Sometimes spotting can catch us off guard, but it is important to remember not to panic! Knowing why spotting is occurring can prepare you to take steps or know how to manage proactively.
What is spotting?
Spotting is light vaginal bleeding that doesn't last more than a day or two, is pink, reddish, or brown in color, and occurs outside of your typical period. Spotting can be an indication of a significant issue or something very routine. Education around why spotting is happening can bring relief and reassurance.
This is very typical. There is an adjustment period for most people, or it is long-lasting. Spontaneous spotting can occur with any type of birth control, including patches, injections, rings, hormonal birth control pills, and implants. Spotting can also happen if you switch the kind or dosage of your birth control, skip doses, fail to take your pills as directed, or have been using birth control for a long time. It's important to chat with your doctor and ask questions to monitor the spotting and make sure your body is adjusting in a normal way.
Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's)
When identified early, STIs like gonorrhea or chlamydia, which can cause spotting after intercourse or in between periods, can be quickly treated with few side effects. If you experience any of the other STI symptoms, such as painful urination, itching, pelvic pain, or white, green, or yellow discharge, call your doctor right away. These are typically resolved quickly, so remember to not panic and get checked regularly.
This is also very typical. During the first trimester, about 25% of women have spotting (light bleeding that might be red, pink, or brown in hue). Spotting is frequently not a cause for concern, but if you start to feel pelvic pain or excessive bleeding, it may be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage. If any of these two things happens, contact your doctor straight away.
Perimenopause is one that we often do not feel prepared for as it occurs at different ages for everyone. Perimenopause is the name for this phase of life when you may go months without ovulating. Your period might become more erratic, you might spot more or less, have more or lighter menstrual bleeding, or it might even miss a day. Spotting is a very common effect and signifies to the body that menopause is about to occur. You can learn more about perimenopause and menopause management here. Proactive and daily solutions may help you manage your symptoms proactively with ease.
While you undoubtedly previously knew that stress can affect your menstrual cycle, we bet you didn't know that extreme physical or mental stress can also be the reason you're spotting in between periods. This should serve as a reminder to anyone who leads a stressed lifestyle to remember to listen to your body and take self-care days.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Along with lower or upper abdominal pain, fever, foul-smelling discharge, difficult intercourse, or painful urination, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease may also cause irregular bleeding between periods. PID occurs when germs travel from your vagina to your uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. PID can usually be treated with the appropriate medicines prescribed by your doctor, so if you are exhibiting any of the symptoms listed above, contact your health care provider immediately once.
Ovulation, trauma (hard sex, sexual assault), fibroids, some medications (blood thinners, hormonal drugs), uterine or cervical polyps, polycystic ovary syndrome, or endometriosis are additional causes of spotting.
It's a good idea to see your doctor if you have unexplained spotting, especially if it's accompanied by symptoms like fever, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, or pelvic pain, as these could indicate a more serious condition.
Always consult your doctor if you are unsure. Knowing why spotting is occurring can help you take control of your menstrual health and proactively take steps to ensure you're feeling your best!