Spotting vs. Period

 

A new cycle begins on the first day of the period, but what exactly counts as a period is sometimes unclear.  Spotting may or may not occur leading up to menstruation. It is typically brownish, sometimes greasy, and usually occurs over one to two days. However, the first day of the cycle is always considered to be the first day of active bright red bleeding and flow. Therefore, pre-menstrual spotting is always considered part of the previous cycle (see figure).

Ovulation Spotting

Some women notice spotting, light bleeding, or red, pink or brown blood-tinged discharge around ovulation. This normally occurs while the basal temperature is still at a lower level, or just as it is rising to the higher level, and is caused by a relatively rapid drop in the oestrogen level after the preovulatory phase. Occasionally, the oestrogen concentration falls below the critical threshold necessary for the maintenance of the uterine lining, and spotting occurs. This spotting is often associated with mild cramping, and should not be confused with a true period, which occurs about 10-16 days after the temperature rise. In medicine, this form of cycle disorder (also known as middle bleeding), is not considered abnormal. However, if it occurs more frequently, or even regularly, a doctor should still be consulted to clarify that it has no other causes and is harmless.

Spotting vs. Period

Implantation Spotting 

When an egg cell has been successfully fertilized, it nests in the lining of the uterus, causing minor damage to blood vessels and causes bleeding. Implantation spotting takes place approximately 4-6 days after fertilization and can be an early sign of pregnancy. However, there are also women in whom it does not occur at all or is so minimal that it goes unnoticed. In order to distinguish an implantation bleeding from a period, one must pay attention to color and strength. The implantation hemorrhage is lighter and redder, not painful and usually of short duration. It can last a few days, but it remains constant in quantity and does not increase like menstruation. Sometimes, you may also notice a slight increase in temperature. Menstruation can also be light red in the beginning, but it typically becomes much stronger, darker, and browner over the course of menstruation. Additionally, the timing of the bleeding is also a good indicator of whether or not it is implantation spotting, as implantation spotting usually occurs earlier (4-6 days after ovulation) than the expected period (10-16 days after ovulation).

Below is a table that may help you to identify the different bleedings:

Comparison table

 

How to enter your menstruation in Daysy

Wake up Daysy by pressing the activation button once briefly. Press and hold the activation button until the purple light remains solidly lit, and you hear a beep. Confirm menstruation for each day that you have active bleeding and blood flow.  At least three consecutive days of menstruation should be entered. Please do not enter spotting as menstruation. If you are unsure, please contact our support team, and they will be happy to assist you. The better you know your cycle, the easier it will be for you to distinguish a real menstruation from other bleeding.

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Author
Dr. Niels van de Roemer