prep work to make the perfect sleep environment. But if that doesn't work, here are six other hacks to try.
What Causes Spotting Before Periods? Causes Vs. How this works. What is spotting? What causes spotting before periods? Is it spotting or your period? Should I take a pregnancy test? When to see a doctor. Period Blood Color Chart. Read this next. Is It Spotting or a Period? Medically reviewed by Euna Chi, MD. Depo-Provera Shot Bleeding and Spotting.
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You may not be able to prevent bleeding between periods depending on the cause. Such infections are mostly sexually transmitted and are bound to cause bleeding due to inflammation of the internal sexual organs. When you see your doctor about bleeding between periods, be prepared to answer questions about your symptoms. Take note of when your periods begin and end, the heaviness and duration of your flow, and when and how much you bleed between periods. It might be as harmless as Mittelschmerz or something more serious like endometriosis. The symptoms may only be experienced later when the cancer becomes intense and invasive, destroying neighboring cells.
Vaginal spotting between periods. Causes of Vaginal Bleeding Between Periods
Vaginal Bleeding Between Periods: Causes, Prevention & Diagnosis
Jump to content. Top of the page Check Your Symptoms. Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs:. Abnormal vaginal bleeding has many possible causes. By itself, it does not necessarily indicate a serious condition. Heavy bleeding during the first few weeks after delivery postpartum or after an abortion may occur because the uterus has not contracted to the prepregnancy size or because fetal tissue remains in the uterus retained products of conception.
If you are age 40 or older, abnormal vaginal bleeding may mean that you are entering perimenopause. In a woman who has not had a menstrual period for 12 months, vaginal bleeding is always abnormal and should be discussed with your doctor.
Check your symptoms to decide if and when you should see a doctor. Many things can affect how your body responds to a symptom and what kind of care you may need.
These include:. You have answered all the questions. Based on your answers, you may be able to take care of this problem at home. Severe vaginal bleeding means that you are soaking 1 or 2 pads or tampons in 1 or 2 hours, unless that is normal for you. For most women, passing clots of blood from the vagina and soaking through their usual pads or tampons every hour for 2 or more hours is not normal and is considered severe. If you are pregnant : You may have a gush of blood or pass a clot, but if the bleeding stops, it is not considered severe.
Many prescription and nonprescription medicines can cause changes in vaginal bleeding. A few examples are:. Based on your answers, you may need care right away. The problem is likely to get worse without medical care. Based on your answers, you may need care soon. The problem probably will not get better without medical care. There is no home treatment for abnormal vaginal bleeding. With some types of vaginal bleeding, it may be okay to wait to see if the bleeding stops on its own.
If the bleeding continues or gets worse, see your doctor to find out the reason for the bleeding. If you are using tampons for abnormal vaginal bleeding, be sure to change them often, and do not leave one in place when the bleeding has stopped. A tampon left in the vagina may put you at risk for toxic shock syndrome TSS. TSS is a rare but life-threatening illness that develops suddenly after a bacterial infection rapidly affects several different organ systems.
If you are age 40 or older, you may be experiencing perimenopause. For more information, see the topic Menopause and Perimenopause. Call your doctor if any of the following occur during home treatment:.
To prepare for your appointment, see the topic Making the Most of Your Appointment. You can help your doctor diagnose and treat your condition by being prepared to answer the following questions:.
Topic Overview Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives. Vaginal bleeding is considered to be abnormal if it occurs: When you are not expecting your menstrual period. When your menstrual flow is lighter or heavier than what is normal for you. At a time in life when it is not expected, such as before age 9, when you are pregnant, or after menopause. Causes of abnormal bleeding Abnormal vaginal bleeding has many possible causes.
Because bleeding can mean a problem with pregnancy, possible pregnancy should always be considered in a woman of childbearing age. Spotting to minimal bleeding may be normal. But any bleeding during pregnancy needs to be evaluated by your doctor.
Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding that occurs before 12 weeks may mean a serious problem, including an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. Heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding that occurs after 12 weeks also may mean a serious problem, such as placenta previa.
Ovulation can cause mid-cycle bleeding. Polycystic ovary syndrome PCOS is a hormone imbalance that interferes with normal ovulation and can cause abnormal bleeding. Medicines , such as birth control pills, sometimes cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. You may have minor bleeding between periods during the first few months if you have recently started using birth control pills.
You also may have bleeding if you do not take your pills at a regular time each day. For more information, see the topic Birth Control. An intrauterine device IUD also may increase your chances of spotting or heavy periods. Infection of the pelvic organs vagina, cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries may cause vaginal bleeding, especially after intercourse or douching.
Sexually transmitted infections STIs are often the cause of infections. For more information, see the topic Sexually Transmitted Infections. Pelvic inflammatory disease PID causes inflammation or infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries, which can cause abnormal bleeding. Other less common causes of abnormal vaginal bleeding that may be more serious include: Sexual abuse. An object in the vagina.
Uterine fibroids , which are a common cause of heavy periods. For more information, see the topic Uterine Fibroids. Structural problems, such as urethral prolapse or polyps. Cancer of the cervix , uterus , ovaries , or vagina. Extreme emotional stress and excessive exercise.
But excessive exercise more frequently causes an absence of menstruation amenorrhea. Other diseases, such as hyperthyroidism or diabetes. Treatment of abnormal vaginal bleeding depends on the cause of the bleeding. Check Your Symptoms Are you having any abnormal vaginal bleeding?
Bleeding is abnormal if it occurs at a time when you aren't expecting it or if it's a lot heavier or lighter than what you are used to. How old are you? Are you male or female? Why do we ask this question? The medical assessment of symptoms is based on the body parts you have.
If you are transgender or nonbinary, choose the sex that matches the body parts such as ovaries, testes, prostate, breasts, penis, or vagina you now have in the area where you are having symptoms. If you have some organs of both sexes, you may need to go through this triage tool twice once as "male" and once as "female". This will make sure that the tool asks the right questions for you. Are you pregnant? Yes, you know that you're pregnant. No, you're not pregnant, or you're not sure if you're pregnant.
Have you been skipping periods or bleeding a lot less than usual? Do you have symptoms of shock? Has vaginal bleeding started before age 9? Do you feel lightheaded or dizzy, like you are going to faint? It's normal for some people to feel a little lightheaded when they first stand up. But anything more than that may be serious. Do you have new pain in your lower belly, pelvis, or genital area that is different than your usual menstrual cramps? How bad is the pain on a scale of 0 to 10, if 0 is no pain and 10 is the worst pain you can imagine?
Is the bleeding severe, moderate, mild, or minimal? Has this amount of bleeding been going on for 4 hours or longer? Are you bleeding now? Is the bleeding happening at an expected time during your menstrual cycle?
Do you think that the symptoms may have been caused by sexual abuse?