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.
How K Health Can Help
Spotting can be concerning when youre not sure whats causing it. Did you know you can get affordable primary care with the K Health app? Download K to check your symptoms, explore conditions and treatments, and if needed text with a doctor in minutes. K Healths AI-powered app is HIPAA compliant and based on 20 years of clinical data.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
You Have A Urethral Prolapse
The urethra is a tube that connects your bladder to the outside of your body which carries urine from the bladder to the urethral opening. Urethral prolapse occurs when the inner lining of your urethra protrudes through the opening of the urethra. Because of this, the opening of your urethra can resemble a pink donut or ball and seem larger and more swollen than normal. This can cause irritation in the vagina, causing small amounts of blood, or spotting, to occur. This is easily treatable with treatments such as estrogen cream, sitz baths, and antibiotics.
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Reasons Why You Are Spotting Before Your Period
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Spotting before periods is a frustrating bodily function that women may or may not understand. For all those times you had to throw out a new pair of underwear, for all those times you panicked in your white jeans, and for all those times you thought there was something wrong with your reproductive system, were setting the record straight. We have dived into the top 29 reasons why you would spot before your period. But first, we need to define spotting and understand how it affects you and your body.
You Are Experiencing Ovulation Spotting
Ovulation spotting is very regular for certain women and is nothing to be worried about. Women can notice spotting a day or two into ovulating. When you ovulate, it is common to experience light spotting, usually pale pink in color. There are several potential reasons for ovulation spotting. For example, it can be caused by the surfacing of ovarian follicles. When a follicle matures and bursts, it can cause mild pain and some light bleeding. An increase in your estrogen levels during ovulation can result in light spotting or bleeding. It is also important to note that ovulation time is when you are most fertile. Be sure not to mistake this type of spotting with menstrual spotting!
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When To Worry About Spotting Before Period
As mentioned already, you usually don’t have to worry a lot about spotting. It is, however, important to pay attention to how heavy your vaginal bleeding is. If you’re experiencing light spotting, this should not worry you at all. The issue should resolve on its own without any medical help. In case you’re experiencing heavy vaginal bleeding between periods that make you change your menstrual pads every hour, you should go see your doctor for further evaluation.
Here are some specific cases when you should consult with your doctor:
- Excessive vaginal bleeding that lasts more than three days
- Light spotting that continues for at least three menstrual cycles
- Any vaginal bleeding with a pattern different from your typical pattern
- Vaginal bleeding that hits you more frequently than every three weeks
- Heavy bleeding soon after a sex session
- Vaginal bleeding after completing menopause
These are some of the cases when you should let your doctor know about your condition. They will ask you some questions, look for other symptoms, diagnose your problem, and select an appropriate treatment option.
You’re Dealing With Fibroids
Uterine fibroids are benign growths that appear in or close to the uterus, as Women’s Health reported previously. When women visit their gyno and end up discovering they have fibroids, it often has to do with the fact that they were experiencing abnormal bleeding and heavy periods that last longer than a week.
Fibroids tend to bring on other symptoms in addition to abnormal bleeding. Those may include pelvic pain or pressure, constipation, the need to pee frequently, and more, according to the Mayo Clinic. So if you have bleeding when your period should not be happening, not to mention any of these other symptoms, see your MD. You can get diagnosed via an ultrasound and lab tests.
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Tampons And Pads Arent Your Only Choices
You have more options to help you manage that time of the month.
A menstrual cup is a flexible cup that fits inside your vagina and collects blood during your period. Period panties are super-absorbent, and you can wear them on their own on your lighter days or with a tampon during heavier times. Reusable cloth pads can be washed and worn again.
These products can be cost-savers, since you can reuse them, and they also create less waste. In some cases, they give you more time between changes. For example, you need to change a tampon every 4 to 8 hours, but you may be able to go up to 12 hours with a menstrual cup before you empty it.
There are pros and cons to all these options, just as there are with tampons and pads. But you can find one that works best for you with some trial and error.
Youre On A New Birth Control
Youre more likely to see spotting throughout your entire cycle if you started a new type of BC, Dr. Minkin says, but this could also cause spotting right before your period specifically. This is called breakthrough bleeding, and the estrogen in your birth control is to blame.
Breakthrough bleeding should resolve on its own in a few months after you start your new BC. If it goes on longer than that, Dr. Minkin suggests talking to your doc, who may recommend a birth-control method with a lower amount of estrogen.
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What Does Spotting Before Your Period Look Like Vs Bleeding
But first, what is spotting? Spotting is any light bleeding from the vagina that happens outside of your usual period. The amount and frequency of spotting can vary from person to person.
However, in general, there are some signs to look out for to know when it’s considered spotting:
On average, a woman bleeds about 5-80 mL during her period. This bleeding is usually bright to dark red and can turn brown at the beginning or end of her period.
On the other hand, spotting is typically light pink or brown and is only about a teaspoon or so. In other words, rather than a whole pad or tampon being saturated like a period, you may only see a few spots of blood on your underwear. It usually fills no more than 1 pad per day.
If you are saturating through more than a pad per day, that’s when it’s considered bleeding.
Back to basics: What is a period? When not taking birth control, a period, or menstruation, is bleeding from the vagina that happens cyclically. Approximately every month the ovaries release a dominant egg. This starts a hormonal cycle that results in a period if conception does not occur. But if no pregnancy happens, the uterus sheds its lining every month. Menses, or the contents of your period is more than just blood, it also contains tissue from the lining of the uterus.
Possible Causes Of Spotting Before Periods
Spotting has a number of possible causes. Here are some of the most common:
Most causes of spotting are nothing to worry about and require no medical intervention. In rare cases, spotting could be the result of a more serious underlying condition that needs attention and/or treatment.
If youre concerned about any of the conditions above or youre worried about spotting for any other reason, dont hesitate to make an appointment with your health care provider.
Early Signs You’re Pregnant Before A Missed Period
Early pregnancy symptoms can overlap with common body changes, such as PMS. Here’s how to tell the difference.
Your menstrual cycle is your body’s monthly preparation for pregnancy — if you get pregnant, the lining in your uterus has a job to do and you won’t experience any typical menstrual bleeding. But while a missed period is many people’s first signal that they’re pregnant, it often isn’t the first clue your body gives you.
In the first weeks of pregnancy , the body starts producing a lot of hormones that can affect you physically and mentally. In addition to amping up its regular production of progesterone and estrogen, your body starts producing new ones, including human placental lactogen and human chorionic gonadotropin .
While your body is in hormonal overdrive during early pregnancy, you may feel some side effects. But if hormones are to blame, how do you tell if it’s PMS, ovulation symptoms or something else completely? Below, we outline some signals you might notice from your body during early pregnancy, before you even take a pregnancy test.
Can Implantation Occur 4 Days Before Period
Implantation bleeding is generally light and short, just a few days worth. It usually occurs 10-14 days after conception, or around the time of your missed period. However, vaginal bleeding has been reported anytime in the first eight weeks of pregnancy. Spotting is also common before the start of a menstrual period.
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You Have A Delayed Or Partial Period
During a normal period, the blood coming from the vagina consists of old blood, endometrial lining, and dead tissue. When you have a delayed or partial period, your monthly flushing does not complete and leaves a small amount of lining behind. This lining is left in the uterus for up to a month. When this remaining tissue finally expels, it leaves behind a brownish or pinkish color, or spotting. Again, while you may be alarmed and confused, this type of spotting is normal.
Should I Worry About Irregular Periods
Talk to your doctor if you have had sex and have missed a period because you could be pregnant. Also let the doctor know if:
- You were having regular periods that then become irregular.
- You stop getting your period.
- You have extra hair growth on the face, chin, chest, or abdomen.
- You start having periods that last longer than 7 days, are heavy, or are coming more often than every 21 days.
- Your period comes less often than every 45 days.
- You have severe cramping or abdominal pain.
- You have bleeding in between your periods.
- Your periods are irregular for 3 years or more.
The doctor may prescribe hormone pills or other medicines, or recommend lifestyle changes that can help you to have regular periods.
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Should I Take A Pregnancy Test
If youre of reproductive age, and you think pregnancy might be the reason youre spotting, you can take an at-home test. Pregnancy tests measure the amount of human chorionic gonadotropin in your urine. This hormone rises rapidly when youre pregnant.
If your test comes back positive, make an appointment with your OB-GYN to confirm the results. 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.
What To Do When You Get Your Period
Before you start getting periods it is good to be prepared for when it eventually comes. Hopefully you will have an opportunity to talk with your mother or sister or someone else in your family who can help you to prepare. Meanwhile here are some tips for when you do start bleeding.
- Use sanitary products like a pad, tampon or panty liner to absorb the bleeding. Pads and liners are longs strips of cotton that you stick to your underwear. Tampons are thin cylinders of dense cotton attached to a string that you put inside your vagina. Pads, liners and tampons come in different shapes and sizes but all of them need to be changed every four to six hours to stop leakage. You can use a tampon whenever you want, you don’t have to wait until you start having sex before a tampon will go in. It may be a little hard to get it in to begin with, but you will get used to it very quickly.
- Keep a period kit somewhere handy. This is because you might get your period unexpectedly or forget its due. Keeping some painkillers, sanitary products and a spare pair of underpants in your bag, at school or at work can be a lifesaver.
- Enjoy life as much as possible. Its safe and often possible to do all the things you would normally do. Its also okay to have sex when you have your period, but if youre using a tampon youll need to take it out first.
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