Why Am I Spotting Between Periods?

Hey Heather,

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve been spotting in between my periods and it’s freaking me out. I once heard that this is a sign that you’re pregnant – is that true? I’ve had sex before but we used a condom. I’m too scared to tell my mom and I’m so confused. Please help!!

I totally understand why this is making you freak out – noticing blood down there when you’re not on your menstrual cycle is a little unsettling, especially if it’s never happened before – but before you go into a full-on panic, try to relax so you can find out what’s really going on. There are a few different reasons you could be spotting and they range from super serious to not-so-serious.  But even with the not-so-serious reasons, spotting isn’t something you should ignore.

First of all, and I know this might sound like a weird question, but are you positive you’re bleeding from your vagina? It could be coming from your urine, your rectum or maybe even a cut you got down there shaving. Pay attention to when the bleeding happens and try to investigate down there with a mirror – or insert a tampon and see what comes out. You should also consider how heavy the bleeding is.

Now let’s go into some of the reasons you may be spotting. Have you recently changed your method of birth control? IUDs are known to cause occasional spotting and also switching up your birth control pills can do the same in the first month or so. Other hormonal changes could also be culprit. Believe it or not, stress also plays a part in spotting – it can cause bleeding between periods as well. If you’re on birth control pills and skipped a day or two, this can easily cause spotting. If you’ve recently taken the morning-after pill, that could also be the reason.

As for more serious reasons that you most likely don’t need to worry about, it could be from an untreated STD, an infection in your cervix, an injury of the vaginal opening, pregnancy complications, an underactive thyroid or a sign of cervical cancer.

I know those serious reasons sound super scary and I’m not trying to freak you out more – but you should know what spotting may be a sign of, even if it ends up being from something innocent. I definitely think you should see a doctor about this issue – I’m not a doctor and I don’t know you, so I can’t tell you exactly what’s going on. Also, self-diagnosing isn’t the best idea.

I’d suggest telling your mom about this, since it’s a relatively common problem and not something she should get angry about. However, if you feel really uncomfortable doing that, go to a clinic or Planned Parenthood in your area. Make sure to keep in mind when you’re spotting and how heavy the flow is – these are definitely questions a doctor will ask.

take care,
Heather

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