Brown Spotting Between Periods: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment
Have you experienced a brown spotting between periods? This doesn`t happen very often, but if it does, you need to be prepared and have knowledge of a few things which can bring you the peace of mind you need in such moments.
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Is It Normal to Have a Brown Discharge?
Brownish spotting before and after ovulation may often be a frightening experience. Maybe you have gone through such an experience, or maybe it`s your first time when this is happening. No matter your case, brown spotting can be a frustrating and stressful experience. But before we focus our attention on abnormal vaginal bleeding, we need to know first what`s a normal menstruation.
Menstrual bleeding lasts normally for 3 to 5 days. Although it may seem there`s a lot of blood lost during this period, the amount is only of 40ml to 100ml. While normal menstruation usually takes place every 28 days, menstruation occurring between 21 and 35 days are considered normal.
If it`s about a female person who is postmenopausal or younger than 11 years old and you notice the appearance of vaginal bleeding, you need to consult with a doctor as soon as possible. Also, you need to consult a specialist if it`s about a bleeding between periods. It`s best that before going to the doctor to identify the source of bleeding. Are you sure we are talking about a vaginal bleeding or one from the rectum? Is there blood in the urine? – Click here!
Causes for Brown Spotting
Some of the most common causes are:
- Implantation bleeding/pregnancy;
- Hormonal fluctuations;
- The administration or stopping oral contraceptives;
- Vaginal injuries;
- Malignant tumors;
- Vaginal infections;
- Certain drugs (especially anticoagulants);
- Bleeding caused by ovulation.
It`s very important to keep in mind how long was the bleeding and how many absorbents have you used. This information can help your doctor determine the cause of your abnormal bleeding.
You should expect to be asked for your medical history, as well as to perform a pelvic examination along with the Pap test. If you have a calendar of your menstrual cycle, you should be able to answer to your doctor`s questions. These questions may include:
- How much time did you experience spotting before or after ovulation?
- Does it happen to experience spotting every month?
- How much time does it lasts?
- Is spotting accompanied by cramps?
- Is there something that stops the spotting?
- Is there something that makes the spotting increase its flow?
- Is spotting harder to deal with in increased physical activity?
- Are there other symptoms like: pelvic pain, burning or pain during urination?
- Do you bleed in the stool or urine?
- Are you sexually active?
It`s also important to inform your doctor if you are pregnant, if you recently experienced an abortion or if you take any kind of medication, especially oral contraceptives which can cause bleeding between periods, sometimes also when they aren`t taken at the exact time every day.
Read more on Bleeding during Pregnancy: Why this Happens?
If you experience such bleeding, visit your doctor as soon as possible. Don`t forget the calendar where you noted all the important information about your menstruation because this can be the key to healing.
Other Causes for Spotting Before Ovulation
- Late Ovulation – Around 10% of women experience small bleeding symptoms due to a temporary decrease of the estrogen level from the organism, which happens when the egg is released by the ovaries. This bleeding, which can also be accompanied by small cramps or pains, occurs usually at 10 0 14 days from the last menstruation. Hormonal imbalances, however, or various drug treatments can delay ovulation or even stop it altogether, followed then by a normal menstrual cycle, but which doesn`t necessarily need to worry.
- Perimenopause – This is the transition period between the childbearing period and menopause, when the ovaries start to slow down the production of hormones. Due to hormonal disorders, they may be small bleeding signs between menstruation.
- Menstruation during Adolescence – When a girl reaches puberty and starts having a menstrual cycle, during the first months she may experience some disturbances that can include bleeding between periods. During the first menstrual cycles, the increase and decrease of the estrogen and progesterone level is made somewhat chaotic, but then it will adjust and become regular.
- Unusual Causes – If bleeding during menstruation is a prolonged and repeated process, and you`ve eliminated all the above causes, it`s necessary to visit your doctor for a more detailed examination as you may experience PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), an infection, endometriosis or even cancer. This bleeding can also be caused by some medical conditions that aren`t related with the reproductive tract, like diabetes and diseases of the thyroid, or certain drug treatments with corticosteroids or anticoagulants.
Symptoms for Spotting
In case that the bleeding continues for a longer period of time, it`s recommended to make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
Also, if you noticed any of the following symptoms, don`t hesitate to get in touch with a doctor as soon as possible:
- Bright red spots which appear after menstruation;
- Mild or extreme pelvic pains during menstruation;
- The appearance of spotting after unprotected sex;
- The appearance of spotting during ovulation.
Tests that Detect the Causes Spotting?
At present, there are a series of tests which can determine accurately what causes spotting, such as:
- Pelvic ultrasound, an initial test performed on women who complain of abnormal bleeding after menstruation. With this diagnostic method, the doctor will verify the existence of uterine polyps.
- Pregnancy tests are recommended to indicate if a possible pregnancy causes this type of bleeding.
- The Pap test is performed to determine the development of cervical cancer, and the blood test is made to determine the level of progesterone from the organism.
- There are also tests made to the thyroid and liver.
Treatment for Spotting
After the main cause of brown stringy discharge between periods was detected, the doctor can choose the best method of treatment.
In case the diagnosis finds a low level of progesterone, the doctor will prescribe you some progesterone supplements. However, if the progesterone treatment doesn`t offer results, there`s also the possibility of hysterectomy.
The development of cysts or polyps requires surgical treatment for their definitive removal.
Infections that cause spotting are treated with antibiotics.
In case of miscarriage, there`ll be a surgical procedure performed known as curettage.
There are cases in which spotting doesn`t occur regularly, and its appearance can be attributed to stress or other factors. Thus it`s recommended to minimize sources of stress, which can affect the entire organism, including the disruption of menstrual cycle.
Once you notice the appearance of some symptoms such as bright red spots, mild or extreme pelvic pains, or abnormal bleeding after sexual contact, get in touch with your doctor immediately.
Spotting in Early Pregnancy
The worst possible option is if the bleeding is a symptom of miscarriage. Spotting or extreme bleeding can also be early signs of miscarriage or moral pregnancy, especially if they are accompanied by cramps or abnormal pain. Be ready for this turn of events, but don`t lose hope!
Lots of pregnancies continue well despite any bleeding occurring. According to most statistics, around half of women who looked for medical assistance for bleeding in early pregnancy had a healthy pregnancy in the end.
Ovarian Polycystic Disease (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a hormonal imbalance which interferes with normal ovulation. Women with this disease don`t have a normal menstrual cycle. Thus, there are other systems of the organism affected, such as metabolic or cardiovascular systems.
Most women affected by PCOS show numerous small cysts (smaller than a pea) in the ovaries.
The disease is frequent, especially to woman up to 30 years old. Also, there are also genetic factors involved. The daughters and sisters of women with PCOS have a 50% risk of developing this syndrome.