Spotting Before and After Periods - What Does It Mean?

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Any type of unexpected blood can be scary, but it is important to manage your fear and assess the situation. There could be many reasons for your spotting between periods, and just because you are bleeding does not necessarily mean there is a problem. In fact, most women experience this at some point in their lives. So, let us explore the reasons why you may be spotting before and after periods.

How to Get Pregnant

Spotting due to ovulation

If possible, take note of when the spotting occurs. About 10% of women will experience some kind of spotting during ovulation. This is due to a temporary drop in estrogen when the egg is released, and it is completely normal. If you are spotting from ovulation, you may also experience some light cramping, and the small amount of blood you see may be mixed with vaginal discharge. See our infographic on signs of ovulation.

Spotting before your period

It is also normal for many women to experience spotting as a first symptom of their menstrual period. This does not necessarily mean that spotting always occurs for these women before their period, but it is not abnormal for a woman to have an unusual cycle due to stress or outside factors. Such an unusual cycle could cause spotting to occur up to three days before a woman is due for her regular period. It may also occur up to a week after her period for the same reason.

Spotting during pregnancy

Many women experience spotting in the first trimester of pregnancy, so if you are in the stage between ovulation and your menstrual period, there is a chance you may be pregnant. During the first few days of pregnancy, it is very common for women to experience some form of spotting as the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine wall, this is known as implantation bleeding. This occurs so early in pregnancy that most women do not even realize they are pregnant yet.

Spotting during perimenopause

As your body transitions to not having periods any longer, it is common to experience spotting between periods. Still, if you think your spotting is due to perimenopause, you should consult your doctor. He or she can rule out other possible causes of your spotting and help you through the process.

When to see a doctor

There is an important distinction between spotting and heavy bleeding.

Spotting is light bleeding that lasts for about three days or less. If you are experiencing spotting or bleeding that goes on for a week or more, and it is not your period, you should schedule an appointment with your doctor. Also, if you are noticing a pattern of bleeding or spotting between periods, consult with your doctor. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding for any reason, especially after sex, be sure to get it checked out. These things may have simple explanations, but your doctor can rule out more serious possibilities.

Logging spotting in your daily log

If you're using Ovulation Calculator to help you get pregnant, keep a log of any days you see spotting in your daily log. Note: You can only add spotting on days that you haven't marked as period days.

Have you seen any spotting? Have a question? Leave a comment below.

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  1. Owodunnimojisola Mar 21, 2017
    Hello, I had sex on the 2nd of February and I'm supposed to see my period on the 16th of that same month. I saw it on the 20th and was spot bleeding before. I tested for pregnancy and it came out negative, so I went for scan. The results were that the uterus is slightly bulky 73.6mmx31.4mm. The uterus contains a well undescribed oval lesion of 9.2mm in it. In the next month, I'm supposed to see my period on the 16th of March, but it was red light blood with cramping on the 21st of March. Again, I do feel a tightening sensation in my uterus with cramping in my leg and it swells up sometimes. What is wrong with me? Please help me out.

  2. Melisa Mar 22, 2017
    It's been 5 years since I've been dealing with the spotting issue. I've seen a number of doctors in the USA and in my country Grenada. I was given Primolut pills to treat it, that didn't work. Another doctor prescribed microgynon birth control for 6 months and that actutally helped for about 3 months relief. Now it's back where I spot every day of the month before and after my period. I'm stressed about it. Sometimes it's really smelly and I have to change liners often and other times it causes dire tummy doctor said I may have endometriosis. If only I knew what it really was and could find a way to make it stop, I'd be happy. Just wanted to share my experience with it as I am comforted to know that there are any other women out there who also suffer with this. God bless.
    1. Carys: This happens to me. I have my period every 30 days. I've bled for 5 days then stopped. It's the start of what I assume is old blood / and pinky blood and discharge for another 5-6 days. I never know when I should log my cycle ending. It's very frustrating and embarrassing regards to wearing panty liners etc - (Mar 31, 2017)
  3. Dee Mar 22, 2017
    Hi, I had my period on 20/02/17 then again on 10/03/17, which was ovulation bleeding, I guess. I just found out that my progesterone level is low. I am so disappointed that I won't have a chance of conceiving. Is it possible to get tablets off the shelf at the pharmacies or does it have to be prescribed by a doctor?
  4. Temmy Mar 23, 2017
    l had my period the 1st of this Jan and it ended on the 8th of Jan...
    l had another stain that was brownish in colour on the 27th of Jan. It started flowing well on the 1st of Feb and it ended on the 10th.
    Now, have been seeing another brownish stain this Monday, the 20th of March until now.
    What is happening to me?
    l had a baby 21years ago and l need another baby.
  5. Ify Apr 03, 2017
    Hello, I had my period on the 17th of March and I saw spotting today (the 3rd of April). What could this mean? Is it normal to have my period within this period, just 2 weeks after?

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