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What Does Spotting Mean? – Reasons For Spotting Before Periods

You did the calculations, and your periods are supposed to be next week, so what’s up with the completely random spotting you see in your panties today? Yeah, spotting before periods is a frustrating bodily function that you may, or may not understand.For all those times you had to change out of your fresh pair of panties, for all those times you panicked in your white jeans, for all those times you worried something went wrong with your reproductive system, we’re going to set the record straight! We researched and have put down everything you need to know about spotting! You can thank us later. :)

What is spotting?

First, let’s define what’s ‘spotting’ to make sure everyone’s on the same page. Spotting is the light vaginal bleeding that can occur outside your bleeding period, and at almost any time during the entirety of your menstrual cycle.

But how to identify spotting?

Here are some easy tips to help identify spotting:
  • Color: Spotting often appears light pink, brown, or red in color. It may sometimes also resemble the color of old blood.
  • Flow: Very light flow, as we’ve already seen.
  • Duration: May last for a few hours to a couple of days.
  • Timing: Spotting can occur at different times in your menstrual cycle.
  • Consistency: Spotting is generally lighter and thinner than regular menstrual flow. It may appear as small spots or streaks on toilet paper or underwear.

What is the difference between spotting and your period?

The line between spotting and period bleedings can get kind of confusing, but the biggest distinction between them both is the amount of blood.Spotting is the few drops of blood you notice on your panties every now and then and might not require any sanitary pads or sanitary products. While a period bleeding can last for several days and requires sanitary products to control the flow.

What Causes Spotting Between Periods?

There are several reasons for spotting before period. Some of the causes are harmless while some are not. Below we will take a look at some of the most common spotting causes:
  • Changes in hormone levels

In a perfect world, the menstrual cycle comes and goes like a clockwork on a fixed 28-day cycle. Your period will last for about 3 to 5 days. You would find no bleeding out of the scheduled bloody week.But menstrual cycle is, unfortunately, ruled by the hormone levels in your body, and hormones go crazy at the slightest unusual stimulation. Any sudden, unexpected fluctuation in your hormone levels can cause bleeding or spotting.Among the many reasons for hormonal changes which are entirely harmless– is the use of birth control, like contraceptive pills, patches, rings, injections and implants. You are likely to notice spotting throughout your cycle if you start, stop, skip or change to a new birth control method. It might take a few months for your body to adjust and return to normal.
  • Uterine fibroids

Uterine fibroids are the non-cancerous growths in the uterus that can develop during a woman’s childbearing years. They are very common and can cause spotting between your periods. In some cases, they can also affect fertility, making it harder to get pregnant and keep a pregnancy. A good thing about fibroids is that they can shrink and disappear on their own.
  • Endometriosis

Endometrium is the layer of tissue that lines the uterus, this layer sheds and causes you to experience a period.Endometriosis is a condition where endometrium-like tissue grows outside the uterus in areas such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissues lining the pelvis. Apart from spotting they can also have other concerning symptoms like pelvic and abdominal cramping, heavy periods and infertility. You need to get a diagnosis and treatment from your ob-gyn if you suffer from endometriosis.

What Are Some Common Causes of Spotting?

  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • PCOS
  • Stress
Spotting can also be an early sign of pregnancy. This kind of spotting is called implantation bleeding and typically occurs 1 to 2 weeks after conception. If you are spotting and think you might be pregnant, consult your doctor or take a pregnancy test at home!

When to seek help?

In most cases, spotting is more of a nuisance than a medical emergency. However, if you suspect that it could be a sign of something serious like infections then it’s a good idea to visit your doctor and get your suspicions cleared.Keep track of when your spotting occurs and its accompanying symptoms (if any) to give a full report to your doctor, this makes diagnosis and treatment easier.The ‘symptoms’ we mentioned, that can accompany spotting include:
  • Pelvic and abdominal pain
  • Dizziness
  • Fever
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Easy bruising of your genitals
  • Shortness of breath

Treatment of Spotting before Period

Your treatment will depend entirely on what’s causing your spotting and its symptoms. However, most instances of spotting before your period are completely harmless and do not require any medical intervention. But if you are worried about something serious like infections or sexually transmitted diseases then seeing a doctor is the best approach.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do you know if you’re spotting?

If you notice bleeding off cycle and it’s not as heavy as your regular period, then you should know it’s spotting.

What does spotting look like?

Spotting can look bright red in color similar to your normal period bleeding. Sometimes, it can also be pink and brown in color. Regardless, if the bleeding is very light, we will consider it spotting.

What does spotting before period mean?

Nothing much really. Your body could just be going through some hormonal imbalance and should return to normal eventually. We have listed some possible causes that can cause spotting in this very blog, we recommend you give it a read.

What are the causes of spotting?

Here are some common causes of spotting:
  • Hormone changes
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Diseases
  • PCOS
  • Stress
  • Sign of pregnancy (Implantation bleeding)

Should I be worried if I am spotting?

No, spotting is usually normal. If you are worried your spotting could be a sign of some other serious condition, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor about it.

What does pregnancy spotting look like VS period?

Pregnancy spotting, or implantation bleeding, is usually pink, red or dark brown in color and looks lighter than your period flow.

Does spotting mean you are pregnant?

Spotting can be a possible sign of pregnancy, but it doesn't definitively indicate pregnancy on its own. Spotting can occur for various reasons, including hormonal changes, uterine fibroids, stress, or as a result of other factors unrelated to pregnancy. If you suspect you might be pregnant, it is best to take a pregnancy test or consult with a healthcare professional for a definitive answer.

Do I need to see a doctor for my spotting?

If you are concerned about your spotting, then It's always best to seek professional advice to ensure your health and well-being. While spotting can be normal and harmless in many cases, it can also indicate an underlying issue that might require medical attention, such as PCOS, STDs, endometriosis, etc. A doctor can help determine the cause of the spotting based on your medical history, symptoms, and any additional tests that may be necessary.


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