Spotting after period is the passage of a small amount of blood after the menstrual cycle of the woman ends. Spotting after period is also known as intermenstrual bleeding or metrorrhagia.
The length or duration of the menstrual cycle varies from woman to another woman. But, mostly the duration of the menstrual cycle is about 27 to 32 days in most of the women.
The duration of menstrual bleeding can also range from 3 to 5 days in most of the healthy women. But, in some women bleeding or discharge of blood occurs after the period has ended.
This spotting after period can be brown colored, red-colored, pink colored or sometimes even mixed with mucus. Sometimes spotting after period can be caused by minor problems like hormonal changes. Yet, sometimes there can be several gynecological disorders underlying the spotting after period.
Why am I spotting after my period?
This is the question that comes to the minds of many women. Sometimes women might be really worried if they are suffering from some sort of uterine problem if they experience even a light bleeding after period. So, let us explore all the causes of spotting after period including the minor and major causes.
During initial years after menarche:
When a young girl starts to experience menses for the first time, it is called menarche. During the initial years of the menstrual cycle, the young girl might have many hormonal fluctuations. This can lead to the development of light bleeding after period.
But, as time passes the girl’s body gets adjusted to the hormonal changes and the spotting after period reduces in frequency. Then the menstrual cycle becomes normal like other women.
Taking Oral contraceptive pills:
Oral contraceptive pills, both the combined oral contraceptive pills and the progestin-only pills can lead to spotting after period. These OCP or oral contraceptive pills elevate the level of female hormones like estrogen and progesterone in the body.
Our body becomes used to these hormones. Then if you suddenly stop taking these hormonal pills or birth control pills, our body cannot suddenly adjust to the hormonal fluctuations.
This leads to spotting after period or light vaginal bleeding due to the withdrawal of hormones. But, after some time our body acclimatizes to the hormonal withdrawal and then spotting after period stops.
Many women use intrauterine contraceptive devices or IUD like Mirena and also copper IUD. They also tend to cause spotting after period. This sort of bleeding is more common with copper IUD and less with Mirena and other hormonal IUD.
So, in women who experience heavy intermenstrual bleeding while using copper IUD, physicians generally suggest these women shift to Mirena and stop using copper IUD.
There are many contraceptive patches available in the market like Implanon. They are placed subcutaneously under the skin. They release hormones like progesterone constantly and act as a contraceptive. They can also lead to intermenstrual bleeding or spotting after period.
Trauma during sexual intercourse:
While having sexual intercourse, the woman needs to have sufficient lubrication to avoid any injuries to the vagina and the cervix. If the woman doesn’t use adequate lubrication or if her natural lubrication is low, she can develop injury of the vaginal walls or cervix during sexual intercourse.
If this injury occurs after completion of your period, this can lead to the development of spotting after period. To avoid such problems, always ensure you have adequate lubrication.
Uterine polyps are small outgrowths from the uterine wall facing the uterine cavity. These polyps are benign or non-cancerous. The presence of such polyps can also lead to spotting after period or intermenstrual bleeding.
But, it is generally seen in women above the age of 40 years. It is rare in the younger women or women under the age of 40 years.
Fibroids are also known as leiomyomas of the uterus. They are also benign growths in the uterine wall. Thye cause many symptoms like spotting after period, heavy menstrual bleeding, pain during menses or dysmenorrhea, feeling of pressure in the pelvis and lower abdomen, increased frequency of urination, etc.
Many types of infections can lead to spotting after period. It can be brown or red discharge from the vagina. It can also be a yellowish brown discharge or spotting. It is caused by infection of the vagina which causes vaginitis or infection of the cervix which causes cervicitis.
Spotting after period can be caused by infections such as chlamydia, Trichomonas, Gonorrhea, etc.
Ovulation or the release of the ovum occurs about 14 to 16 days before the start of the menses or the menstrual blood flow. During ovulation, the egg or ovum can rupture and lead to spotting after period.
There is a change in the hormonal levels, for example, a decrease in the estrogen hormone during ovulation which is responsible for the intermenstrual bleeding.
Some women have irregular cycles, for example, there is 4 weeks gap between 2 menstrual cycles and 5 or 6 weeks gap between another 2 menstrual cycles. Irregular menstrual cycles are also known as anovulatory cycles.
In women with irregular or anovulatory cycles, there is no ovulation. This can also lead to heavy intermenstrual bleeding or spotting after periods.
PCOD is the abbreviation of polycystic ovarian syndrome or disease. Women suffering from this condition have several cysts in their ovaries that are lined like a necklace in the ovary. These women have high levels of male hormones or androgens like testosterone.
They can suffer from many symptoms like spotting after period, irregular menstrual cycles, amenorrhea, infertility, hirsutism or excessive hair growth on the body, etc.
The Thyroid hormones produced from the Thyroid gland regulate the menstrual cycle as well. Women suffering from Thyroid problems tend to suffer from spotting after period.
Sometimes when you have become pregnant or even the embryo gets implanted into the uterine wall, you develop implantation bleeding.
When you become pregnant in between the menstrual cycle and you develop spotting after period or intermenstrual bleeding due to implantation, you get confused if you are having a period or you have become pregnant. You will need to get a pregnancy test done to differentiate pregnancy and menses.
This is one of the most common causes of spotting after period in the premenopausal women. In such women, the levels of estrogen are very low. They lead to the atrophy and dryness of the vagina.
So, Atrophic vaginitis makes a woman develop spotting after period after sexual intercourse or even without sexual intercourse sometimes.
Sometimes spotting after period can be caused by more serious conditions like cervical cancer too. It generally causes postcoital bleeding or bleeding after sex.
Cancer of the endometrial lining of the uterus can also lead to spotting after period in some women. This generally occurs in women who are in the premenopausal age range.
Some women suffer from bleeding disorders due to defects in the coagulation or clotting system or defect in the platelets. They also tend to develop intermenstrual bleeding or spotting after period.
Some women take anticoagulant drugs like heparin, warfarin, clopidogrel, dabigatran, etc to get rid of blood clots obscuring the blood flow in the body. In addition to the dissolution of the existing blood clots, these drugs can sometimes lead to spotting after period or heavy intermenstrual bleeding.
Stress is another reason which causes spotting after period. Stress and anxiety can lead to hormonal changes in the woman’s body leading to the development of spotting after period.
Steps to take to control spotting after period:
You need to be aware of the measures to be taken if you develop intermenstrual bleeding. Let us look at them.
We all know that obesity is associated with many different types of ailments in the body. Obesity leads to excess estrogen in the body. This hormonal excess can lead to spotting after period. So, always try to keep your weight within the normal range.
You can try to do dietary modifications, participate in some form of exercises every day to shed the extra pounds.
You need to keep Stress and anxiety under control by practicing relaxation techniques every day. Try to concentrate on your breathing or meditate for some time. Try to do swimming, yoga or pranayama. You can try any other activity which relaxes you.
Birth control pills:
Sudden cessation of birth control pills can lead to withdrawal bleeding which appears as spotting after period. So, never stop birth control pills suddenly without the advice of your doctor.
Change of contraceptive method:
If you are using any contraceptive method which causes spotting after period like Copper IUD, Implanon, etc, try to change to some method like using Mirena or hormonal IUD which are not associated with spotting after period.
Check the drugs you are taking:
If you are taking any anticoagulant drugs that might cause spotting after period, do consult your physician to adjust the dosages of the drugs.
If you are suffering from any infections like Trichomonas, Chlamydia, Gonorrhea which can cause spotting after period, you need to get rid of those infections by taking appropriate antibiotics and other drugs to treat them.
You also need to treat your partner with the drugs as these infections are transmitted sexually from one partner to the other. Also, make sure to use protection like condoms to avoid contracting such infections.
Improper lubrication can lead to trauma to the genital parts that lead to spotting after period. So, make sure you always have sufficient lubrication.
Regular pap smears:
Cervical cancer can also lead to spotting after period. So, we need to get pap smears done regularly to diagnose cervical cancer in the initial stages. Early diagnosis of cervical cancer enables us to treat it properly and prevent progression and metastatic spread of cancer.
When to consult your physician:
- You need to consult your physician if you have any abnormal symptoms like dysmenorrhea, heavy bleeding, abdominal pressure, etc.
- You need to consult your doctor if you have any foul odor of the vaginal discharge, pain in the vagina, itching, etc.
- If you have developed bleeding after sexual intercourse or have postcoital bleeding.
- If you don’t have normal pap smears within the last 2 years or if you have never undergone pap smear in your lifetime.
- If you are a postmenopausal woman and have spotting after period.
- If you are very young or less than 12 years and have spotting after period.
You have seen all the different causes of having intermenstrual bleeding or spotting after period. We have also discussed the various measures you need to take to get rid of spotting after period.
If you have any doubt that your spotting after period is not normal, then ensure you consult your physician promptly to get proper medical diagnosis and treatment.