9 Reasons You’re Spotting Before Your Period

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spotting

Every woman expects to bleed during her period, but what if you’re seeing a little blood in the middle of your cycle or days before your period? Is there something wrong? Should you see your doctor?

What you’re seeing is probably “spotting,” and it’s typically harmless.

9 reasons you're spotting before your period

What Is Spotting?

Spotting is light bleeding from the vagina. The bleeding may just be a few spots (hence the name), or it may be a very light flow. Spotting occurs in between periods.

While similar to your period, spotting is much lighter and is often short-lived. In most cases, the bleeding stops in just a few hours or days. The color of the blood may be pink, red or brown, depending on the age of the blood.

2 Types of Spotting

There are two main types of spotting that most women experience before their periods: brown and pink.

1. Brown Discharge Before PeriodRed spot on white background

Seeing brown discharge, or spotting, before your period can be concerning. You may be used to seeing brown-colored blood at the end of your period – not before it.

The color of the discharge is easily explained. The longer the blood stays in the body, the darker it becomes. Aged blood is brown in color.

Light brown discharge before period may be the result of ovulation, birth control, or menopause.

Dark brown discharge before period may also be harmless, but in some cases, it can also be a sign of something more serious. Typically, the spotting will also be accompanied by other symptoms.

2. Pink Discharge

Pink spotting, or discharge, typically means that the blood is fresh. Many women see this type of discharge just before they start their periods, but it is also common to see pink spotting in between cycles.

Like with brown discharge, pink discharge is usually no cause for concern. But there are instances where it may be an indication of an underlying problem.

9 Causes for Spotting Before Period

Whether you’re spotting 3,4,5,6 days before your period or spotting 1,2 weeks before your period, you may be concerned that something is wrong.

The good news? In most cases, the discharge or spotting you’re experiencing are nothing to be concerned about. We’ll talk about the most common causes for spotting before your period, and when you should see a doctor.

1. You Just Started Your Period

When you first start your period, your cycle will likely be irregular for the first few years. And to make it even more difficult to get a handle on your period, you may get some spotting here and there in between your irregular periods.

During those first few years of menstruating, your body is still trying to figure things out. Sometimes, the uterus starts to shed its lining at the wrong time of the month.

If you’ve recently gotten your period for the first time, that may be the cause of your spotting – especially if you’ve noticed that your cycle has been irregular.

2. Birth Control

Close up oral contraceptive pills, condom in denim pocket

Birth control alters your hormone levels, which can make your body do unusual things – like bleed when it’s not supposed to.

Spotting is very common with IUDs, particularly within the first six months of having one inserted. Both hormonal and copper IUDs cause spotting.

If you’ve just started or stopped taking the pill, you may also experience spotting. Birth control boosts estrogen levels to keep the lining of your uterus in place.

If birth control is the cause of your spotting, your symptoms should clear up in one to three months. Also, if you missed your birth control pill, you may get some spotting over the next few days.

Emergency contraceptives can also cause spotting.

3. Pregnancy

Yes, pregnancy can cause spotting. When the fertilized egg implants itself into the uterine lining, it can cause light bleeding, which is known as implantation bleeding.

Pink spotting or discharge may be the first sign of pregnancy. Implantation typically occurs 10-14 days after conception.

You may also experience slight cramping or pain in addition to the bleeding. But the bleeding is very light and lasts for only a short amount of time. If your spotting continues for a few days or gets heavier in flow, pregnancy is probably not the cause.

4. StressStress level conceptual meter indicating maximum

Stress can wreak havoc on your body. And it can cause your cycle to become irregular, too. That can lead to a vicious cycle of stressing out about your period being irregular, your period still being irregular, and stressing out again.

When you’re stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol causes the body to release less progesterone and estrogen, which messes with your cycle. With your hormone levels out of whack, your periods may be irregular, or you may get some spotting in between your periods.

5. Uterine Fibroids

If you’re also experiencing other symptoms, like pelvic pain, heavy bleeding and pain during sex, the problem may be uterine fibroids.

Don’t panic – fibroids are very common. Some experts estimate that 70%-80% of women will have fibroids at some point. And there are plenty of treatments available to help manage the condition.

Common symptoms of uterine fibroids include:

  • Pressure and pain in the pelvis
  • Heavy bleeding during your period
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Pain during sex
  • Constipation
  • Anemia
  • Pain in the legs
  • Enlarged abdomen

Talk to your doctor if you think fibroids may be the cause of your spotting.

6. Thyroid Problems

Thyroid problems can also mess with your cycle, and cause spotting in between periods. A slow thyroid, better known as hypothyroidism, can also mess with your body temperature and your metabolism.Anatomical shape of the thyroid gland near the stethoscope, which examines it

While it sounds serious, and it can be if left untreated, thyroid issues are easily managed with medication and are very common.

Common symptoms of thyroid issues include:

  • Unexplained weight loss or gain
  • Swelling in the neck
  • Heart rate changes
  • Mood or energy changes
  • Hair loss
  • Difficulty regulating body temperature
  • Constipation
  • Irregular periods
  • Brittle nails and dry skin

7. Ovulation

If you’re seeing light spotting, ovulation may be the cause. While it sounds unusual, ovulation can cause some bleeding and cramping.

Ovulation occurs about halfway through your cycle. Along with spotting, some women may experience pain on one side. When the blood mixes with your cervical fluid, it can cause the discharge to appear pink, red, or brown.

If you’re spotting two weeks before your period, then it’s likely ovulation that’s causing the bleeding.

Don’t freak out! Ovulation spotting is a good sign, and indicates that you’re ovulating as normal.

8. Injury

In some cases, injury can be the cause of spotting. The opening of the uterus or the cervix can be sensitive and will bleed a little if manipulated or touched. Some women are more sensitive than others, which can make them more prone to bleeding.

Aggressive intercourse or a pap test may be all it takes to injure the cervix or opening of the uterus.

In most cases, this type of injury causes brown or red spotting. If the spotting occurs the same day as the injury, it will likely be red in color, but if the spotting occurs a few days later, the blood may be brown in color.

9. InfectionViruses and blood cells

Infections can also cause spotting in between periods, such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, and bacterial vaginosis.

If the spotting is caused by an infection, a trip to the doctor is in order. In many cases, these conditions can be cured with a round of antibiotics.

It should be noted that about 75% of women will experience no symptoms with chlamydia. In fact, bleeding in between periods is one of the least common symptoms for this sexually transmitted infection.

As for gonorrhea, the most common symptoms in women include:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Painful urination
  • Bleeding in between periods

Common bacterial vaginosis symptoms include:

If you’ve been having unprotected sex with multiple partners, it’s important to get tested for STIs to make sure you’re not infected. While not a common symptom, these infections can cause spotting or heavier bleeding in between periods.

If an STI is left untreated, it can lead to complications, including infertility. Most infections can successfully be cured with a simple round of antibiotics.

When to See a DoctorProfessional medical doctor in white uniform gown coat working with patient

In most cases, spotting – whether pink, red or brown – is no cause for concern whether it occurs before or after your period.

But if you’re really worried about the spotting, see your doctor to make sure there’s no underlying cause. Sudden changes to your cycle are an indication that something is going on, so let your doctor know about these changes.

If you experience any of the following, consult with your doctor:

  • Spotting that continues for three or more menstrual cycles
  • Heavy bleeding that lasts more than three days
  • Heavy bleeding after sex
  • Bleeding that occurs every three weeks or more frequently
  • Bleeding after menopause
  • Any abnormal bleeding

If you are suffering with any of the symptoms above, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will be able to determine what’s causing your symptoms, and help you find an appropriate treatment option.

44 COMMENTS

  1. Two weeks ago I experienced implantation bleeding which lasted for about three days, after that my period came for just three days which is pretty irregular… Am I pregnant or do I need to see a doctor ?

  2. I noticed about 4-5 days ago I had brownish discharge only when I wiped. There would be a little spot on a panty liner but the majority of it was when I would wipe. It was sort of thick but dry if that makes sense. Almost like there was pieces of tissue in it. I am on birth control and am due to start my period in a week give or take, what could be causing this? I’ve never had anything like that happen before. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!!

  3. Comment:I had a light bleeding which lasted for 3 days before period and I did my pregnancy test which came out with very faint negative,am I pregnant

  4. i NOTICED ON MY OVULATION DAY I WIPED AND IT WAS PINKISH. HAVING STOMACH AND BACK PAINS AS WELL. JUST HAD MY PERIOD FIRST DAY WAS SEPT. 3. DOES ANYONE HAVE IDEA WHAT THIS COULD BE? ANY ADVISE OULD BE HELPFUL.

  5. Ive been stressed lately. I live with a drama queen and last month i spotted a day or two before my period. Im due to have my period in two days but spotted right now , i hope everything is okay. Im going to see a doctor when i get off my period. Right now im sitting on the couch n taking it easy. I am always on my feet lately, maybe that has something to do wit it?

    • Hi I was wondering what had happened because I am spotting right now well yesterday and today it’s a lot lighter like if I sat there and continuously wiped it would go away haha but I’m suppose to start my period in 2 days and wondering what is this cAuse

  6. I have best experience I had pink discharge and brown jelly like discharge period before ovulation and when I check my pregnancy test with strip it came positive

  7. I started spotting 4days before my period and it’s real light only when I wipe pain in my lower stomach and back been very sleepy don’t want to do nothing I don’t know what’s wrong with me

  8. I started bleeding after 2 weeks of my period. First it was heavy brown discharge, couple of days later it become red thick blood cramps. I’m not on my period but I have to wear protection in order to keep my clothes clean. I can’t deal with that. I’m stressed out lately but I’ve never experienced anything like that before.

  9. Comment:
    I missed my period for 6 days and on the 7th day I had a flow which I thought was my period but only lasted for like an hour. I’m still experiencing cramps too. Can I be pregnant?

  10. I have been spotting for about 3 days now. The discharge is brownish in colour & am not experiencing any pain or any discomfort. What could really be the problem?

  11. Hi my name is noluthamdo I spotted only for days than it stopped after that no periods than I did a pregnancy test to check whether am pregnant than i tested negative plz help me

  12. I have had implantation bleeding and i was craving and all the other stuff to do with pregnancy ,and my period came a week after,am i pregnant?

    • It’s not implantation bleeding unless you are pregnant so more than likely it was ovulation which it says it’s normal if you spot during and your body is preparing to have to a baby should you have sex

  13. Hie off late i have been seeing pink and brown discharge and I thought it was my period but its been reoccurring for some time now one day it’s there the next it’s not and i have been having serious pains as if I’m on my period.what could this be

    • If you are sexually active and didn’t use protection there are 2 sti that can cause spotting/ bleeding between periods. Because implantation bleeding doesn’t happen over and over in one pregnancy

  14. I finished my period on 11th of Nov…now am bleeding again which I don’t know if my period came back or it’s spotting. Cos I don’t think is normal to menstruate twice in a month. Pls and advise?

  15. Hi I started on birth control pills and on the 9 day of taking the pill I started getting pain in my stomach like cramps and my back started hurting too then I looks like I started my period early… does anyone know if this is normal or not?

  16. I have been spotting thick brown discharge since the start of this month (it is now the 24th) with light pelvis pains. Do you have any idea what is wrong with me ?

  17. I have always had regular periods. However, My period isn’t due for another 7 days and I’ve been spotting ALL day. There is a pinkish blood there when I wipe. What does this mean? Any advice?

    • I’m in the same boat! I spotted 2 days ago and it was light pink when I wiped, and it only lasted a couple hours on and off… I’m due for my period in 7 days although it’s known to be early some months. I’m hoping it’s a sign I’m pregnant but I’m trying not to get my hopes up. I’ve have a little bit of cramping as well but I’ve never spotted this early before, i usually spot a little bit the day before.

      • This same exact thing is happening to me as well!
        My boyfriend and I had unprotected sex 13 days ago, this morning I started having the symptoms your experiencing. My periods not supposed to be for another 7 days.

      • I’m in the same boat as well I just all of the sudden spotting pinkish blood. I’m not suppose to start for another week and have no signs of starting my period. Idk what it could be never happened to me before.

  18. I was on the mini pill for 5 months I had no bleeding it was just thick brown discharge and had really bad abdominal pains. Now I’ve been off it for 3 weeks and I’m beginning my period but it’s extremely light and I have really bad period pains is this normal it’s worrying me

    • Periods are a bit wonky after being on birth control. It took me 2-3 cycles to get back to normal. If the pain is abnormal from your normal period pain, it may be good to visit your doctor.

  19. I had spotting almost a week before my expected period. A tiny bit of light pink, then a little more he next day, so i used wrapped toilet paper. But then it stopped. The blood barely went through one layer of paper, super light.
    It was a Thursday when I barely saw a spot of pink, Friday when I had enough to use paper in my underwear. And Sunday when I realized home pregnancy tests were saying positive. Monday the doctor confirmed.

    I am pregnant.

    Still spotting almost a week later. I think it’s fine though. Oh and cramps were for several days, but pretty much gone now.

  20. Hi. I need some help right now. I had unprotected sex last january 22 and had my period last feb 2. It lasts for 3 to 4 days. And i believed that it my calender, i would be ovualating on feb 15. Today, im having a spotting. Its pinkish. Should i be concern about this?

  21. I’ve been having lower back pains, my boobs and nipples hurt were I can’t even touch them. I’ve been nauseous and very tried plus irritable. Also my emotions have been all over the place. I feel bloated like everyday. Just recently had sex with my ex unprotected right after having a period for the first time in 1 year, my period only lasted 3 days. It was bright red blood and then on the 4th day it was light. Honestly, can someone tell me what’s wrong with me.

  22. I spotted for me be day only which has never happened to me before my period normally starts this time but was a couple of spots does anyone knows what could cause this.

  23. I had my unprotected sex on feb. 24. My period came on march 3. I have been spotting for 7days now but it was very light amount that i only used of panty liner. The color of the discharge is brown and sometimes pink. I used pregnancy test and it says its negative. My period due will be on April 3. Am i pregnant or is this someting serious? Pls i need your help. Thankyou

  24. So I got the Essure device put inside me August of 2009, I have had irregular period just that time but just recently was in the past week I started spotting so I figured I was fixing to start my period..the spotting lasted about 3-4 days, then all of a sudden a gush of blood came out so I figured this is my. So I went ahead and put a tampon in hours later when I’m supposed to change it I pulled it out and there was brownish discharge, also a black discharging also which really freak me out, I did not put another tampon in and then the next day I went to go to the bathroom and I wiped and a huge amount of blood I mean so much it got all over my hand so I went ahead and put another tampon on in all of this happened yesterday, we could take the tampon out this morning and nothing but black discharge again now I am really freaking out there is no way I am pregnant and not just because I had the Essure device put in because I have not had sex in a while due my body hurting so much from this Essure device (for those of you who do not know there is a lawsuit out on Essure device for lots of reasons) I have also been having back pains on both sides of my back, I have not told my husband any of this only because I do not want to worry him or freak him out but I am really freaking out myself does anybody have any idea what this could be……

  25. my flow has always been regular but last month it was so light and it lasted for 4 days, this month again my period is light, increased appetite,weight gain,off and on cramps ,heighten sense of smell, please am i pregnant?????

  26. I have been having light bleeding/spotting for the last nine days and today was the first day I had cramps I’m so confused and concerned my last af was on June 18th could I be pregnant

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