What causes spotting between periods?

What causes spotting between periods?

Ever had a period, that wasn’t quite a period?

Spotting between periods is a common concern for many women, often causing worry and confusion. While it’s usually not a sign of anything serious, it’s important to understand the possible causes.

Today we’re going to look at what spotting is, its potential causes, and when to talk to your nurse or doctor.

What is spotting?

Spotting is light bleeding that occurs outside of your usual period. It can vary in colour from light pink to brown and you usually don’t need to use a pad or tampon, although a pantyliner might be helpful.

Spotting can happen at any time during your menstrual cycle and for a number of reasons.

Common causes of spotting

1. Hormonal fluctuations

Hormonal changes are one of the most common causes of spotting. 

These can occur due to:

  • Ovulation: Around the middle of your cycle, you may experience light spotting when an egg is released from the ovary.

  • Birth control: Starting, stopping, or changing hormonal contraceptives can cause spotting as your body adjusts.

  • Perimenopause: The transition to menopause can cause irregular periods and spotting due to changing hormone levels.
2. Implantation bleeding

When a fertilised egg attaches to the lining of the uterus, some women experience light spotting known as implantation bleeding. This typically happens around the time your period would be due, which can sometimes be mistaken for a very light period.

3. Infections

Infections of the reproductive organs, such as bacterial vaginosis, yeast infections, or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) like chlamydia or gonorrhoea, can cause spotting.

These infections can lead to inflammation and irritation, resulting in light bleeding. 

If you suspect you have an STI, contact your Doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.

4. Stress

High levels of stress can affect your menstrual cycle, potentially causing irregularities. Stress can influence the balance of hormones in your body, leading to changes in your cycle.

5. Thyroid issues

Thyroid disorders can disrupt your menstrual cycle and cause spotting. The thyroid gland plays a key role in regulating your body’s hormones, so any imbalance can affect your period.

6. Pregnancy complications

Spotting can sometimes be an early sign of pregnancy complications such as miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. If you suspect you’re pregnant and experience spotting, it’s important to seek medical advice.

When should you see a Doctor for spotting?

While occasional spotting is usually not a cause for concern, there are times when you should see a doctor:

  1. Frequent or heavy spotting: If you experience spotting frequently or it becomes heavier, it’s worth getting checked out.
  2. Pain or discomfort: If spotting is accompanied by pain, cramping, or discomfort, it may be due to an underlying issue.
  3. Unusual symptoms: If you have other symptoms like unusual vaginal discharge, fever, or fatigue, consult your healthcare provider.
  4. Pregnancy: If you suspect you’re pregnant and experience any bleeding, seek medical advice to rule out complications.

Spotting between periods can be caused by a number of factors, from hormonal fluctuations to infections and stress. It’s important to see a Doctor any time you have abnormal vaginal bleeding to rule out more serious health conditions.

Remember, your body is unique, and what’s normal for one person might not be for another. Paying attention to your menstrual cycle and any changes can help you maintain better overall health and well-being.