Spotting Before Period: Should You Be Concerned?

There are many reasons that can cause spotting before period. You need to be aware of them and other symptoms that can occur along with this type of vaginal discharge. In the majority of cases, a small amount of pre-menstrual bleeding isn’t a reason for concern. However, if it occurs on a regular basis, it can be a signal of a serious health condition.

Vaginal Discharge: Types

Vaginal discharge occurring between your periods is normal and its appearance can change depending on the time of the cycle. Clear or whitish discharge is no reason for concern as it moisturizes your tissues.

However, if the secretion you see is yellowish or foul smelling, you need to seek medical help. These changes can be caused by various conditions, so it’s imperative that you take the necessary tests in order to determine the cause.

Spotting is a type of vaginal discharge tinged with blood. Its color may vary depending on the concentration of blood and its state. Take note of the color, exact time, and severity of the bleeding that occurs between your menstrual cycles as you will have to report these details to your doctor.

If the bleeding that occurs between your periods is heavy, you must seek medical help immediately. This is a symptom of conditions that can be life-threatening.

Common Causes

Menstrual discharge consists of several layers, and it’s not unusual for one of them to separate and leave your body before the actual bleeding. In this case, the spotting will be brown in color and occur right before your period. This is a normal occurrence, so you shouldn’t worry about it.

However, there can be some much more dangerous causes of pre-menstrual spotting:

  • Polyps – Hormonal dysfunctions can cause groups of your cells inside the uterus to grow abnormally. This leads to the occurrence of polyps. These abnormalities can bleed on their own or cause bleeding due to the fact that they damage the uterus.
  • Birth control pills – These medications affect your hormonal levels and therefore can cause pre-menstrual brownish discharge. Spotting can also occur if you fail to take the pills regularly and on time.
  • Pregnancy – When a woman gets pregnant, implantation bleeding can occur. It is caused by the fetus attaching itself to the walls of the uterus. When this happens, the lining of the inner walls can rupture and cause bleeding. In the majority of cases, this type of spotting occurs a week before your usual period.
  • STDs or other infections – Sexually transmitted diseases that usually cause pre-menstrual spotting are genital warts, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. This condition can also be caused by Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and vulvovaginitis. If the spotting is caused by an infection, it is usually accompanied by other symptoms, such as a rash, itching, burning, vomiting, high fever, painful urination, and pain in the lower abdomen.
  • Endometriosis – This condition occurs when the cells similar to the ones that grow inside your uterus (endometrial cells) start growing outside of it. In the majority of cases, these abnormal cell formations attach themselves to the ovaries, outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, surface lining of your pelvic cavity, in the vagina, or on the fallopian tubes.
    Bleeding caused by endometriosis can occur at different times. This condition requires prompt medical attention.
  • Perimenopause – If you are currently approaching menopause, spotting in between periods is natural as it is caused by hormonal changes that occur inside your body. It should cease when you enter menopause. If it doesn’t, you must contact your doctor immediately. Vaginal bleeding that occurs after your body has “switched” to this state is an alarming symptom that can be caused by cancer or other dangerous conditions.
  • Cancer – Spotting before period is not a common symptom of cancer, but the risk does exist. The situation is particularly worrying if the bleeding is heavy and painful.
    You will need to contact your doctor and check for cancer, even if the actual risk is minimal. If this is true, the sooner you start your treatment program, the better chance of recovery you will have.
  • Thyroid disorders – If your thyroid gland malfunctions in any way, you will definitely develop hormonal imbalance of some sort. If this condition affects estrogen, pre-menstrual vaginal discharge is likely to occur.
  • Ovulation – Vaginal discharge can occur during ovulation due to the estrogen boost your body receives.
  • Ectopic pregnancy – In this case, the occurrence of bleeding before period is a coincidence. Ectopic (tubal) pregnancy is very dangerous and the condition can be extremely painful. It requires immediate treatment.

When to Call a Doctor?

You should contact a doctor about your condition if:

  • Spotting turns to heavy bleeding.
  • Your menstrual bleeding doesn’t fit the usual pattern.
  • Bleeding occurs after menopause.
  • Pre-period spotting occurs more than three menstrual cycles in a row.
  • Bleeding between periods lasts for more than three days.
  • Bleeding occurs after sex and it is heavy.
  • Vaginal bleeding recurs every three weeks.

You need to understand that spotting is a symptom that occurs after the original problem has already developed. If it is dangerous, you need to start treatment as soon as possible. Getting regular pap smears (once a year) should help you catch any condition at its early development stages. This will increase your chances of recovery greatly.