Bleeding Between Periods: Is it Cause for Alarm?

Most women experience bleeding between periods at some point. It’s usually light bleeding that doesn’t require a tampon or pad, and it’s also called spotting.

You might notice spotting in the middle of your cycle, either in your underwear or while using the restroom. Many different factors — from hormonal birth control to early pregnancy — can trigger spotting, and most of the time, it’s not cause for alarm. But if you notice heavy bleeding, or symptoms like pelvic pain, it could indicate an underlying gynecologic condition. 

At OB/GYN Specialists, Daniel McDonald, MD, Marc Wilson, MD, and our team specialize in gynecologic care for women of all ages. If you’re concerned about bleeding between periods, call us at 940-202-0566 to make an appointment.

What causes spotting?

A woman’s menstrual cycle is typically 21-35 days long. The first day of a new cycle is the first day of your period, and the average period is 2-7 days long. Most of the time, you won’t notice vaginal bleeding in the middle of your cycle, but certain factors can cause spotting.

Hormonal birth control

Using hormonal birth control is one of the most common causes of bleeding between periods. Many types of hormonal birth control, including pills, patches, injections, and intrauterine devices (IUDs), release hormones to prevent pregnancy, and they can alter your menstrual cycle.

Breakthrough bleeding between periods is particularly common in the first three months of starting a new method of hormonal birth control. Some types of birth control may make periods light or irregular as long as you use them, so talk to your doctor about what you can expect.

Early pregnancy

Another common cause of spotting between periods is early pregnancy. It can take up to two weeks after conception for the fertilized egg to implant itself in your uterus. When implantation occurs, light bleeding and cramping are common symptoms.

If you think you might be pregnant, take an at-home pregnancy test and schedule an appointment with your doctor.

Perimenopause

Perimenopause is the transitional period before menopause. Menopause starts when you haven’t had a menstrual period for one full year, but symptoms can start up to 10 years before you reach menopause. 

Perimenopause is characterized by dropping hormone levels, and it can make your periods harder to predict. Irregular periods and spotting between periods are common symptoms for women in perimenopause.

Underlying health conditions

In some cases, bleeding between periods could be caused by an underlying health issue, like:

Abnormal bleeding between periods, especially if it’s accompanied by pelvic pain or fever, should be evaluated by your doctor.

When to see the doctor for bleeding between periods 

Never hesitate to make an appointment with your doctor if you’re worried about bleeding between periods. Dr. McDonald and Dr. Wilson provide comprehensive exams to diagnose potential causes of spotting, so we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Light bleeding between periods typically isn’t an indication of something more serious, but it’s important to recognize signs that something isn’t right. Make an appointment with your gynecologist if you have spotting along with lower abdominal pain, pelvic pain, or fever.

If bleeding between periods gets worse or starts happening more often, it could indicate an underlying health condition. If you experience bleeding between periods that isn’t light or doesn’t stop within a few days, make an appointment with your doctor.

After you’ve entered menopause, see the doctor if you experience vaginal bleeding at any point. Even if it’s light bleeding, bleeding after menopause could be a sign of cancer or other serious health condition.

Listening to your body is important. If you’re concerned about spotting or bleeding between periods, schedule a check-up at OB/GYN Specialists. Call our team at 940-202-0566 or send us a message online.

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