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Should You See a Doctor if You Are Spotting in Between Periods?

Finding out that you are bleeding before your period is due might seem a little frightening, but it isn’t uncommon. Here are some reasons why you might be experiencing spotting in between your periods.

Hormonal Contraceptives

A very common cause of midcycle bleeding is hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control comes in many different forms like patches, pills, implants, shots, or rings. Often women who begin birth control may experience something called breakthrough bleeding in the first three months of use. Due to the hormonal changes in the lining of your uterus, it may shed causing some light spotting or bleeding.

Bleeding may also occur if birth control is not taken correctly. If you do not take your birth control pill as your doctor has instructed you or have trouble with your birth control patch, this might cause some spotting.


Women who experience a regular 28-day cycle will find that they ovulate around day 14. For women who have longer or shorter cycles, this may occur on a different day. When ovulation occurs, there is a chance for light bleeding. Ovulation bleeding affects only about 5% of women.

Implantation Bleeding

Another cause of bleeding between periods is implantation bleeding. When a fertilized egg becomes implanted into the lining of the uterus, a woman may experience spotting and light cramps.


The loss of a pregnancy in the first 23 weeks is considered a miscarriage. If you find that you are bleeding in between periods, this could be a sign of an early miscarriage. Miscarriage is often accompanied by pain and cramping. If you think you may be experiencing a miscarriage, consult your doctor.


When the body nears menopause, it goes through many hormonal changes. Due to this, the menstrual cycle becomes irregular and hard to predict. These changes may cause irregular bleeding due to the lining of your uterus becoming thicker than normal.  If you experience bleeding after menopause, you should consult a doctor to determine the cause.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Vaginal bleeding is sometimes caused by sexually transmitted infections. Chlamydia and gonorrhea cause vaginal discharge and abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting in between your periods. Bleeding after sex is another common symptom of an STI.

Some STIs cause complications to your cervix and reproductive organs. This manifests itself in pelvic inflammatory disease. If you think you may have an STI, seek out medical advice.

Sexual Injury

The tissue inside the vagina may sometimes be injured during penetrative sex. This is caused by the vagina being dry during intercourse. Vaginal dryness has several different causes, so it is important to figure out why your body is not responding in the way it should.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

The ovaries of women with PCOS have trouble releasing eggs each month. Because of this, they experience infrequent and irregular periods. PCOS also causes the hormones in your body to become out of balance. It isn’t unusual for these women to experience spotting in between periods.


Fibroids are growths that occur in the uterus. Many women do not know that they even have one of these noncancerous growths. Although they don’t always present symptoms, they can cause you to have intermenstrual bleeding and heavy periods.

When to Give Your Doctor a Call

Don’t hesitate to call your doctor if at any time you are nervous about spotting. If the spotting turns into bleeding that is heavy and persistent, that is a good time to seek out medical advice. If at any time your spotting is accompanied by a fever, pain in the abdomen, or worsens it is time to make an appointment with your doctor or OB.

Your doctor may order some tests to determine what exactly is causing your symptoms. Remember that spotting is much lighter than bleeding, and any concerning bleeding needs to be checked by a medical professional.

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