Bleeding Outside the Menstrual Cycle? Here Are Some Answers

Menstruation! A very beautiful, natural phenomenon. Despite its mythical and physiological significance, most women agree, What a pain!. The physical and mental stress a woman goes through during this period beggars description. 

While your periods might be natural, what if you start bleeding outside your normal cycle? Imagine you just had your periods but wake up to blood-stained bed sheets or underwear.

So, why are you experiencing spotting in the morning

The answer might range from, just a continuation of your periods to complicated conditions such as STI. Also, during the initial stages of contraception eg: IUD inoculation, contraceptive pills intake, you might experience some minor degree of bleeding. 

Stay with us to know the details of it. 

What Is Spotting?

Spotting can be defined as a light degree of bleeding that a woman experiences outside of her normal cycle. To elaborate, it’s a very minor degree of bleeding eg: you will only see red marks on your toilet paper, bed sheet, or your underwear.

spotting-in-the-morning

While spotting can occur at any time, spotting in the morning is the topic of particular interest in this article. The reason behind this can be quite simple and not much of a reason to worry, but it can also be quite scary and complicated.

Spotting In The Morning

Spotting basically denotes any form of minor bleeding outside your usual menstrual cycle. Though not exclusive for mornings, a few causes that might lead to those blood-stained bed sheaths may include:

  • Improper lubrication of your vagina prior to performing sexual intercourse or masturbation can lead to tear or scratch in your vagina. This condition might lead to bleeding in the morning.
  • If you take drugs that have been proved to cause spotting, it’s likely you will see bleeding in the morning.
  • Iud bleeding in the initial phase often manifests in the early hours of the day, though you can also experience it in other periods.
  • Spotting can also be an extension of your regular menstrual cycle.

In a nutshell, other than the bleeding from sexual intercourse, the rest bleeding causes are not exclusive for only causing spotting in the morning. Though, in various cases, they have proved to bleed more commonly in the mornings.

What Causes Spotting

A number of causes might be responsible for causing spotting in the morning. While some are easily treatable or a result of the reaction, others might require more long-term treatment. A few causes of spotting includes:

Birth Control

You are likely to experience extra bleeding during your period during the initial phase of taking birth control pills. You might also experience it when you change the dose or period of taking pills or even if you are taking pills for a prolonged period.

The reason behind the added bleeding can be attributed to hormonal imbalance for the new intake of hormonal pills.

Ovulation

Ovulation denotes the release of the ovum or female reproductive cell from your ovary. A number of changes take place in your reproductive organs during this phase which can lead to the discharge of blood. A few possible changes include:

  • Changes in the thickness of the cervix
  • An initial decrease in basal body temperature is followed by an increase after ovulation.
  • Hormonal changes as there is increased secretion of estrogen and progesterone.

Placement of Intra-Uterine Devices

Suppose you just placed a hormonal or non-hormonal intrauterine device in your uterus. Your body is most likely to take a few weeks to get itself adjusted to this new foreign body you just introduced. 

Such a change might manifest itself as bleeding or spotting between periods or in the morning.

iud-placement

Also, you are likely to experience a change in your menstrual cycle in the initial phase after taking hormonal IUDs. Don’t mistake it for spotting, know the difference between spotting and periods so that you can differentiate between the two.

Sex and Masturbating

You might unknowingly cause a tear or scratch in your cervix after sexual intercourse or masturbating. The tear might cause discharge of blood in the morning which can stain your bedsheets and underwear.

Pregnancy  

Yes! Spotting is not that uncommon when you are pregnant. According to a study, likely 10-20% of women experience spotting during their first trimester. 

While in most cases, spotting might not be a cause of concern, let your doctor know if you experience other symptoms of pregnancy as missed periods, pelvic pain, etc, and get the pregnancy test done.

Ectopic Pregnancy or Miscarriage

Pregnancy at an abnormal site eg: ectopic pregnancy and miscarriages can cause a lot of bleeding or spotting. This condition requires the supervision of a doctor. 

Perimenopause

Most women are likely to transition to the perimenopausal stage or cessation of the menstrual cycle in their 40s. This phase brings about a bundle of changes to your reproductive system which can lead to spotting.

Injury to Your Vagina

In the case of virgin women, excess exercise, abnormal masturbation, or falling from a height can cause rupture of your hymen, which is a thin membrane covering your vagina. Such a condition can lead to bleeding between your periods.

vaginal-injury

Also, inoculation of foreign particles for self-pleasure, any accidents leads to injury to your sexual glands and can cause bleeding.

Medications

 A few medications that have been identified in causing spotting include:

  • anti-coagulants
  • Corticosteroids
  • Tricyclic-antidepressants
  • Phenothiazines
  • Androgens
  • Contraceptive pills

Sexually Transmitted Infections: STIs such as chlamydia or gonorrhea have been linked to causing irregular bleeding. It’s possible to specify them by observing a few associated symptoms such as:

  • Painful bleeding during urination
  • Hematuria or bloody urine
  • Excess Pelvic pain
  • Itching in the vagina or cervix

Endocrine Dysfunction

Now, this is a vast topic and one that requires extensive description. A number of hormonal imbalances can lead to irregular bleeding or discharge. A few probable causes include:

  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Thyroid problems lead to decreased thyroid hormone secretion or hypothyroidism.
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), it’s the condition in which there’s excess production of male hormones in a women’s adrenal gland.

Abnormal Growth in Uterus or Cervix

Abnormal growth of masses in the uterus, the cervix is likely to put a strain on the body’s vascular system and can manifest in the form of spotting.

abnormal-growth-in-uterus

 A few such growths include:

  • Uterine or cervical polyps: polyps are abnormal masses of tissues that can grow in various parts of your body. It can apply pressure or even rupture your blood vessels leading to bleeding. The mass, however, does not have any malignancy potential.
  • Uterine fibroids, which are growths on the uterus.
  • Endometriosis, it’s a condition where there’s the growth of some endometrium-like tissues outside the uterus. The endometrial tissues of your uterus are the ones that become thick or change according to the female hormones. The presence of such tissues in other areas of your body eg: in the ovary, abdomen, has the potential of suffering the same changes. This might lead to abnormal bleeding or spotting.

Medical Conditions

Conditions such as diabetes, liver diseases, kidney disease have been proved to cause bleeding between your periods.

Obesity

Obesity, leading to a sedentary lifestyle can also cause spotting. Consult a doctor to know the ways to lose weight appropriate for you. This might as well solve your problem of spotting. 

Treatment and Remedy

Treatment for spotting in the morning is mostly symptomatic and dependent on the cause behind the bleeding. Some probable remedies include:

  • If your spotting is caused by an extension of your periods, get your menstrual cycle checked to see if there’s any irregularity and take action accordingly.
  • If you experience symptoms as painful discharge from the vagina, pain while passing urine, hematuria, abnormal pelvic pain, contact your doctor immediately and get tests for STI.
  • Abnormal mass formation in your cervix, the uterus is a constant source of pain and agony. If you feel like the spotting has been continuing for a prolonged period of time, get a hysteroscopy/endometrial biopsy done. Polyps are usually only a few millimeters to centimeters long and are not felt by women.
  • Laparoscopy can help detect if you have endometriosis. If detected, get the required treatment done.

Prevention

As you may have already realized, in most cases the spotting is an aftereffect of various medications, prolongation of the menstrual cycle, and usage of contraception. Since most of these scenarios are unavoidable, keep in touch with your doctor and take medications, lifestyle changes to combat the effect of extra blood loss.

hygene-products

It’s important to exercise appropriate hygiene practice, lubrication during sexual intercourse to prevent any vaginal, cervical tear. 

In a nutshell, hygiene living practices, awareness, healthy lifestyle can go a long way in preventing spotting in the morning.

Difference Between Spotting and Periods

Sometimes you might get confused between your normal period and spotting. And also get anxious by misinterpreting your period as abnormal spotting. 

So, a few key points to help you differentiate between spotting and periods include:

  • Spotting is a very light degree of bleeding and can be contained by only using a panty line. Your periods are much heavier and require a pad or tampon to contain the bleeding from spreading.
  • Spotting usually lasts for a day or two, while your periods last for about 4-7 days
  • Spotting doesn’t follow a set time and can occur at any time outside of your menstrual cycle. The periods usually follow a monthly gap in the case of women with regular cycles while it may also not follow a fixed formula in the case of women with irregular cycles.

FAQs

Why am I spotting first thing in the morning?

Answer: Spotting in the morning can indicate a prolongation of your menstrual cycle, any wear or tear in your vagina from sexual intercourse or masturbation or it can indicate serious conditions as STI such as syphilis, gonorrhea, or even tumor formation.

Is it normal to experience bleeding after starting contraceptive methods?

Answer: Yes! It’s normal that your body will experience some degree of change if you inoculate a foreign object in your vagina eg: IUD hormonal or non-hormonal. Also, you are likely to experience bleeding from contraceptive pills as they cause a hormonal imbalance in your body.

When should I visit a doctor for my spotting?

Answer: In most cases, spotting between periods is not a cause of worry and it gradually subsides after a few days. But, if you experience some other symptoms such as pelvic pain, painful urinal discharge, spotting for a prolonged period, it might not be normal and you should try to find a remedy immediately. In such situations, visit your doctor when you develop

Is spotting a sign of pregnancy?

Answer: Yes! Spotting can be a sign of pregnancy. Spotting during pregnancy has a characteristic pink or dark brown color to it. You will also find some feature associated with it which includes:

How long does implantation bleeding last?

Answers: It usually lasts 1-2 days

What is the color of spotting blood?

Answer: Spotting is usually such a light degree of bleeding that you can miss it unless it’s placed on your bed sheets or toilet paper. You will likely see light traces of pink or brownish blood.

Final Words

Spotting in the morning can be an added hindrance to the day-to-day life of women in addition to the already scheduled menstrual cycle.

While extra bleeding following drug intake or contraception is quite inevitable and there’s not much you can do to stop it. But, what you should watch out for, are bleeding from tears in your vagina, unhygienic sexual practices, masturbation, and other causes that are avoidable.

So, be conscious, lead a hygienic, healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly. A healthy lifestyle can help avoid spotting in the morning.

Faiyad Ahmed

Faiyad Ahmed

Hello, this is a Faiyad Ahmed. As a future doctor pursuing my MBBS degree, I have always been enthusiasitic about influencing a much healthier, wholesome approach to leading life. Here's hoping my passion for healthful living is reflected on my articles and people can change their overall outlook on living following those.

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