Spotting but no period? Here's when to dial your gynecologist.
Ever had a period but the flow was too low to be counted as one? Or maybe you spotted a few drops of blood in your panties but it's not that of the month yet. Getting caught off-guard like this is not only an inconvenience but can be worrisome too.
But before you go into panic mode, take a deep breath. Spotting is not an uncommon occurrence even when you are pregnant.
There are several reasons why you may experience bleeding in between your periods or during pregnancy, and some of them have no reason to panic.
But why are you seeing spotting?
Unlike menstrual bleeding which tends to be red, heavy, and lasts up to 7 days, spotting is very light, pink-red in colour, and can appear any time of the month. While you won’t have to search for a tampon or pad, a panty liner will help keep your undies stain-free.
There are various reasons why you may experience such spotting. The most common cause is a hormonal imbalance caused due to birth control, stress, thyroid disorder, or weight fluctuations.
It is more frequent in women who are going through menopause or girls under 15 who have just started menstruating as their bodies tend to undergo several changes. And in some rarer cases, spotting could signify a pelvic infection, trauma, or even a sexually transmitted disease (STD).
And yes, pregnant women can have spotting too. it may also be caused due to release of eggs from the ovary during ovulation, a sign of early pregnancy or could also be a sign of a miscarriage too.
When to see a gynecologist?
Getting some spotting instead of a period is probably no cause for alarm if it is an isolated event. It is likely a result of some hormonal imbalance or extreme stress brought on by lifestyle changes that could resolve on its own during your next cycle.
We had a chat with Dr. Theertha Shetty, a practising gynecologist in Mumbai to find out more about spotting. As per Dr. Shetty, there is no need to worry about a little spotting in the following scenarios:
You may experience spotting after ovulation along with cramping pain called Mittelschmerz pain which will subside within 24-48 hours.
In the early days of pregnancy, some women may experience spotting which will usually coincide with their date of expected period. You may presume it to be a period but it is actually the lining at the implantation site being shed as the embryo gets implanted in your uterus.
You may experience spotting 1-3 days before you start bleeding during your cycle which is normal.
But you should call up a gynecologist or a doctor right away if the spotting is accompanied by symptoms such as-
You’ve missed your period and have spotting along with lower abdominal pain.
You have spotting which is unrelated to your period or ovulation.
You have spotting following menopause (cessation of periods for an entire year).
Spotting during pregnancy
“Spotting may be encountered during the earlier weeks of pregnancy. However, it may also signify an ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus), a subchorionic clot (blood clot close to the embryo) or a low-lying placenta” says Dr. Shetty.
So it is best to call up your OB/GYN and keep them updated with your symptoms, if you are pregnant to ensure your pregnancy is sailing smoothly.
Most women experience symptoms like spotting at some point during their life. But if talking to a gynecologist gives you peace of mind, go ahead.
We also recommend installing a period tracking app like Flo or Clue to start monitoring your menstrual cycle closely and staying on top of your health.
Dr. Theertha Shetty, having completed her MBBS, MS in 2017, fellowships in reproductive medicine and minimal access surgery in 2019 and DNB in 2020 is a practising gynecologist in Mumbai. She is passionate about reproductive health and is focused on creating awareness regarding the same. She strongly believes that women should make their health a priority and works day and night to create a judgement-free space for all.
Instagram handle: fervid_gynaecologist