Spotting between periods isn’t normal. Yep, you read that correctly; the annoying tendency you have to spot between your periods may be normal to you, but it should be checked out by an OB/GYN.
There is only one “normal” reason for spotting in the middle of your menstrual cycle and that’s peri-menopause – the few years or months leading up to menopause, which is diagnosed by 12-missed periods in a row. Even if you’re in your mid- to late-40s, spotty periods are still worth checking out in case they’re a sign of one the conditions we’ve listed below.
What Causes Spotting Between Periods?
Here are some of the most common causes of spotting between periods. Again, we can’t emphasize enough – any irregularities in your period or cycle should be addressed by your physician or gynecologist.
You are over- or underweight
Weight has an effect on your body’s hormone balance. Thus, being overweight or underweight can cause spotting or irregular bleeding. An ideal body mass index for women is somewhere between 19 and 24.9. Check yours via this Online BMI Calculator and see if your BMI might be a culprit.
You exercise too much
Over-exercise puts your body in a state of stress and this can cause both missed periods or very spotty periods. If you’re an extreme athlete or exercise at an intense level on a regular basis, mention your skipped periods to your doctor to make sure everything else is in order. This is worth keeping in mind down the road, if/when you’re ready to get pregnant because spotty periods can mean you’re not ovulating, which will compromise your ability to get pregnant easily.
PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome)
Polycystic ovarian syndrome often results in hormone imbalances that cause spotting or irregular periods. It’s also one of the leading causes of infertility so getting a handle on it now will be worthwhile late on.
Hormonal birth control may need adjusting
If you’re taking the pill, using an IUD or a patch – and spot pass the normal “introductory” period – you may need a different dose or to try a different form that works better with your body’s rhythms.
You could have an STD
Certain STDs, such as chlamydia or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), cause spotting. Are you up to date on STD screening? Most insurance plans cover the costs, and clinics offer them for free.
An cervical or uterine infection
Sometimes, an infection of the cervix or uterine lining causes spotting. Again, because any untreated pelvic infection can morph into PID, it’s best to be examined sooner, rather than later.
Their name is a bit scary, but the good news is the large majority of fibroid tumors are not cancerous at all. However, depending on their size and/or location in the uterus, they can cause bleeding and irregular periods – including spotting. In most cases, they’re easy to remove.
Change in medication
Have you recently started or changed a medication? If so, this may affect bleeding. Check with the pharmacist to see if spotting would be a natural side effect of the change.
These are some of the most common reasons for spotting between periods. There are other causes as well – but all require accurate diagnosis of a physician or OB/GYN.
Are you spotting when you shouldn’t be? Schedule a consultation with the attentive staff at Overlake OB/GYN.