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Spotting between periods − when is it right to be on the alert?

Wine colored discharge

Spotting between periods scares girls and women for good reason because in most cases such bleeding indicates gynecological diseases, infection or pathology in the body. However, if you found blood stains in your underwear when your periods are still far away from appearing, it may simply be a consequence of stress or nerve strain.

You have to see a gynecologist to determine the actual cause of your vaginal discharge. You should not resort to self-diagnosis. However, that does not mean that not being aware of gynecological diseases with similar symptoms is better than being aware of the causes and consequences of various illnesses.

When is spotting normal?

First, you need to know what a menstrual cycle is and when spotting is normal. A menstrual cycle is cyclic changes that occur in the female reproductive system monthly.

If spotting between periods can indicate a disease, then the presence of blood on the first day of menstruation and the next few days is absolutely normal because the functional layer of the uterus, on which the fertilized egg is not developing, peels off with a bloody discharge. If a woman is pregnant (the egg has been fertilized), then she will not have her periods because the upper layer of the uterus will serve as a place for the development and dwelling of the embryo.

Causes of spotting between periods

If a vaginal discharge mixed with blood is normal during menstruation, then acyclic discharge is usually indicative of a disease and pathological processes in the female body. There cannot be any spotting between periods if the woman’s reproductive system is functioning normally. However, there are some exceptions where the spotting does not indicate abnormalities.

Spotting without a hint of a disease may occur due to:

  • psychological factors (acute stress or chronic stress, emotional and physical stress, anxiety, lack of sleep);
  • change in time zone or climate zone (holidays abroad, at sea, on  air, in the other hemisphere);
  • wearing a spiral;
  • using oral contraceptives;

When blood discharge is not a sign that the functional layer of the uterus is being discharged, what can it indicate?

Diseases with acyclic bleeding symptom:

  • Endometriosis − is a condition in which the endometrium is found elsewhere than in the lining of the uterus. Spotting can vary in color and saturation, from bright red or pink to dark brown. A discharge is typically odorless, and development of a disease is not accompanied by painful feelings or some other symptoms.
  • Chronic endometritis –a prolonged inflammation of the lining of the uterus. Bloody clots usually have brownish color and a foul odor. Besides, aching pain in the abdomen is an additional symptom.
  • Uterine polyps – abnormal growths protruding from the mucous lining of the uterus. If there is blood discharge, it appears in the middle of the menstrual cycle and is smeared in the underwear. Such discharge is not abundant and comes without painful feelings.
  • Cervical erosion characterized by ulcers. Bright red vaginal bleeding usually occurs after a sexual intercourse.
  • Endometrial hyperplasia − an abnormal overgrowth of the layer of cells that lines the uterus. Spotting between periods without pain is a sign of hyperplasia if it does not proceed without symptoms.
  • Uterine tumors (benign or malignant) and cervical canal. As a general rule, they do not manifest themselves in the form of any symptoms, except in rare intermenstrual bleeding.

So, based on these diseases listed above, it is clear even to a person with no medical education that spotting (vaginal bleeding) between periods is not normal and should make a woman see a gynecologist. Despite the fact that the discharge can indicate a pathology, one should not worry ahead of time because the blood may indicate a menstrual cycle worn down due to stress or hormonal failure in the female body. In such cases, bloody smears are ordinary periods. However, only an experienced gynecologist should determine this.

Spotting between periods: color, shape and consistence

Sometimes spotting may not even resemble the familiar red saturated blood. The discharge may be pink, red, brownish or wine red, and sometimes can have an unnatural yellow or green color. Such oddities indicate that the blood contains pus. Therefore, if you detect stains of a strange color, you should immediately visit a competent clinic where an experienced gynecologist can tell with certainty whether there are abnormalities in the body or not.