Spotting Between Periods Meaning
Spotting means vaginal bleeding occurs between menstrual periods. Usually, the duration of the menstrual cycle is four to seven days and time gap between two consecutive menstrual cycles is 28 days. But these are not fixed for every female; the time duration and interval between menstruation cycles vary from individual to individual.
After finishing up of menstrual cycle and before starts the next cycle, the occurrence of any vaginal bleeding is termed as spotting. In maximum cases, the amount of bleeding is so less that it only creates a light red coloration in the underwear.
It also may visible as drop by drop, but sometimes the flow is so significant that it can be similar like menstrual cycle. This is a common problem. Most of the women face this symptom at least once in their life time. This is not a serious health issue for most of the cases. Sometimes, it is an indication of serious reproductive organ impairments.
The considerable causes for spotting between periods are as follows:
Hormonal alteration is the major cause of spotting between periods. The menstrual cycle regulation is managed by estrogen and progesterone hormone. Age factor and medication administration, specifically conception therapies are the major facets which affect the hormonal alteration. Other than this, thyroid gland secretion and gonadotropin releasing hormone have affect on menstrual cycle management.
Pregnancy related complications
Abortion, ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage can lead to spotting between periods. In case of ectopic pregnancy, fertilized eggs are inserted directly into the fallopian tube instead of the uterus, which can cause spotting.
Polyps or fibroids in uterine muscle
Benign tissue growth in the uterine muscle causes polyps and fibroid development which also responsible for spotting between periods.
Infection in the reproductive organs
Infection in the reproductive organs leads to acute or chronic swelling. Untreated condition may even develop scarring in the reproductive organs. After sexual intercourse, the presences of infection may lead to spotting of blood.
Malignancy in the reproductive organ
Reproductive organs such as vagina, cervix, uterus or ovaries may have malignant tissue growth, which can cause spotting symptoms in between periods.
Some physiological conditions like increase blood glucose level, foreign object entrance into the vagina and excessive physical stress can lead blood spotting between periods.
The development of the associated symptoms and the severity are depending upon the underlying cause. Usually the associated symptoms are negligible, but the symptoms are unbearable, then medical assistance need to identify the reason and according treatment management is required to lessen the complications.
- Abdominal pain or cramp
Differential diagnosis/ DDx
Initial diagnosis is based on detail knowledge about the symptoms, for obtaining the proper information usual questioning ask by doctors are:
- Blood spotting duration
- The time interval between menstrual cycle and spotting
- How long this problem occurs
- The nature of bleeding means. Is it heavy, need absorbing pad or just spotting?
- Associated pain or symptoms are present or not
- Any factors which aggravate the condition, such as excessive physical activity and stress, sexual activity
- Some important information also included like pregnancy and related complications, age factor, contraceptive methods administration, any trauma related history, sexual activities etc.
The following tests are conducted
- Thyroid test
- Ovarian functional test
- Culture test is conducted for cervical discharge to check the sexual transmission disease
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Endometrial biopsy
- Pap smear test
Infrequent spotting is not always an indication of serious health issue, but consultation with doctors is required, if it is frequent. Following are optional the optional management of the spotting:
Irregularity in the administration of contraceptive pills is one of the major reasons behind the spotting. The long interval between the stopping and re-starting of the contraceptive therapy also causes spotting. To manage this condition, doctors always advice to regular, timely maintaining the contraceptive pills administration.
Stopping the intake of Aspirin
Aspirin is well known anti-inflammatory drug, but prolong therapy or frequent intake of aspirin causes bleeding, as it has blood thinning property. So those women having tendency of spotting, avoid intake of aspirin.
Routine Pap smear test conduction
Spotting may be an indication of cervical cancer, for keeping the condition in track, routine pap smear test helps to measure the condition. Cervical cancer is completely curable, if early detection is possible.
Maintaining proper BMI
For properly maintain of BMI, it is important to maintain proper body weight. Obesity one of the major facet for hormonal imbalance and reproductive cancer development. Physical therapy, diet and nutritional management help to maintain the proper body weight and BMI.
Avoid exchanging contraception method. Stick in any one contraception method, Exchange or switching to different intrauterine devices usually causes spotting.
Mental stress aggravates bleeding. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercise and aerobics are the major treatment process for mental relaxation.
Keeping records of menstrual dates
If more than once spotting is noticeable, it is suggested that keep a record of menstrual cycle dates and also the nature of bleeding. This will help to understand the frequency and other associated queries can also be observed.
The spotting during pregnancy is sometimes common, but there is always the risk of miscarriage. Usually miscarriage occurs within the first 20 weeks and it is very important to take advice from a gynecologist if during pregnancy any spotting symptoms appear.
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding Between Periods: Causes & Prevention at http://www.healthline.com/health/vaginal-bleeding-between-periods
- Abnormal Vaginal Bleeding – Topic Overview at http://www.webmd.com/women/tc/abnormal-vaginal-bleeding-topic-overview
- Bleeding between periods; Intermenstrual bleeding; Spotting; Metrorrhagia at https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003156.htm