The Difference Between Spotting And Bleeding
Spotting is any light vaginal bleeding which you experience in between your monthly period. You are experiencing spotting when you notice a few drops of blood every now and then on your underwear. The quantity is not usually enough to fill a pant liner. Bleeding on the other hand, is a heavier form of blood flow. When you are bleeding, you will need a pant liner or pad to prevent the blood from soaking your clothes.
*Using the traffic light colors, we have determined if the cause is low, medium, or high risk. Use this measure as a reference, but consult your doctor when making health decisions.
Pregnancy And Type 1 And Type 2 Diabetes
Some women with diabetes wonder if pregnancy is safe. The good news is you can have a healthy pregnancy after being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But its important to manage your condition before and during pregnancy to avoid complications.
If youre planning to get pregnant, its best to get your blood glucose levels as close to your target range as possible before you get pregnant. Your target ranges when pregnant may be different from the ranges when you arent pregnant.
If you have diabetes and youre pregnant or hoping to become pregnant, talk to your doctor about the best ways to manage your and your babys health. For instance, your blood glucose levels and general health need to be tracked before and during your pregnancy.
When youre pregnant, blood glucose and ketones travel through the placenta to the baby. Babies require energy from glucose like you do. But babies are at risk for birth defects if your glucose levels are too high. Transferring high blood sugar to unborn babies puts them at risk for conditions that include:
- cognitive impairments
- high blood pressure
When To Call A Healthcare Professional
- Your period lasts longer than eight days.
- You bleed through one or more pads or tampons every one to two hours.
- You feel dizzy, lightheaded, weak, or tired, or if you have chest pain or trouble breathing during or after your period. These can be symptoms of anemia.
- You pass menstrual blood clots larger than the size of quarters.
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Fluctuating Periods In Young Women
If youve reached the aged girls get their period for the first time, then your periods over the next few years may be lighter or irregular. It may take up to 6 years for your hormones to normalize. You may sometimes have an early period or a late period.
If you are still notice spotting after period just after menarche, then its likely due to hormone fluctuations.
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Not Sure What To Do Next
If you are still concerned about bleeding between periods, check your symptoms with healthdirect’s online Symptom Checker to get advice on when to seek medical attention.
The Symptom checker guides you to the next appropriate healthcare steps, whether its self-care, talking to a health professional, going to a hospital or calling triple zero .
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You Just Had A Baby Or A Pregnancy Loss
Light spotting to heavy bleeding can occur for the first few weeks after childbirth, pregnancy loss or an induced abortion. This happens because your uterus has not contracted to the pre-pregnancy size or because there is still remaining fetal tissue in your uterus. While this spotting can be normal, it should be checked with your doctor.
Questions To Ask Your Doctor
- What is the likely cause of my abnormal uterine bleeding?
- Is my condition serious? Am I at risk for any other health problems?
- Based on the cause, what treatment options do you recommend?
- What are the risks and benefits of this treatment?
- Will the treatment affect my chances of getting pregnant in the future?
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You Have Cervical Erosion
Cervical erosion is when the cells from inside your cervical canal, or glandular cells, are present on the outer surface of your cervix. This is easily found if you get a cervical screening test, also known as a smear test, the area appears red, because glandular cells are red. You can be born with cervical erosion or develop it through hormonal changes. For many women, there are no problems associated with cervical erosion. However, for some, it can cause spotting as glandular cells bleed more easily and can create more mucus than squamous epithelial cells.
Its Not My Periodwhy Am I Bleeding
Contraceptives, STDs, the onset of menopausea variety of conditions can cause vaginal blood flow during any time of the menstrual cycle. An accurate diagnosis will point to the most suitable treatment for you.
Most often, vaginal bleeding between periods, or intermenstrual bleeding, is no cause for concern. The most common reasons are menopause and hormonal contraception . But these are not the only reasons for intermenstrual bleeding.
If you frequently experience intermenstrual bleeding, it is considered abnormal and should be checked.
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You Have A Decline In Estrogen
One out of ten women experience light spotting during ovulation in their menstrual cycle because of a brief that happens when an egg is released from an ovary. This type of spotting usually occurs about ten to fourteen days before your next period. Spotting can also occur due to reduction of the level of estrogen which usually precedes ovulation. This type of spotting occurs due to alteration of the amount of estrogen that is stimulating the endometrium. The decline in estrogen causes women to experience brown vaginal discharge, or spotting. They can also experience cramping and slight pain.
You Just Took The Morning After Pill
Emergency contraception, AKA the morning after pill, can cause light spotting. Although it is not a side effect, the hormones in the medication can cause women to bleed at off menstrual cycle times. This type of spotting is completely normal. However, it is important to note that this does not indicate you have your period, and therefore does not signify you are not pregnant.
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You Have Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness, or vaginal atrophy, is a common cause of spotting. It occurs when vaginal tissue is no longer moist and elastic, and becomes irritated due to a change in estrogen. When the production levels of estrogen are disrupted, it can cause the vagina to feel itchy, dry and irritated. Women who are in menopause tend to experience vaginal dryness more often than women who are not. This is because their ovaries are producing less estrogen, which leads to a thinner vaginal tissue layer and a reduction in the number of lubricating glands. However, women not in menopause can experience vaginal dryness. For women who are experiencing vaginal dryness and are definitely not near perimenopause, there are many factors that can create this condition. Childbirth and its aftermath, friction during sexual intercourse, hormone treatments, contraceptives, medications such as antidepressants, and reactions to substances such as alcohol can trigger vaginal dryness. If you are still menstruating, vaginal dryness is usually nothing to worry about. If you are spotting during menopause from vaginal dryness, consult a doctor immediately.
Cancer Of The Endometrium
Cancer that affects the endometrium of the uterus can cause bleeding in women especially after 40 years. However, younger women may have prolonged heavy period, abdominal pain and vaginal pain during intercourse.
If your doctor suspects cancer as the cause of your long heavy periods, removal of the uterus or hysterectomy will be performed. Removal of the uterus with radio or chemotherapy can achieve cure if done early.
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Why Am I Bleeding But Im Not On My Period
Bleeding between menstrual periods is a common occurrence among women. Causes include hormonal surges and reductions, the use of certain medicines, pregnancy, injury, inflammation, cancer, certain forms of birth control, vaginal dryness and stress, according to About.com.
Womens reproductive health systems are complex, and small changes can cause bleeding. According to the University of Colorado OBGYN and Family Planning, hormonal changes are the most common cause of bleeding between periods. Age is a large determinant of between-period bleeding, or abnormal bleeding. Younger women experience irregular menstrual cycles, which cause confusion as to the date of the menstrual period. Menopause and pre-menopause also cause abnormal bleeding. These developmental stages come with extreme hormonal changes. Bleeding also occurs during the implantation of a zygote, according to Mayo Clinic. This is light bleeding up to two weeks after conception. Some women believe implantation bleeding to be abnormal bleeding or an irregular period.
Bleeding between periods is typically minimal, and heavy bleeding between periods requires an immediate visit to the doctor, according to the National Institute of Health. At the doctors appointment, patients should discuss the severity of bleeding, the time within the cycle that the bleeding occurs, sexual activity, other physical symptoms, and any medicines or supplements currently under consumption.
How Is Vaginal Cancer Diagnosed
Vaginal cancer may be found unexpectedly during a yearly pelvic exam or Pap smear. As part of every pelvic exam, your doctor will insert a gloved finger into your vagina while pressing down on your abdomen to look for unusual growths, pain, and tenderness.
During a Pap smear, your doctor will take a swab of cells from your cervix and vagina, to be tested for abnormalities. Unusual pain, tenderness, growths, or abnormal cells are all cause for concern, as they may be symptoms of vaginal cancer.
If your doctor suspects you have cancer, they may take a biopsy, which is a small sample of tissue, from your vagina to see if cancer cells are present. Your doctor may also order a vaginoscopy. The endoscope, or small microscope, used in this procedure will allow your doctor to examine your vagina in greater detail. CT scans and MRIs of the area may also be performed.
If your doctor diagnoses vaginal cancer, theyll determine its stage. The staging system classifies cancers based on how far theyve spread in your body. According to the Mayo Clinic, the following are the stages of vaginal cancer:
- Stage 1 vaginal cancer is limited to the vaginal wall.
- Stage 2 vaginal cancer has spread to tissue next to the vagina.
- Stage 3 vaginal cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the area, the pelvis, or both.
- Stage 4A vaginal cancer has spread to the lymph nodes in the area and the bladder, rectum, or pelvis.
- Stage 4B vaginal cancer has spread to other areas of the body.
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You Have Done Something New With Contraceptives
Millions of women in the US use some form of birth control. Spotting is a common and normal side effect if you are starting, stopping, or switching birth control medications. Estrogen helps keep the lining of the uterus in place. Changing or messing with the estrogen levels in your body as a result of varying your birth control use could lead to spotting in between periods. This type of spotting does not last for longer than 1-3 months as your body tries to adapt to the new estrogen levels.
Spotting is usually a side effect of using hormonal contraceptives which may include a combination of oral contraceptive pill, injections of long-acting artificial progesterone, a rod containing slow-release progesterone usually inserted in the upper arm, or intrauterine system devices that releases progesterone implanted into the womb. Treatments that involve progesterone alone frequently result in spotting. Spotting here usually occurs as a result of the drop in hormone levels.
When you start taking hormonal contraceptives, it is common to experience spotting around two weeks after your last period. Your periods will normally get back to the standard routine within six months. The spotting caused by hormonal contraception should usually stop after a month or two of starting but may reappear when ceasing it.
If you use hormonal contraceptives like a depot injection or rod, you may experience spotting between your first two or three periods after the installation.
What Is Metrorrhagia
Bleeding that occurs between periods or is not directly associated with your normal menstruation is referred to as metrorrhagia. This can consist of light or heavy bleeding or spotting that may be accompanied by abdominal pain or cramps. Metrorrhagia is more common for teenagers and women nearing menopause.
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What Steps To Take
Dont panic. Most women with light period may not indicate a problem if its occurring for the first time. Depending on your age, you would want to start preparing for menopause or getting used to light flow after menarche.
Improved physical fitness and eating healthy may also help.
If you are finding difficult to get pregnant, a light period could be due to polycystic ovarian syndrome. Talk to your doctor about possible options. Samples from your urine and discharge will be cultured for possible infections.
Depending on what pills you are currently taking, you will be counseled adequately by your health physician. Still confused, talk to him/her again.
Finally, unprotected sex weeks ago and scanty early period may mean pregnancy. Take a home pregnancy test. If pregnant, inform your doctor.
What Is Considered Normal Menstrual Bleeding
Most woman have a definition of what normal looks like for them. Many women already know that on average, menstrual periods last four to seven days, with a normal cycle occurring every 21 to 35 days. But did you know this interesting fact? Blood loss during a period averages about 40 ccs, or the equivalent of only three tablespoons.
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Why Do I Have Period For 2 Weeks
A normal period is between 2 days and a week. If your period lasts more than a week, then its abnormal. Also, if you continue to see your periods for two weeks, then it is prolonged. Inform your doctor. Common causes of prolonged bleeding depend on your age. A uterine fibroid is common in young women while endometrial hyperplasia and cancer are common in older women.
Other Causes Of Bleeding Irregularities
Stress and lifestyle changes Stress and lifestyle changes, such as gaining or losing weight, dieting, changing exercise routines, traveling, illness and other disruptions to your normal daily routine can impact your menstrual cycle and cause irregularities.
Birth control Going on or off birth control pills can affect your menstruation. Some women may experience irregular periods or miss periods for up to six months after stopping birth control pills. Other forms of birth control, such as IUDs, can cause period irregularities or cause your period to stop. Birth control pills that only contain progestin may cause bleeding between periods.
Medications Some anti-inflammatory drugs, anticoagulants , hormone medications or steroids can affect menstrual bleeding.
Hormone imbalances An excess of estrogen and progesterone can cause heavy bleeding. This is most common for girls in the first year or so of having her first period and for women nearing menopause.
Uterine polyps or fibroids Uterine polyps are small growths in the lining of the uterus, while fibroids are tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus. Both are usually benign but can cause heavy bleeding and pain during periods.
Endometriosis Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow outside the uterus, sometimes growing on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines or other digestive organs. This condition can cause painful bleeding, cramps and painful intercourse.
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