Imagine this: your period is either just over or isn’t due for a while. Yet for some reason, you’re spotting. What is going on? Should you start panicking?
Don’t worry, girl. Bleeding in between your periods can happen. One of the primary culprits is ovulation, aka the time when your ovary releases an egg in the middle of your cycle. Fortunately, ovulation bleeding doesn’t always mean that anything is wrong.
But does this mean ovulation bleeding is normal? When should you see your doctor when you experience spotting during ovulation?
What is Ovulation Bleeding?
Ovulation bleeding refers to spotting during the ovulation phase of your cycle. During the days leading up to your ovulation, there is a steady rise in your estrogen levels. Once you release an egg, your estrogen levels decrease while progesterone levels start to rise.
The shift in the balance between your progesterone and estrogen levels causes light bleeding. This is often lighter than your regular period. Most of the time, ovulation bleeding doesn’t cause any symptoms. In some cases, some people experience symptoms, like cramping or bleeding, that last longer than a few days.
People with an irregular menstrual cycle often experience unusual bleeding cycles. They either only get their period every few months or experience light bleeding for many days. Medical conditions like endometriosis and polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may also cause irregular cycles.
Why is There Blood in My Discharge During Ovulation?
Rapid hormonal changes can cause bleeding during ovulation. According to recent studies, higher levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and luteal progesterone were seen in women who experienced spotting during ovulation.
What Does Ovulation Bleeding Look Like?
Ovulation spotting looks like a lighter version of your regular period. Unlike your regular bleeding, you’ll only need a panty liner for the blood. The spotting is often mixed with cervical fluid, which results in red or light pink-colored discharge.
Apart from the lighter flow, how does ovulation spotting differ from your regular period?
Consider the differences of symptoms:
Symptoms of a Period (Menstruation)
- Slight weight gain or bloating
- Cramps in the lower back, pelvis or abdomen
- Sore, tender breasts
- Mood swings
Symptoms of Spotting
Unlike the normal menstrual bleeding, ovulation spotting is so light that all you need is a panty liner. The spotting may not have the symptoms associated with your regular period but if it is a result of other medical conditions, you may experience one of the following:
- Irregular periods
- Heavy bleeding during your menstrual period
- Pain or burning during urination
- Vaginal redness, itching or discharge
How Long Does Ovulation Bleeding Last?
Bleeding during ovulation can occur in the middle of your cycle, between 11 to 21 days after the first day of your recent menstrual period. In some cases, it can occur outside of your regular periods. Since it is a lighter version of your period, it can last for a day or two.
Spotting after ovulation can also be a sign of implantation spotting, which is a sign of the fertilized egg attaching to the inner wall of the uterus. Implantation spotting is also one of the earliest signs women experience once they get pregnant. This manifests via pink or light brown spotting, which lasts for two days.
When Should I Worry About Ovulation Bleeding?
If your ovulation bleeding or spotting doesn’t happen during your ovulation window (which is 11 to 21 days after the first day of your first period), then something isn’t right. The same applies when you experience severe, heavy and prolonged bleeding. See your doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor may ask you about your medical history as some health conditions trigger heavy bleeding in between menstrual cycles. Take note of the consistency and color of your discharge for the doctor’s notes. If you have a clear discharge with blood, consult with your physician ASAP.
Does Bleeding During Ovulation Mean You Are More Fertile?
Ovulation bleeding can be a sign that you are nearing a fertile window. If you are trying to get pregnant, the light spotting may be a sign that you can conceive.
Keep in mind that the egg is only available for fertilization for 12 to 24 hours — so get busy.
Bleeding Between Periods: Health Conditions Apart from Ovulation
Apart from ovulation, bleeding can happen between your periods if you have a health condition. There are many types of bleeding between cycles.
Consider the following:
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). This endocrine disorder causes the ovaries to develop small, unruptured cysts on the ovaries. You may experience a hormonal imbalance and not ovulation, which causes mid-cycle bleeding.
- Pre-menarche spotting. This happens during your first menstruation. In most cases, this is harmless.
- Ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg grows outside of the uterus, which causes spotting between periods.
- Perimenopause. If you are 40 years old or above and experience abnormal vaginal bleeding, you could be going through perimenopause.
- Liver or kidney disease. Both can cause abnormal bleeding or spotting.
- Thyroid issues. The thyroid releases hormones that regulate your menstrual cycle. Having low or high thyroid levels can cause spotting between periods.
Bleeding between periods could also be a sign of a sexually transmitted infection (STI) like Chlamydia, gonorrhea and human papillomavirus (HPV). With that in mind, if you’ve had unprotected sex and noticed spotting or bleeding, consult with your doctor. Untreated STIs can cause complications to your reproductive system.
Ovulation bleeding isn’t always a cause for concern. Bleeding during ovulation can occur once during each menstrual cycle. Before you start ovulating, you will experience a rise and fall of hormones, which causes the spotting.
Sometimes, however, it is hard to tell whether the bleeding you’re experiencing is concerning or not. If you’re experiencing light bleeding during ovulation, then you have nothing to worry about.
Still, it doesn’t hurt to check, especially if you’re planning to get pregnant.
If you have concerns with your cycle or are worried about ovulation bleeding, book an appointment with your gynecologist today.