Spotting, for those who don’t know, is non-period related bleeding. It’s easy to get freaked out about seeing a pop of red down there when you weren’t expecting it, but don’t get too frazzled yet—spotting is more common than you think, and many women experience it every day. So before you panic the next time you see some surprising red hues, read up on everything you need to know about spotting below.
The downfall with spotting, unlike period bleeding, is that it’s more sporadic. There’s no real set time of month that you can expect to find some unanticipated extras in your underwear. It’s irregular, and it all boils down to your body. Some ladies may experience one bout of spotting on a random day of the month, and others might experience it on a more interval basis, wherein it lasts for a day or two and then stops. What makes spotting less daunting than your period, however, is that it’s not quite as heavy of a flow as your menstrual cycle, so light panty liners should catch it right away.
Bottom line, it’s a regular occurrence for many women, so you can rest easy.
Typically, when your body starts to spot, it doesn’t necessarily mean something is terribly wrong. Usual causes of spotting can stem from regular ovulation, pregnancy, and even starting or switching birth control. When it comes to pregnancy, it usually happens within the early days and months of pregnancy, which can often be mistaken for a period (but never forget to double check with a pregnancy test!). Spotting, when related to the above, is nothing to worry about. However, there are instances when this sporadic bleeding can mean something more troubling.
Unfortunately, spotting can also mean something is off. The beauty of the human body is that it lets you know in subtle ways that something might not be working right. Although spotting when caused by pregnancy, birth control, and ovulation is quite normal, it can also mean a plethora of other things. Sporadic bleeding can be a symptom of an infection in the cervix, vagina, or other parts of your reproductive system. Common infections that can cause spotting vary from serious ones (such as pelvic inflammatory disease) to more manageable ones (such as yeast infections). Spotting can also mean there are polyps (growths) in your cervix or uterus. If the sporadic bleeding persists or you’re concerned, go see your doctor.
Spotting is as natural as menstruation. Although it can be caused by a variety of reasons, the likelihood that you’ll experience spotting at some point in your life does exist. Like your period, however, there are way to manage it and circumvent any annoying stains.
You know how you always have a handful of tampons or pads at the bottom of your bag when you’re on your period? You can handle spotting in a very similar way. Keep panty liners handy in whatever it is that you carry—that way should any unexpected bleeding happen, you can pop on a panty liner and keep it from ruining your underwear, pants, and arguably your mood. Being prepared is the key to keeping it under control.