For a woman, bleeding every month during her reproductive years is admittedly not the most enjoyable experience. Added to that is the various confusing and infuriating things that one’s vagina throws up, like cramping and mood swings. Another pretty common, yet confounding phenomenon that occurs is spotting.
In simple terms, spotting is the occurrence of spots from vaginal bleeding when you are not on your period.
What are the causes for spotting?
Simply put, spotting is usually very normal and happens due to a change in lifestyle choices. Some women experience a brown or bloody discharge, especially during or after their monthly cycle, which is a normal occurrence.
Why spotting occurs?
- Pregnancy: You are most likely to notice spotting before your period if you are pregnant. When the fertilized egg attaches itself to the uterine walls, it tends to shed these walls to make space for itself. This can cause bleeding, which women often confuse with periods. But a little spotting during the early stages of your first trimester is perfectly normal and in fact, marks the beginning of your pregnancy.
- Birth Control Pills: If you start using birth control pills or switch to a new one, chances are that you may notice spotting. This happens because birth control pills are more likely to cause bleeding between 21 - 28 days of your ovulation cycle and taking them abruptly or changing their dosage may cause them to hinder your naturally set cycle. Going off them for a month can help reset your uterus and adjust to the new pill.
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome: PCOS affects the ovulation cycle and makes it irregular. In this condition, the uterine lining thickens and given that there is lack of production of progesterone, it does not trigger the shedding of the lining. This can cause spotting as dead and weakened tissue from the lining falls apart.
- Infections: Bacterial or Yeast Infections can easily cause build up in the vagina, due to unsafe sex or unhygienic menstrual habits and cause tears, cracks or sores in the vaginal tissue. This can also can cause some spotting to occur.
- Menopause: This happens when you are above 45 years of age and are nearing the end of your menstrual cycle. So, due to excessive hormonal fluctuations, a slight vaginal discharge can occur, but it should subside once you settle into your menopause.
- Although spotting is usually not an uncommon occurrence, it may not be a normal sign sometimes.
- Therefore, anytime you observe some spotting, you should definitely pay your gynecologist a visit and talk to them about it, especially if you are pregnant.
- In case of a pregnancy, spotting may also be the sign of a miscarriage and only a doctor will be able to guarantee that.
- During your visit to your doctor, they will most likely do a pap smear (collecting cells from your vaginal lining via a Q-tip) and ultrasound of your ovaries, but make sure you tell them all your symptoms first.
Treatment for Spotting
- The course of treatment prescribed will depend on what’s causing this vaginal discharge.
- If it’s birth control, taking other hormones will help reset your cycle and stop your spotting.
- If it is PCOS, a prescription from the doctor and switching to a healthier lifestyle, will help.
- An antifungal or antibacterial cream suggested by the doctor can cure spotting caused due to infections.
- Since spotting is curable and mostly induced due to lifestyle choices, it is different from other bleeding disorders like anemia or factor V deficiency.
- Therefore, even if spotting may be a cause of concern, it’s treatable and help is available if you would ask for it.
Some women also experience a little bit of white discharge, particularly during the beginning or near the end of their cycle, which is a normal occurrence. Since spotting and white discharge are not as heavy as periods, instead of using sanitary napkins, it is advisable and wise to use panty liners instead. Carmesi panty liners are made with a soft, plant based top sheet and are so light, you won’t feel like you are wearing one, thereby making it perfect for your spotting troubles, vaginal discharge and urinary incontinence. They are also dermatologically tested, chlorine free and with no irritants.