Because of this, spotting can occur between periods. (2023)

Spotting is generally defined as vaginal bleeding that occurs at a time other thanduring your period. These episodes are usually shorter and lighter than normal menstruation, but depending on the cause of the bleeding, they can also be accompanied by cramps.1

While bleeding between periods can be uncomfortable, it's not usually a cause for concern and is usually treatable. However, sometimes the spots can be a sign of a serious medical condition.

Because of this, spotting can occur between periods. (1)

The spots appear for a variety of reasons. It could be a common sign of a number of medical conditions or lifestyle changes, or more rarely, an indication that something is wrong.

hormonal contraception

with hormonalbirth controlsuch as the pill, implant, injection or intrauterine device (IUD) is a common cause of spotting. With the IUD and the pill, the spotting usually gets better three to six months after it starts. Discoloration from implants and injections may or may not subside with continued use.2

This side effect is usually not harmful. But if it's particularly bothersome, talk to a doctor about treatment options, including switching birth control methods, using ibuprofen, or adding short-term estrogen treatment.3

certain diseases

Some underlying health conditions that disrupt hormone levels can cause spots. This includes hypothyroidism, when the thyroid produces too few hormones andPCO-Syndrom(PCOS), a hormonal imbalance that affects ovulation.4,5Once diagnosed, these conditions can be treated with medications that help regulate hormones, which reduces spotting.

(Video) Why am I Spotting Between Periods?

The pregnancy

Your periods stop when you're pregnant, but it's actually pretty common to have spotting, especially on theearly stages of pregnancy. Data suggests that about one in four pregnant women will experience bleeding in the first trimester.6

The process of implantation of the fertilized egg in the lining of the uterus can cause the spotting. Spotting can occur one to two weeks after conception. Early spotting can also occur because more blood vessels develop in the cervix, making it more prone to bleeding.7

While bleeding late in pregnancy can be a concern, bleeding in early pregnancy is usually not. Still, it's important to contact your doctor if you experience bleeding at any time during your pregnancy.7

All the pregnancy signs you should know


Several types of medication can cause stains, including:8,9

  • Hormone therapy
  • Tamoxifen, a drug for early breast cancer
  • anticoagulants
  • Certain antidepressants and antipsychotics
  • Single-use emergency contraceptive pills, such as Plan B

Always consult a doctor before stopping any self-prescribed medication.

Uterine fibroids or polyps

Two different types of tumors in the uterus, known as uterine fibroids and uterine polyps (endometrium), can cause spotting and sometimes cramps.10,11These masses are usually small, noncancerous, and otherwise not very bothersome. Both are more likely to develop with age and can be treated with medication or, in severe cases, surgery.8,12

(Video) What Is Spotting? Causes, Symptoms & When to See a Doctor

Sexually Transmitted Disease

Certain sexually transmitted infections (STDs), such as chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. If these STDs are causing your spotting, you'll likely also notice unusual vaginal discharge and sometimes a burning sensation when you urinate.13,14STDs can be diagnosed through testing with a doctor who can recommend themtreatment optionsto clear the infection.


Some may experience spotting during ovulation. This is the point in your menstrual cycle when your ovaries release an egg. This type of bleeding lasts one to two days and is sometimes accompanied by cramps.15


It's not uncommon to noticespots after sex. It is thought to affect up to 9% of women. This can be attributed to a number of factors such as:sixteen

  • A thin or dry vaginal wall
  • endometriosis
  • benign polyps
  • inflammation, e.g. B. by an infection.

injury or trauma

Any type of injury to the vaginal area can cause spotting. Although sexual trauma is a possible cause, keep in mind that routine activities like a Pap smear or rough sex can also cause bleeding.12,17Monitor the bleeding and contact a healthcare professional if it doesn't stop or is accompanied by pain.


The years before your last menstrual period are calledPerimenopause. It usually starts when someone is in their 40s or 40s.18

During this time, hormone levels may fluctuate more than normal. This leads to changes in periods that can include spotting. But unlike flow changes and missed periods, menstruation is not considered a normal part of perimenopause and should be consulted with a doctor as it can be a sign of a medical condition.19

Other signs and symptoms of perimenopause include vaginal dryness, trouble sleeping, and hot flashes, all of which can be managed with options like medication, hormone therapy, and lifestyle changes.18


physically uemotional stressit can affect your body and your menstrual cycle. Experts believe that high levels of stress can disrupt the hormonal regulation of your cycle and cause spotting.20Spotting between periods can also occur with lifestyle changes, such as B. with your diet or a new exercise routine.12

(Video) SPOTTING between your periods? What It Is + Why It Happens!

miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy

If you may be pregnant, increased spotting, along with cramps, may indicate a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, where a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus.21,22

Other signs of a miscarriage include abdominal pain and fluid or tissue leaking from the vagina.23Other signs of an ectopic pregnancy include back pain and mild abdominal or pelvic pain.22

Both can be emergencies. So if you notice any of these symptoms, call a doctor right away for proper medical attention.

Endometrial, cervical, or ovarian cancer

In rare cases, spotting can be a symptom of certain types of cancer, such as B. endometrial (uterine), cervical, or cervical cancer.ovarian cancer. With gynecologic cancer, you may also notice other serious symptoms, such as pain, which can get worse over time.24If you're past menopause or have a family history of these cancers, this risk may be higher, so it's best to see a doctor.25

When to consult a doctor

While occasional spotting doesn't usually indicate a serious problem, it's a good idea to see a doctor if you notice any unusual vaginal bleeding.

Consider tracking your symptoms to help your doctor make a diagnosis. Note:12

  • Details about your typical menstrual cycle, such as: B. the length and consistency of the river.
  • The number of times you noticed spots
  • Any additional symptoms, such as cramps

See a doctor as soon as possible if the spot:26

  • Severe, persistent or worsening
  • Associated with other symptoms such as dizziness, fever, fatigue or abdominal pain
  • Continue after menopause

Bleeding isn't usually a cause for concern, especially if you've recently started taking hormonal birth control pills, but there's a chance it's a sign of something more serious, such as: B. a sexually transmitted infection, a thyroid problem or (in rare cases) cancer. . .

(Video) What can cause bleeding between periods?

It's worth seeing a doctor if your spotting is unusual or bothersome, as treatment options or birth control alternatives are available. In the meantime, try to keep track of the days and symptoms of the spotting.


  1. Fraser IS, Critchley HO, Broder M, Munro MG.FIGO recommendations on terminology and definitions for normal and abnormal uterine bleeding.Semin Reprod Med. 2011;29(5):383-390.
  2. Curtis KM, Jatlaoui TC, Tepper NK, et al.Selected U.S. Best Practices for Contraceptive Use, 2016.MMWR Referral Representative. 2016;65(4):1-66. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.rr6504a1.
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Treatment of women with irregular bleeding while using contraceptives.
  4. Thakur M., Maharjan M., Tuladhar H., et al. TThyroid dysfunction in patients with abnormal uterine bleeding in a third-level hospital: a descriptive cross-sectional study.JNMA J Nepal Med Assoc. 2020;58(225):333–337. doi:10.31729/jnma.5033.
  5. Harris HR, Titus LJ, Cramer DW, Terry KL.Long and irregular menstrual cycles, polycystic ovary syndrome and ovarian cancer risk in a population-based case-control study..Int J Krebs. 2017;140(2):285-291. doi:10.1002/ijc.30441.
  6. Hendriks E., MacNaughton H., MacKenzie MC.First trimester bleeding: assessment and treatment.Bin Fam Medical. 2019;99(3):166-174.
  7. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.bleeding during pregnancy.
  8. Wouk N., Helton M.Abnormal uterine bleeding in premenopausal women.Bin Fam Medical. 2019;99(7):435-443. PMID: 30932448.
  9. Medline Plus.emergency contraception.
  10. Secretary for Women's Health.fibroids.
  11. Nijkang Nationalpark, Anderson L., Markham R., Manconi F.Endometrial polyps: pathogenesis, consequences and treatment.SAGE Open Med. 2019;7:2050312119848247. doi:10.1177/2050312119848247.
  12. Medline Plus.Vaginal or uterine bleeding.
  13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Gonorrhea - CDC fact sheet.
  14. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Chlamydia – CDC Basic Fact Sheet.
  15. Dasharathy SS, Mumford SL, Pollack AZ, et al.Patterns of menstrual bleeding in women with regular menses.Bin J Epidemiology. . . . 2012;175(6):536-545. doi:10.1093/age/kwr356.
  16. Tarney CM, Han J.Postcoital hemorrhage: a review of etiology, diagnosis, and treatment.Obstetrics Gynecol Int. 2014;2014:192087. doi: 10.1155/2014/192087.
  17. Medline Plus.Papillae.
  18. Secretary for Women's Health.Menopause Basics.
  19. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Bleeding in perimenopause and bleeding after menopause.
  20. Rafique N., Al-Sheikh MH.Prevalence of menstrual cramps and their association with psychological stress in young health science students. Saudi Med J. 2018;39(1):67-73. doi:10.15537/smj.2018.1.21438.
  21. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.early pregnancy loss.
  22. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.ectopic pregnancy.
  23. Medline Plus.spontaneous abortion.
  24. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Basic information about gynecological cancer.
  25. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.Bleeding in perimenopause and bleeding after menopause.
  26. Secretary for Women's Health.menstrual cramps.

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