10 Causes of Spotting Between Periods
What Causes Spotting Between Periods
An average woman passes around 40 ml of blood for an entire menstrual period. The menstrual period usually lasts for around seven days. However, for some women, their menstrual period is characterized as heavy and prolonged menstrual flows where in some extreme cases, the flow turns chronic, painful and extended. There are also instances of women who have been known to experience acute menstrual disorder. A serious menstrual disorder that is characterized by the onset of sudden and severe blood flow.
Bleeding between menstrual periods that is characterized as heavy and/or abnormal flow are usually referred to as “abnormal uterine” bleeding or intermenstrual bleeding (IMB). The presence of bleeding between menstrual periods is not part of a normal menstrual cycle. Abnormal bleeding is described as the presence of hemorrhage that does not follow a normal pattern, for example, in the occurrence of spotting between periods. Spotting typically occurs within the menstrual cycle but other than during menstruation. Brown spotting after period is a fairly common incident among a lot of women. This happens because regular vaginal secretion changes in color, consistency, appearance and thickness, as per the stage and time of its occurrence.
Abnormal vaginal bleeding may sometimes appear light with just little amounts of “spotting” that can only be noticed on toilet paper. It is often described as brown spotting between periods. Sometimes, spotting may become so intense, requiring a change of sanitary towels after every other 1-2 hours of flow. In any case you suspect an abnormal vaginal bleeding, it is recommended that you seek immediate medical attention. The following discusses the causes of spotting between periods.
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Causes of Spotting Between Periods
1. Hormonal instability
The female menstrual cycle is usually regulated by two reproductive hormones. These hormones include the estrogen and the progesterone. In case where a woman’s reproductive system experiences a fluctuating hormone level, she is likely to experience spotting between periods. Hormonal instability or fluctuation may be as a result of the body system’s response to stress, external factors or even a change in the diet. Sudden start and cessation of birth control pill use can also be a cause of hormonal instability. Other causes of hormonal instability may include complications arising from the thyroid glands, dysfunctional ovaries, among others.
Some cancers like cancer of the cervix and uterus have been known to cause spotting/ bleeding between periods in women. Usually, cervical pre-cancers along with some other cancers have been observed to show little to no symptoms. Symptoms may be experienced later on when the cancer becomes intense and invasive, destroying neighboring cells. Invasion of the adjacent cells usually results in abnormal bleeding in between the periods. The bleeding may also be present during or after sexual intercourse. Some of the extreme cases may include abnormal vaginal bleeding during menopause or prolonged menstrual bleeding. Another symptom is a foul smell just before bleeding occurs. Some of the risk factors associated with cancer of the cervix include prolonged tobacco use, infection with Human Papillomavirus, and certain sexual behaviors like early age engagement in sex or even having multiple sexual partners.
3. Von Willebrand Disease
Von Willebrand’s Disease describes a particular hereditary condition that arises from problems with blood coagulation. Frequently, patients with this condition may experience mild or no symptoms at all. When visible signs develop, the intensity tend to differ from one individual to another. The most common symptom of this condition is abnormal or increased menstrual flow. Bleeding may also occur in the gums, stool or even the nose. This can be recurrent and prolonged.
4. Pregnancy complications
A complication of pregnancy can also be one cause of spotting. Certain complications such as ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages have been known to have profound effects like abnormal bleeding or spotting. An ectopic pregnancy that involves the attachment of the embryo to one of the fallopian tube usually results in bleeding. Bleeding after the 6th-8th week of pregnancy can be a sign of miscarriage.
5. Contraceptive/birth control pills
Birth control pills or contraceptives can sometimes be the cause of spotting between periods. The unusual bleeding or spotting varies according to the type of pill used, or from one person to another. Birth control pills including hormonal birth control rings usually have small amounts of synthetic progestin and estrogen; which inhibit the natural hormone that causes pregnancy (oxytocin). In the presence of such synthetic hormones, the body tries to adapt and in due process, this may result in spotting. Sometimes the pills meant for birth control may seem inappropriate to a particular individual, causing a hormonal imbalance that leads to bleeding. Missed doses may also lead to spotting. It is recommended that when you miss a dose you should take it as soon as you can.
6. Ovulation spotting
Some women experience light spotting while ovulating. This spotting is experienced when the ovarian follicle bursts while releasing the ovary. Ovulation spotting tends to occur 10-14 days before the menstrual cycle. The spotting is not known to have profound health effects. In fact, it may be a confirmation for one’s fertility. Not all women experience ovulation spotting. If by any chance you are avoiding pregnancy, it is important that you understand the difference between ovulation spotting and menstrual bleeding.
7. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID refers to the infection of the uterus, fallopian tube, and other reproductive organs. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually associated with lower abdominal pain. It may be a serious complication of an STI, for example, gonorrhea and Chlamydia. The disease can damage the fallopian tube and the surrounding tissues. Its symptoms occur towards the end of the menstrual period shortly after contracting it. The symptoms include: irregular vaginal bleeding between periods and a foul vaginal discharge. PID is also known to cause infertility. A preventive approach against this disease entails abstaining from sexual behaviors or maintaining a single sexual partner.
Vaginal thrush can be another cause of spotting between menstrual periods. Vaginal thrush refers to a fungal infection caused by a yeast called Candida albicans. This disease is usually characterized with Vulvitis and Vaginitis. Vaginitis involves the inflammation of the vagina while Vulvitis entails the inflammation of the vulva. Some of the risk factors to the disease include the use of certain anti-bacterial and systematic corticosteroids, and some factors that affect immunologic status. Examples of factors that affect the immunologic status are Thyroid infections Lupus, and HIV infection. Other symptoms include itchiness of the vulva, pain while passing urine, and white vaginal discharge.
9. Sexually Transmitted Diseases/ Infections (STIs)
Vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods may be as a result of infection of the reproductive organs. Such infections are mostly sexually transmitted and are bound to cause bleeding due to inflammation of the internal sexual organs. An STI may be as a result of douching or sexual intercourse. It also may be due to PID, which causes inflammation that cause scarring.
10. Intrauterine devices
These are devices used to control birth, and they are inserted into the uterus. Women who use this method as a way of regulating births have elevated levels of Ang-2 protein levels from Immunohistochemical analysis, compared to women who do not use it. The findings show that angiopoietin/Tie-2 system restructures the endothelium where, in the long run, leads to an abnormal uterine. This in turn renders the women highly vulnerable to spotting.
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