Are you concerned by having vaginal bleeding in the middle of your menstrual cycle?

These are some things you need to know about this “mid-cycle bleeding” or “spotting”.

Vaginal bleeding occurs during your menstrual periods. However, there may be situations when bleeding occurs at times other than this.

If you are not taking oral contraceptives, mid-cycle bleeding is most likely related to ovulation bleeding. This type of bleeding is predictable and occurs 10-16 days after the onset of the patient’s last period. It is light, and lasts 12-72 hours. It occurs in 10%-30% of women and is considered normal. It occurs because there is a sudden normal increase in estrogen levels at ovulation which then drops. This causes the endometrium to shed slightly. It is an individual response to the hormonal changes associated with your menstrual cycle.

In the initial months when your periods first start, it is common to have irregular cycles and spotting. This is because your reproductive system is still synchronizing with the hormonal changes that your body is going through.

Because bleeding can mean a problem with pregnancy, possible pregnancy should always be considered if you are in the child bearing age. If associated with pregnancy, heavy vaginal bleeding or bleeding that occurs before 12 weeks may mean a serious problem such as an ectopic pregnancy or a miscarriage.

If associated with pregnancy, heavy vaginal bleeding that occurs after 12 weeks could indicate a serious problem, such as placenta praevia in which the placenta partially separates from the wall of the uterus as the uterus grows.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormone imbalance that interferes with normal ovulation and can cause abnormal bleeding.

Oral contraceptives could be associated with abnormal vaginal bleeding in the first few months of starting them, or if you do not take them at a regular time each day.

Infections of the vagina or cervix may cause vaginal bleeding especially after sex.

An intrauterine device (IUD) may be associated with spotting.

Stress: It is sometimes believed that your menstrual cycle may go out of sync if you are under prolonged and extreme stress.

During the period leading up to menopause-the peri-menopausal period, it is common for your periods to be irregular. After menopause, spotting is definitely abnormal and needs a doctor’s attention.

Should I be concerned?

Spotting does not necessarily mean that it is an indication of anything serious.

If it is heavy and you think that you could be pregnant, you must get it checked with your doctor immediately.

However, if light and lasts only a couple of days and you are not menopausal, it could be associated with a normal hormonal fluctuation.

Get yourself checked if you are worried and in any case, have regular health checks to make sure that you are in the best of health.

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