Difference Between Spotting and Period

By | June 5, 2017
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Quite a lot women may experience spotting, and almost every female have period monthly. However, it is a little hard for some women to figure out the difference. You will experience the period in certain days, while spotting may be normal during the menstruation cycles of some women, it may be an indicator that something is not right in other ladies. For instance, spotting may be a sign of an underlying health condition or pregnancy. If you do not know how to differentiate between spotting and period, read on to find out.

Do You Have Period or Spotting?

Many women cannot figure out exactly whether she has period or spotting. This may be due to the two sometimes looks quite alike. So, quite a lot have the question: do I have period or spotting? To figure out the difference between spotting and period, you have to learn the two separately.

If You Have a Period

A period essentially marks the end of menstrual cycle in ladies. The menstrual cycle starts with ovulation, during which an egg is released by either ovaries. As the egg passes through the fallopian tube, it is prepared for fertilization by various reproductive hormones. At the same time, the inner uterine walls thicken and blood supply to the uterus increases in preparation for implantation. If the egg is not fertilized, it is shed out of the body through the vagina, along with the inner lining of the uterine wall. These come out in form of vaginal bleeding, referred to as the period.

A period lasts for two to seven days is normal. The color is bright red, and the blood may contain some clots. Under normal circumstances, you will need to change your menstrual pads or tampons at least once every two hours. If the bleeding is too heavy that you have to change pads in less than an hour, you should seek immediate medical attention. This is because such bleeding could be an indicator of an underlying medical condition. Also, you should be concerned if the bleeding continues for more than eight days.

If You Experience Spotting

As compared to a period, spotting is a lighter form of vaginal bleeding, which may occur any time during the menstrual cycle other than when the period is expected. In most cases, spotting in between periods is normal and may be a result of various factors. The commonest cause of spotting is hormonal changes in the body. Or, it can be a result of implantation bleeding, as the fertilized egg attaches itself to the inner wall lining of the uterus. Mentioned below are some of the health conditions that may be associated with spotting.

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  • Pelvic inflammatory disease – This infection is characterized by the inflammation reproductive organs, such as the fallopian tubes, uterus and the ovaries. The infection may lead to spotting or abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • Sexually transmitted infections – STIs are other common causes of spotting. Such infections will affect organs like the cervix, uterus, vagina, ovaries and the fallopian tubes. The infections may lead to abnormal bleeding or spotting, especially after intercourse or douching.
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) – Due to hormone imbalances, this condition may also lead to spotting.
  • Uterine fibroids – This condition is characterized by the growth of tumors in the uterus. Although the tumors are benign, they can lead to spotting or bleeding between periods.
  • Cancer – Bleeding in between your periods may also be a symptom of either cervical or ovarian cancer. Therefore, you should have a medical checkup as soon as possible.
  • Intrauterine device (IUD) – If you have an IUD in place, you have increased chances of having irregular or heavy bleeding.

What Are the Differences Between Spotting and Period?

While the amount of bleeding is the main difference between spotting and period, the following aspects may also be used to differentiate the two:

1. Nature and Amount of Discharge

The overall appearance and nature of the discharge may be used to tell spotting from a period. While a period comprises of a red heavy vaginal bleeding, which lasts for two to seven days, spotting does not involve actual bleeding. Instead, spotting is characterized by pink and brown spots around the vagina.

2. Associated Symptoms

You can also tell the difference between spotting and period by associated symptoms. The symptoms associated with a period are also quite different from that with spotting. As opposed to a period, you will not experience pain and cramps or backache during spotting or implantation bleeding.

3. When It Occurs

In most cases, spotting occurs a couple of days (two to seven) prior to the menstruation due date. This is probably why many ladies mistake spotting as a period, while it is not. If this happens to be the case, you will have to wait for a day or two for the period to start. However, if the bleeding does not become heavy, it is just spotting.

4. Duration

Dureation is an essential factor to know the difference between spotting and period. Both implantation bleeding and spotting do not last for a considerable period. If the light bleeding or spotting is a result of implantation, it will last for up to four days. In some cases, some ladies may also experience associated symptoms, which are mild in nature, for a day or two. A period, on the other hand, will last for between four and seven days.

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