What Can I Do About Spotting Before My Period
Not to worry! Raising progesterone levels is often really simple. While we always recommend taking your test results to your doctor and discussing specific concerns with them, there are some natural, at-home methods to improve progesterone levels.
Here are a few of our favorites:
Diet and lifestyle changes
Try incorporating foods like spinach, beans, pumpkin, and kale into your diet to help support progesterone production. Additionally, its important to maintain moderate movement, get good sleep, and manage stress we know, easier said than done in order to promote a healthy hormone balance.
Probably the most delicious way to balance your hormones, seed cycling involves eating certain seeds during certain phases of your cycle in order to promote a healthy hormone balance. Pumpkin and flax seeds during the first half of your cycle promote estrogen production, while sesame and sunflower seeds during the second half of your cycle promote progesterone production. Anecdotal evidence suggests that seed cycling can help reduce symptoms of PMS.
There are plenty of supplements on the market targeted towards reducing PMS symptoms and spotting. Our advice is to look for supplements that contain vitex, maca, and ashwagandha, but only recommend use during the second half of your cycle. Using these herbals at the wrong time or all cycle long can do more harm than good.
You May Have A Malignant Cancer
Spotting can be a sign of malignant cancers, such as endometrial, ovarian, and cervical cancers. Endometrial cancer is the most common of the gynecological malignancies, and the most curable. It arises from the glandular tissue within the uterine lining. Unfortunately, most patients do not experience symptoms until the cancer has widely metastasized. Symptoms include fatigue, bloating, abdominal swelling, gastrointestinal issues such as gas, nausea, and indigestion, change in bowel movements, and vaginal spotting. Ovarian cancer is a growth of abnormal malignant cells that begin in the ovaries. Women with ovarian cancer report symptoms that are persistent and are abnormal for their bodies. Symptoms include bloating, pelvic or abdominal pain, difficulty eating or feeling full quickly, abnormal spotting, or urinary symptoms. Cervical cancer is detected through pap smears screenings and pelvic examinations. Vaginal spotting is the first type of symptom of the disease. Heavier vaginal bleeding, heavy vaginal discharge, and lower abdominal pain are other symptoms that occur. For all of these cancers, early detection is key. Routinely go in for frequent checks and talk to your healthcare provider if you experience any symptoms.
What To Do If You Experience Spotting
Its important to track when spotting is happening and any other symptoms to share with your clinician.
You can make a few notes in a calendar on your phone or in a planner. Write down if you notice any major changes in the bleeding pattern or if the spotting is associated with symptoms that impact your life.
See your OB/Gyn or advanced practice provider if the irregular bleeding persists, gets worse, recurs, or if you experience any postmenopausal bleeding or bleeding after sex.
Also, if this irregular bleeding is associated with other symptoms, such as easy bruising, dizziness, fever, abnormal vaginal discharge or abdominal/pelvic pain, let your clinician know.
Your clinician may perform a pelvic exam, obtain cultures or order blood tests or imaging to take a closer look. He or she may also change your medication.
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How To Prevent Spotting
Spotting is not a disease or a disorder that has a set antidote for recovery. However, if spotting appears in every menstrual cycle with cramping, bad odour or defect in colour, look for a treatment that helps you to deal with it. Research shows causes for period spotting may vary from person to person, depending on your lifestyle and stress levels. If the cause for irregular spotting is an infection, cancer, or any other serious ailment, it can lead to life-threatening consequences.
Following are some general prevention tips that will help you to control period spotting:
After diagnosing the cause of vaginal bleeding, decide the treatment for spotting. If the symptoms persist, take a blood test, hormonal test and thyroid function tests for appropriate diagnosis. For in-depth analysis, pelvic MRI is advisable to get a clear picture of fibroids or cancer development.
Does Spotting Before Your Period Mean You Could Be Pregnant
Spotting in the luteal phase is not an early sign of pregnancy, unfortunately. Its just a consequence of changing hormone levels in the cycle. Theres a lot of talk in online forums about implantation bleeding, which supposedly occurs as the embryo is attaching to the uterine wall.
But luteal phase spotting doesnt have anything to do with implantation, and should not be considered an implantation symptom. Actually, cycles that end in pregnancy are less likely to have bleeding in the luteal phase than cycles that dont.
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How Do I Know If Im Spotting Before A Period
First and foremost, lets define spotting so were all on the same page. Spotting refers to any light bleeding that occurs outside your normal period flow. So if your period was supposed to start on say a Monday, you may experience some drops of blood starting on the Saturday or Sunday before.
Typically, spotting is so light that its not nearly enough to soak a pad or pantiliner, although still noticeable. You also may only notice it when you wipe.
While spotting can be bright red, similar to your typical flow, it often is pinker or sometimes brown. It can be a little different for anyone!
Regardless, if you notice light bleeding leading up to your full on period flow, wed consider this spotting.
When To Call The Doctor
While you should feel free to call your doctor anytime you have a health-related question or concern, its helpful to know when spotting is a cause for real concern. Here are some circumstances when itd be smart to call your doctor: If you are pregnant or think you may be If you have consistent spotting If you have had unprotected sex and start spotting If you have any pain or cramping around the time of spotting If you are on any kind of medication that you think could be causing spotting
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Conditions That Can Cause Sporadic Spotting Between Periods
September 9, 2019 7:54 amPublished by Midcity OBGYN
Noticing a few spots of blood between periods can be worrisome, and although women may see spots in their underwear or on toilet tissue, there are usually benign reasons for these occurrences. Here are seven conditions that can cause sporadic spotting between periods in addition to when you should be concerned enough to seek medical advice.
You Have An Impending Miscarriage Had A Miscarriage Or Had An Abortion
Women who miscarry commonly spot before a miscarriage. A miscarriage is the loss of the pregnancy before a woman has been pregnant for 20 weeks. Women who miscarry commonly spot beforehand. In the unfortunate case of an impending miscarriage, you might experience distinct symptoms like abdominal cramping, back pain, lower abdominal pain and spotting. While, these symptoms can be common in pregnancy in the first place, in many cases, spotting and cramping can be the first indication of a miscarriage.
If the vaginal bleeding becomes heavier and includes clots or when the blood color is altered, it is no longer considered spotting and most likely represents a miscarriage. It is usually possible between 5 to 6 weeks of pregnancy. If youre concerned about a potential miscarriage, you should visit your primary care physician or OB/GYN. He or she might recommend an ultrasound of the uterus or blood tests to follow changes in pregnancy hormones. Unfortunately, a miscarriage in process cannot be stopped. Treatment may involve watching the symptoms until they pass. Sometimes, it is necessary to take medication or have a surgery to remove any remaining pregnancy contents from the uterus. Women with a negative blood type , need an injection of a drug called Rh immune globulin to help prevent problems in future pregnancies.
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The Difference Between Spotting And Your Period
Generally, periods come every 21 to 35 days. Some women have shorter periods that last up to 2 days, while others menstruate for up to 7 days. Still others can bleed for even longer but this is a sign of a heavy period and, although common, is not normal and can indicate that there are underlying reproductive issues.
The first day of your period is considered day 1 of your monthly cycle and is often accompanied by period pains: headaches, cramps, cravings, and the like. Though it may seem like youre bleeding out, the amount of blood women release is usually between 4 and 7 tablespoons. The color of period blood can range but is typically red or, if your uterus is shedding off old tissue, brown.
On the other hand, spotting can occur at any time during your monthly cycle and is most likely going to be just a few drops of blood throughout the day. Spotting blood is usually either light pink or dark brown. Though cramps and periods seem to be best buds, you probably wont feel any pain if youre spottingunless you are experiencing implantation spotting but well get to that.
Now that youre clear on the differences between spotting and having your period, lets move on to the really important stuff: why youre spotting at different times throughout your menstrual cycle.
You Might Have Endometrial Hyperplasia
If you have spotting after menopause, dont ignore it: Any time you experience vaginal bleeding post-menopause, see your physician for at least a physical exam, Dr. Andrews says. Depending on the diagnosis she suspects, she may suggest a trans-vaginal ultrasound.
One possibility is endometrial hyperplasia, a precancerous condition that causes the uterine lining to become extra thick. As the lining builds up, some spotting may occur, says Dr. Andrews. Endometrial hyperplasia is sometimes treated with progestin to shed the thickened lining. Your doctor can determine if certain abnormal cells that increase your cancer risk are present if they are, and as long as you aren’t planning on having children, he may recommend a hysterectomy.
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Diagnosing Spotting Before Your Period
Doctors often begin diagnosis by asking you a few questions about your medical history and lifestyle and doing a physical exam. This can help them rule out any immediately obvious causes for your spotting.
After that, there are a number of different tests that can be used to find the problem. These may include:
- Transvaginal ultrasound: A small device is carefully inserted into the vagina to take detailed pictures of the uterus and ovaries and look for any abnormalities.
- Sonohysterography: A saline solution is injected into the uterus to create an image of the endometrium, the lining of the uterus, and look for any polyps or other objects that might be causing the spotting.
- Endometrial biopsy: A tissue sample is removed from the endometrium to test it for cancer or other potential issues.
Your doctor may also test your blood and hormone levels to narrow down the source of your spotting.
Signs And Symptoms Of Spotting Before Your Period
Spotting between periods is always a cause of at least some concern. Spotting between periods is itself considered a symptom. But if it accompanies other menstrual symptoms, this could be a sign of a larger issue. Even if the underlying cause turns out to be normal, youll want to have it tested and diagnosed. Symptoms that may accompany spotting include:
- Very heavy or frequent bleeding
Whether youve gone through menopause is also an important factor to consider. Postmenopausal women see an increase of 10% in their overall cancer risk, and bleeding is one of the signs that doctors look for. Cancer seldom causes spotting between periods in premenopausal women.
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Starting Or Changing Birth Control Methods
In this particular case, you may see spotting throughout your cycle or right before your period, which is also known as breakthrough bleeding. All types of birth control can cause this situation including the pill, IUD, the patch, a vaginal ring, or an implant.
This sporadic spotting between periods is caused by the introduction of estrogen present in the birth control medication. It will usually resolve itself within a few months time. Should you continue to have spotting beyond that time, see Mid-City OB-GYN for a diagnosis.
Implantation Bleeding Vs Period Bleeding: How To Tell The Difference
Since implantation bleeding is a symptom that can often occur before you test positive on a pregnancy test, it can be hard to know whether light bleeding is an early sign of pregnancy or just normal spotting leading up to your period. And unfortunately, theres no conclusive way to find out.
The best way to know whether youre pregnant or not is to wait a few more days and take a pregnancy test. The timing of when you last had sex might also help you figure it out. If its been more than two weeks, its unlikely that any spotting you’re having is implantation bleeding.
About a third of women who report having experienced implantation bleeding often describe it as distinct from their usual premenstrual spotting some say the blood is darker and not as red compared with normal period blood. Others have mild cramping at the same time as the spotting.
But for many women, the two types of bleeding arent different at all. So youre not alone if you assume that some spotting is implantation bleeding and get your period a few days later, or if you assume that implantation bleeding is normal spotting and end up being pregnant!
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Im Spotting In The Week Before My Period Or Im Spotting When I Get Stressed
This is the most common type of spotting and can also be very normal. If you are noticing some light spotting one day before your period begins, this may not be cause for concern. However, spotting for longer than a day before your period begins , you may be experiencing low progesterone levels, or progesterone deficiency.
The key role of progesterone is to hold tightly onto the lining of your uterus to prepare for a possible embryo implantation. In a healthy cycle where you dont fall pregnant, after around 10-15 days your progesterone levels plummet, triggering the lining of your uterus to shed in the form of your period.
When progesterone levels are too low, small parts of the lining of your uterus can start to break away before your period officially begins. This is seen in the form of light spotting before your period, and usually occurs within 7-10 days of your period.
The number one contributor to low progesterone levels is S.T.R.E.S.S. To find out more about the connection between period problems, stress and low progesterone, check out my blog here.
Stress impacts our cycles in many ways, but one common scenario is for stress to delay or halt ovulation. This happens because your body decides that now is not a great time for you to fall pregnant due to your relentless stress, so shuts down ovulation. Because your uterine lining has already begun to develop by this point, it can become too thick causing small parts of the lining to be shed in the form of spotting.