Is Spotting Before Your Period Normal?
Updated: Sep 7
Imagine going about your usual daily activities and during your bathroom break, you notice you are bleeding mid-cycle. It’s certainly not time for your period, The Grace app can confirm that. In fact, you are expecting your period in about two weeks! Then why are you bleeding? Could something be wrong with your reproductive health? Relax, Do not panic. Chances are you are spotting! Most times it doesn’t point to a medical issue but it’s vital to note what’s happening to be able to understand what’s causing it.
What’s the difference between spotting and menstrual bleeding?
The main difference between the two is the flow of blood. During your period, the flow of blood will usually be heavy enough that you’ll have to wear a sanitary pad or tampon to avoid staining your underwear and clothes. Spotting is much lighter. Normally, you won’t produce enough blood to soak through a panty liner. The colour may be lighter than a period, too.
Something else that could help tell whether you’re spotting or starting your period is by looking at your other symptoms. Before or during your period you may have symptoms like:
What causes spotting before your period?
A period occurs when your uterine lining sheds at the beginning of your monthly cycle.
Spotting can be caused by:
Ovulation - Some women notice light spotting when they ovulate
Pregnancy - Some women have spotting during the first three months of their pregnancy. The blood appears in the first few days of pregnancy when the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining. Many women mistake this implantation bleeding for a period because it happens so early they don’t realize they’re pregnant.
Birth Control - This can cause spotting, especially when you first start using them or you switch to a new one. Spotting is also common in women who have an intrauterine device (IUD).
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) - Spotting is a common symptom of PCOS, a condition in which your ovaries produce extra male hormones.
Infections - Infection of your vagina, cervix or another part of your reproductive tract can sometimes make your spot. Bacteria, viruses, and yeast may all cause infections.
Uterine fibroids - Fibroids are small, noncancerous lumps that can form on the outside or inside of the uterus. They can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding, including spotting in between periods.
Cervical polyps - A polyp is a growth that forms on the cervix. It isn’t cancerous, but it can bleed. During pregnancy, polyps are more likely to bleed because of changing hormone levels
Menopause - During this time, your periods will likely be more unpredictable than usual. This is due to fluctuating hormone levels. The bleeding should stop once you’re in full menopause.
Rough sex or sexual assault - Any damage to the lining of the vagina can make you bleed a little.
When I’m I most likely to notice spotting?
When you’ve just started your period
When you are pregnant
When you recently switched birth control methods
When you have an IUD
When you have an infection of the cervix, vagina, or another part of the reproductive tract
When you have PID, PCOS, or uterine fibroids
When should I see a doctor?
The rule of thumb is to see a doctor if you have unexplained spotting between periods. Although it may be nothing to worry about and with time it may go away on its own, it could also be a sign of something serious.
Visit a doctor if you experience one of the following symptoms in addition to spotting:
Different factors can cause spotting before your period. Some may require medical attention others not so much or at all. As common as it may seem, vaginal bleeding outside your period could be a medical condition or a sign of pregnancy. See your doctor when you experience unusual spotting before your period.
Stay informed, stay in control Have you experienced spotting before? Share in the comments