Spotting Before Period: Why it Happens
There are various reasons why women spot before, or after their period. Some of them are cause for worry while others are not, but the best advice is to check with your gynaecologist.
Some common reasons for spotting before or after your period include the following:
If you spot between cycles, it can often indicate that you’re in perimenopause (pre-menopause). This usually happens around the age of 50, and besides spotting, you may experience some of the following symptoms:
- Weight gain
- Irregular periods
- Mood swings
- Trouble with sleeping
- Hot flashes and night sweats
You can learn more here: Perimenopause Spotting.
However, if you’ve reached menopause (no bleeding for 1 year), spotting can be a sign of something like cancer.
While on birth-control
If you’re spotting, the shot may be wearing off, or the birth control dosage you’re on is too low. Check in with your doctor for advice specific to your situation and the type of pill or IUD that you’re using. There are a number of changes that can be made to deal with these issues.
If you experience some pre period spotting, it may be because you’re pregnant. When a fertilized egg implants into the walls of the uterus, a small amount of bleeding can occur. It doesn’t occur for everyone however.
If you conceive, you won’t have your period. However, if the egg doesn’t implant, then you won’t be pregnant and you’ll have your period as normal.
A cyst or fibroid
Another cause of spotting pre period, or at any time for that matter may be because a cyst or fibroid has ruptured.
During later pregnancy, it’s a bit more of a cause for concern so be sure to check in with a medical professional.
Check with your doctor and get tested for sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea regularly. If you go to get any sort of spotting, bleeding or discharge checked out, you’ll often get a test for STI’s done.
Also be sure to use condoms, especially with new partners, or if you have more than one.
After a period
Sometimes the uterus is weak and doesn’t contract strongly enough to shed all the menstrual fluid from the uterine lining, causing it to leak out after. You may think your period has stopped, but it actually didn’t really.
Ovarian or cervical cancer can result in irregular bleeding or vaginal discharge. In particular, you may notice some blood-streaked discharge which you dismiss as spotting. You should actually check in with your doctor about this.
Another cause for concern if you’re post-menopausal. Any sort of bleeding is a cause for concern and not something to take lightly. You should be worried about this one.
Your Period Starts Slowly
There are some women who find that their periods start quite slowly. In this case, it may seem more like spotting for a day or two before it started properly.
The reproductive hormones, progesterone and estrogen are always in a state of flux throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. If there is an irregularity, a woman can experience spotting outside her normal period. There are a number of reasons why she might experience this.
More Information about Pre Period Spotting
Learn more about spotting between periods here: Metrorrhagia.
Please note: you may also see spotting referred to as Breakthrough Bleeding.
Should I See a Doctor about Spotting Before Periods?
An excellent question is whether or not you should make an appointment with your doctor for spotting before your period. In general, we recommend a visit with your doctor if anything is out of the ordinary with your menstrual cycle, or vaginal health.
Some of the most common reasons to check in with a medical professional include:
- Bleeding outside of your normal period time (spotting before your period for example)
- Changes in your menstrual cycle (longer, shorter)
- A change in the length of time that you bleed
- Very painful periods
- Your periods have stopped
- Irregular periods in general
- Vaginal discharge that isn’t white or clear
- Discharge that’s smelly, or has chunks in it.
- Itching, pain or discomfort around the vulva
- Anything else out of the ordinary
At the very worst, your doctor will tell you it’s not a big deal and not to worry about it! At best, they’ll catch an otherwise serious condition and you’ll get some treatment for it.
Is it Spotting or My Period?
If you have what seems like spotting before your period, it may be unclear if it’s actually your period. Here are some things you can keep in mind about the spotting vs period thing.
- Light in flow
- Pink, reddish or brown
- Only lasts for a short time (a day or two)
Your Period is:
- Heavy enough that you need to wear a tampon, pad or use
- Lasts for 4-7 days
- Happens at a regular interval (every 21-35 days)
Does that help you figure out if it’s pre period spotting, or just your regular period?
Spotting or Period? Learn More!
I Have Brown Discharge Before my Period
Brown discharge before a period is not so uncommon. It’s usually just old blood that’s leaving the uterus and is nothing to worry about. This old blood combines with normal vaginal discharge and the result is brown discharge, which may also resemble spotting.
You can learn more about it here: Vaginal Discharge: Everything you Need to Know.
Spotting Before Periods: How to Deal With It
Whatever the cause, spotting before your period, during pregnancy, or after your period is just plain annoying! Wearing tampons isn’t a good solution when your flow is very light since you’re at a higher risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Remember, you should wear the lightest absorbency tampon possible in order to reduce your risk, except when you’re spotting, even mini-tampons may be too much. They’ll also severely dry out your vaginal canal when you’re only spotting and remove all the natural fluid, throwing your pH balance out of whack.
You could use panty liners or pads, but that can get expensive if you’re wearing them for a large part of the month. Environmentally speaking, that’s a lot of plastic that’s going into the landfill!
However, there are two excellent options that you can consider if you’re looking to deal with spotting pre period in an economical and environmentally friendly way. The two options are reusable menstrual pads and menstrual cups.
Option #1: Reusable Menstrual Pads
Reusable menstrual pads are an excellent choice for light spotting before, or after your period. They are very reasonably priced and can last for years, making them a very economical choice. Menstrual pads are also an excellent choice for the environment as it is much less waste going into the landfill than with disposable sanitary pads.
Some reusable menstrual pads to consider to deal with spotting include:
Lunapads Panty Liners: Considerably less bulky than regular cloth menstrual pads, these ones make a nice choice for spotting.
Mama Cloth Menstrual Pads: These cloth menstrual pads are some of the cheapest ones there and they have excellent reviews on Amazon.
Option #2: Reusable Menstrual Cups
Menstrual cups are bell-shaped cups made from the highest-quality medical grade silicone. There is a bit of a learning curve and it takes a few periods before you get the hang of insertion and removal. However, most women, once they try them, only regret not finding out about them years earlier!
The best thing about menstrual cups for a women spotting before or after her period is that menstrual cups offer excellent protection, without pads, or the risk of Toxic Shock Syndrome as with tampons. You simply have to remove, empty, wash and reinsert your cup every 12 hours. It’s much easier than any of the other alternatives.
For some advice on choosing the best menstrual cup, you can check out:
You can learn more about using a menstrual cup when not on your period here.
Spotting Before My Period: Have your Say!
Do you have any tips or tricks for how to handle spotting between menstrual cycles? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.