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What “Spotting” Can Actually Mean

What “Spotting” Can Actually Mean

As if that moment we feel our time of the month arrive wasn’t enough of a bummer (or sigh of relief for those getting it late), spotting in between periods can be pretty scary if you have no idea what could be causing it. 

For those who are unsure, spotting is light vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your regular periods that doesn’t last longer than a day or two and is pink, reddish or brown in color. Although spotting can be a sign of a serious problem, it’s often nothing to worry about and usually only requires a panty liner if protection is needed. 

If you are in fact experiencing spotting, don’t freak out just yet, below are some of the most common reasons that can be causing it and the good news is that the majority can be effectively dealt with! 

Birth Control

If you just started using a hormone-based birth control method, it’s totally normal for you to experience spotting until your body adjusts to it. All forms of birth control including patches, injections, rings, hormonal birth control pills and implants can cause spotting to happen spontaneously. Spotting can also occur when you change the type or dose of birth control, skip doses or don’t take your birth control pills correctly or even if you’ve been using birth control for a significant amount of time. 

Sexually Transmitted Infections

STIs such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, can cause spotting after sex or between periods and can be treated quickly with minimal complications when caught early! Other symptoms of STIs include painful urination, itching, pelvic pain as well as white, green or yellow discharge so if you are experiencing any of these symptoms contact your doctor ASAP.


Pregnant and spotting? It’s not uncommon! About 25% of women experience spotting during their first trimester (bleeding is light and varies in red, pink or brown color.) Often times, spotting isn’t a cause for concern but if you begin to experience pelvic pain or heavy bleeding then it could be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage so get in touch with your doctor right away if either of the two occur. 


At the stage in your life where menopause is about to hit? Don’t be surprised if you notice spotting! This transitional time where you may have months where you don’t ovulate is known as perimenopause. During this time your period may become more irregular, you may experience spotting, heavier or lighter menstrual bleeding or you just might skip your period altogether!


You were probably already aware that stress can cause fluctuations in your menstrual cycle but we bet you didn’t know that high levels of physical or emotional stress can also be what’s causing you to spot in between your periods! If you live a stressful lifestyle then let this be a reminder to chill the F out sometimes!

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Aside from pain in the lower or upper abdomen, fever, foul-smelling discharge, painful sex or urination, abnormal bleeding between periods can also be a symptom of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. PID develops when bacteria spreads from your vagina to your fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries but it can typically be treated with the right therapies from your doctor so if you are experiencing any of the aforementioned symptoms, see your doctor as soon as you can. 

Other factors that can trigger spotting are ovulation, trauma (rough sex, sexual assault), fibroids, certain medications (blood thinners, hormonal drugs), Uterine or Cervical polyps, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or Endometriosis. 

If you are experiencing spotting that can not be explained then it’s a good idea to visit your doctor especially if spotting is accompanied by symptoms such as fever, dizziness, abdominal pain as well as pelvic pain as these may be signs of something more serious. 

Keep in mind that most spotting is harmless so before you drive yourself crazy, assess your lifestyle and if you feel as if prompt medical treatment will be required, don’t hesitate to call your doctor!

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