When we talk about vaginal bleeding, most women think of their monthly periods. However, around 5% to 13% of women experience bleeding or spotting in between cycles. This can be due to several reasons. Most of the time it’s nothing to worry about, but other times it may indicate a health problem or pregnancy. In this article we will be talking about ovulation bleeding and spotting, bleeding before/after ovulation and how different it is from your period.
Ovulation bleeding and spotting: what is it?
Ovulation happens when the egg is released from the ovary. Ovulation bleeding is usually a consequence of oestrogen levels that drop before ovulation and can make the endometrium to shed. Around 5% or less of women experience ovulation bleeding or spotting. This is when light bleeding occurs for 1 to 2 days around ovulation. Each woman can experience it differently, some women experience it regularly, whilst others never do, or experience it from time to time.
Ovulation bleeding is lighter than your normal period, ranging from a light pink to a bright red or dark brown. The difference in colour is related to the blood flow and the fact that is mixed with cervical mucus.
Ovulation bleeding and spotting: how to identify it?
Ovulation bleeding occurs outside your regular periods. It is a lighter bleed, lasting one to two days. It happens around the time of ovulation. If you are tracking your cycle and notice a bleed around ovulation, it may be ovulation bleeding. You can still get pregnant during that cycle even if ovulation bleeding occurs.
Ovulation bleeding and spotting: why does it happen?
Ovulation bleeding or spotting happens because of the hormonal changes around ovulation time, more specifically a drop in oestrogen levels. Women who experience ovulation bleeding may also have higher levels of luteal progesterone and luteinizing hormone around ovulation.
Bleeding after ovulation (implantation bleeding)
Spotting after ovulation may be a sign of pregnancy. This is usually called implantation bleeding. It happens when the fertilized egg implants in the uterus. It occurs around the time you are expecting your cycle to start, but you will notice significant differences relating to your normal period.
Implantation bleeding is usually light pink to dark brown and will be a lighter flow. It lasts between 12 hours to 2 days. Around one-third of women will experience implantation bleeding as an early sign of pregnancy.
Other types of spotting
Vaginal bleeding can still be related to other factors, apart from ovulation, implantation and regular periods:
- Contraceptives (birth control pill, IUDs and other hormonal contraceptives)
- Fibroids and polyps
- Bleeding disorders
- Other conditions
Spotting or bleeding related to ovulation, implantation or periods, is harmless. However, if you experience unusual or heavy bleeding, seek medical advice. Tracking your cycle may help your doctor identify the cause of the bleeding or spotting.
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