Common causes of stains and how to track them (2023)

The most important thing to know:

  • Spotting is any bloody discharge from the vagina that does not require the use of menstrual products such as pads or tampons.

  • Any unexplained spotting should be discussed with your doctor.

  • Spotting can be a side effect of your hormonal birth control.

  • If you are pregnant and have spots or spots, you should contact your doctor.

What is the difference between menstruation, spotting and spotting?

The lines between menstrual bleeding (i.e. your period), spotting and spotting can get a little blurred, and you may have read a lot of conflicting information.

Menstrual bleeding is bleeding associated with endometrial detachment at the end of the menstrual cycle (1). It usually occurs every 24 to 38 days and lasts up to eight days (1).

Spontaneous bleeding (so heavy that you have to use a sanitary napkin or tampon) that occurs between menstrual periods is called spontaneous bleedingbreakthrough bleedingand can be cyclic or random (1). If you experience spotting, speak to your doctor, as it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition (1).

You can track spotting bleeding with a custom label in Clue. To create a custom tag, go to "Track" and select "Tags". To receiveto know moreto track multiple custom tags.

Spotting has different definitions depending on who you ask.

Track your period to know your menstrual cycle.

  • Common causes of stains and how to track them (4)
  • Common causes of stains and how to track them (5)
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Common causes of stains and how to track them (6)

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So what is coloring?

Researchers and healthcare professionals define spotting as any bloody vaginal discharge that is not large enough in volume to require sanitary protection (i.e., you don't need to use a pad or tampon) (2).

However, this definition can be confusing. Some people may choose to use daily guards when discoloration occurs. However, if you have to wet a sanitary napkin or use a pad or tampon, it probably won't stain.

In theory, spotting could happen anytime during your cycle, around your period or between periods.

What is the difference between spotting and light menstrual bleeding?

The most practical way to distinguish spotting from menstrual bleeding is to observe the amount.

Spotting refers to a very small amount of bloody vaginal discharge that usually looks like a few drops of blood on your underwear or toilet paper (2).

Light bleeding, on the other hand, is a slightly heavier form of bleeding than spotting. It usually requires the use of menstrual products like a tampon or sanitary napkin or a more absorbent pad (2).

In general, if you have light bleeding at the start of your period, consider that part of your period, not spotting.However, if it's really, really easyYou see little on your toilet paperthat would count as irregular.

For example, if you bleed on Sunday, have no period on Monday, and bleed so badly on Tuesday that you need a tampon, consider Tuesday as the start of your period.

Follow-up Tip:What if you started spotting in the morning and then had your period in the afternoon? No problem, you can always go back and change what you're following. It is important that the first day of your period is recorded correctly in order to make more accurate predictions for the next cycle.

How to track bleed in the Clue app

If you monitor your menstrual bleeding and more than 10 days have passed since you last recorded your period, that day will be counted as the first day of a new menstrual cycle.

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When tracking your period in Clue, there are four tracking options:luz,half,difficult, jvery difficult.

Common causes of stains and how to track them (8)

Common causes of stains and how to track them (9)

There are two detection tracking options in Clue:RedjBraun.

Blood changes color depending on how long it has been exposed to air, due to a process called oxidation (if you cut your finger you will see that the blood is bright red but looks brown on the band-aid, the same process can happen with menstrual blood as it leaves your body). Fresh blood usually looks red (or pink if mixed with another liquid), while old blood looks more brown.

Common causes of stains and how to track them (10)

Common causes of stains and how to track them (11)

What is the origin of the coloring?

Spots can originate in the upper reproductive tract (such as the uterus) or the lower reproductive tract (such as the cervix or vagina) (2).

Common causes of stains

1. Hormonal contraception

Dark spots are a common side effect ofanticoncepcional hormonal, especially in the first months after starting a new method (3).

When you first start taking combined oral contraceptives (the most common type of birth control pill), you may have spotting that goes away after a few months (3). The most common reason for spotting is forgotten pills or late feeding (2,3). Unusual bleeding or spottingwithdrawal bleedSometimes time can pass even if you take your pills continuously (3). Any bleeding you have outside of the expected withdrawal bleeding while on the pill is called a “pill”.unplanned bleeding(sometimes calledbreakthrough bleeding)(2,3).If you continue to have unplanned bleeding, your Pill may not be right for you and your doctor may suggest trying a different brand with a different chemical composition (3).

If You Take The Pill, You Can Track Unplanned BleedingTrack-AppCreating a custom label.

Spotting and unpredictable bleeding are commonhormonal spiral, the contraceptive implant, the contraceptive shot (injection) and the mini-pill (a progestogen-only pill) and usually improves with time (2,3).

2. Pregnancy

Spots are also a common symptom ofearly pregnancy. About 1 in 4 people will have spotting, usually between 5 and 8 weeks pregnant (or about 1 to 4 weeks after someone expects their period) (4). Pimples are usually not a cause for concern: Research has shown that people with pimples are not more likely to get onemiscarriagethan people who don't have spots (4). However, heavy spotting or bleeding may be of more concern. If you're pregnant and bleeding, call your doctor for a check-out just to find out what's going on.

Although many sources refer to early pregnancy bleeding as "implantation bleeding", there is no clear evidence linking it to the implantation of an embryo in the uterus. In fact, it may be related to hormonal changes as progesterone production shifts from the ovary to the developing placenta (4).

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Stains can be a symptom ofEctopic pregnancy(5). This is a pregnancy that grows somewhere other than the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube (5). Tubal bleeding during pregnancy may be accompanied by other symptoms such as unilateral abdominal pain, shoulder pain and/or dizziness (5). If you have symptoms of spotting and suspect you may be having an ectopic pregnancy, see a doctor right away.

3. Physical conditions and infections

Spotting can also be caused by infections and physical changes in the reproductive tract or hormonal imbalances (2). Physical conditions that can cause spots include:fibroids(abnormal growth of muscle tissue in the uterus), uterus or cervixpolyps(abnormal growths on the cervix or uterus) andendometriosis(2).

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which occurs when certain pelvic infections (like STDs) go untreated, can also be another culprit for unplanned spotting (6). Other symptoms of PID can include lower abdominal pain,vaginal dischargeand fever (6). If you suspect spotting and other associated symptoms of PID or pelvic physical disease, it is important to discuss this with your doctor as soon as possible.

urinary tract infection (O) can cause bleeding from the urethra (where you urinate, between the tip of the clitoris and the vaginal opening). Painful urination along with a small amount of blood on the toilet paper can be signs of a UTI (7).

Constant spotting after penetrative vaginal intercourse is not considered normal. Bleeding after sex (postcoital bleeding) is usually caused by a problem with your cervix or polyps (8). Some people may experience bleeding after the first sexual intercourse, which is normal. If you notice spotting after sex, talk to your doctor.

You can track postcoital bleeding on theTrack-AppCreating a custom label.

4. Ovulation and/or hormonal problems

Spotting can also occur at the time ofOvulation. Bleeding around ovulation (more intense than spotting) is considered spotting (1). It is not clear why some people have this experience.Ovulationbleeding while others do not; Some research suggests it occurs in people with higher levels of some hormones (9).

Spotting a few days before the start of the period, at the endluteal phase, may indicate low progesterone levels (especially if your luteal phase is abnormally short) (10), but more research is needed.

Very light and rare bleeding (not with hormonal contraception) can be a sign of ovulatory dysfunction. Some common causes of ovulatory dysfunction are:PCO-Syndrome(PCOS), thyroid disease, extreme weight gain or loss, stress, extreme exercise, and some medications such as tricyclic antidepressants and phenothiazines (11). Talk to your doctor if this happens to you.

Irregular ovulation - "anovulation" - is common in certain reproductive stages, such as the first few years followingmenarche(first period), after childbirth and during the transition to menopause (when cycles end) and can be the cause of bleeding that is temporarily absent or infrequent (11).

As a general rule, if you notice a sudden change in your cycle, if spotting and unexpected bleeding is interfering with your daily life, or is accompanied by other symptoms such as pain or unusual discharge, it's always best to speak to a doctor.

download titletoday to track spotting, your period, and discover your personal patterns.

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This article was originally published on October 5, 2017.


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