Do you sometimes notice brown spots on your underwear around the middle of your cycle? Are you concerned about the vaginal bleeding about 2 weeks after your period? Do you find yourself wondering “Oh, why have I got my period so early?” But does it disappear soon and you have your period 2 weeks later again? Well, you have come to the right place to know about spotting during ovulation.
Let’s explore the menstrual cycle basics especially ovulation first!
Being a woman, you should know the basic events and hormonal changes in your menstrual cycle. This helps you understand any symptoms you might be experiencing like spotting during ovulation and the reason behind it. This can also help you get pregnant or avoid getting pregnant.
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- Your ovaries contain numerous follicles which are kind of balls of cells with an immature egg inside.
- The typical menstrual cycle starts on the first day of your period.
- They say “the menstrual cycle begins in the brain.” The pituitary gland secretes follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH).
- During the first 7 days, a few follicles begin to grow and secrete estrogen in your blood.
- Around day 7, all follicles stop growing and degenerate, except for one. This lucky follicle continues to grow and nourish the egg inside it.
- Around day 12, this follicle secretes very large amounts of estrogen. There is an “estrogen spike.”
- This estrogen travels in the blood all the way up to your pituitary gland and causes it to secrete luteinizing hormone (LH) in very large amounts. This acute rise in luteinizing hormone is called the “LH surge” and it occurs 36-40 hours after the estrogen spike.
- Around day 14, the LH surge triggers ovulation. The egg detaches from the inside of the follicle. The follicle bursts open and releases the mature egg.
- This egg is captured by the fallopian tube. It lives for 12 -24 hours, waiting for the sperm to fertilize it.
- During the next 14 days of the cycle, the estrogen levels decrease and the progesterone levels increase to prepare the uterus for conception. Your body prepares itself for pregnancy every month!
If the egg is fertilized by sperm
If fertilization has occurred, the embryo travels to the uterus and implants in the uterine wall 8-10 days later. The follicle continues producing progesterone to maintain pregnancy.
Also Read: Probable Signs of Pregnancy
If the egg is not fertilized
Then it sheds along with your menstrual bleeding because of a decrease in progesterone. And you have your period! It is kind of nature’s way of telling you “Relax! You aren’t pregnant!” You might be thinking, “It could just send us a text to inform us.” Well yeah, life would have been much easier!
What is spotting during ovulation?
Spotting is any vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods. Your normal menstrual bleeding occurs once every 21 to 35 days. Any bleeding other than your period is spotting! It is also called intermenstrual bleeding. It can occur during ovulation.
When does it occur?
It accompanies ovulation. So it usually occurs on the 14th day of your cycle. But it can vary in different women and can occur anywhere between the 11th and 21st day of your cycle, depending on when ovulation takes place.
How common is spotting during ovulation?
Spotting during ovulation is not very common. 5-13% of women experience vaginal bleeding other than their period. But only less than 5% go through spotting during ovulation.
According to a study that was performed on 259 regularly-menstruating, healthy female volunteers from New York, 4.8% of women experienced mid-cycle bleeding.
Why does spotting during ovulation occur?
Unfortunately, research has not shown the exact reason for spotting during ovulation. However, it is believed that it is due to the rapid hormonal changes during ovulation. Ovulation is triggered by an acute LH surge which may cause spotting.
There is a shift in the balance between estrogen and progesterone at ovulation. During the initial part of your menstrual cycle, estrogen is the dominant hormone. After ovulation, in the latter half of the cycle, the estrogen level decreases while the progesterone level increases. The hormone changes result in the weakening of the follicle’s surface and create a hole that allows the egg to pass through. Thus, the rupture of the follicle may cause spotting.
It is also possible that the estrogen spike results in spotting during ovulation.
Also Read: Things To Do Before Pregnancy
What does spotting during ovulation look like?
The color of blood depends on the speed of blood. It may be pink to bright red or dark brown in color. It is usually pink due to the cervical fluid that increases during ovulation. The brown-colored spotting indicates the presence of older blood within this period. When this type of blood leaves your body, it appears brown instead of the usual red.
Spotting during ovulation is much lighter than your period. If you are experiencing heavy bleeding, it is less likely to be ovulation spotting.
How long does it last?
It typically lasts for 1-2 days. If it lasts for a long duration, you need to consult a doctor.
Should I use a pad or tampon?
Spotting during ovulation is usually light; much lighter than your period. So you may not need to wear a pad or tampon. A thin panty liner would do. However, use feminine hygiene products according to the amount of bleeding. Wear whatever saves your clothes from staining and makes you feel comfortable.
Also Read: Things To Do Before Getting Pregnant
Is spotting during ovulation normal?
Well, this is probably what you were looking for! Yes, spotting during ovulation is rare but it is normal. But you have to be sure that it is due to ovulation. Because many other normal and abnormal conditions may cause spotting.
Other than being normal, it can be an advantage!
Ovulation during spotting can in fact be a blessing in disguise if you are trying to conceive. It serves as a fertility indicator. It helps you track the time of ovulation and your fertile window. Because it indicates the time when the egg is released. The egg lives for 12 to 24 hours. However, your fertile window is longer i.e. 5-6 days. This is because the sperm can survive for 3-5 days in the woman’s reproductive system.
This is why your doctor must have advised you to find the day of ovulation, and have more sex on this day, 4-5 days before it, and 1 day after it. Thus to increase your chances of having a baby, it is best to have sex when you notice ovulation spotting and one day after it as well.
- Even if you do not want to conceive, it is good to know the time of your ovulation to avoid sex during your fertile window.
- If you do not have spotting during ovulation, there are several other ways to find out the time of ovulation based on other changes in the body at this time, which are discussed later.
- Spotting during ovulation does not affect your fertility.
Also Read: When Do Boobs Stop Growing?
How to identify spotting during ovulation?
You must be able to differentiate spotting during ovulation from other causes of intermenstrual bleeding. These are some hallmarks of spotting during ovulation:
- Not heavy
- Occurs once every month
- Lasts for a couple of days and stops on its own
- Occurs around ovulation when you can notice other signs of ovulation as well
Other signs of ovulation
You must be interested to know the signs of ovulation to find the time of ovulation. This not only helps you get pregnant but also helps you identify whether your spotting is due to ovulation.
There are changes in the firmness and position of the cervix. The cervical mucus has a raw-egg-white-like consistency as it becomes more stretchy and slippery. The cervical mucus secretions increase.
Changes in Basal Body Temperature
There is a slight decline in basal temperature before ovulation followed by a sharp increase at the time of ovulation. You should chart your body temperature if you are trying to get pregnant.
Pain on one side of the abdomen
There is pain or dull ache on one side of the abdomen, as one of the ovaries is ovulating.
Also Read: Pain in Ribs During Pregnancy
High levels of LH
These high levels of LH are the basis of ovulatory tests.
The hormones released after ovulation cause breast tenderness.
Increased Sexual Desire
Ovulation is characterized by an increased sex drive. Well, nature knows how to get you to have sex at an ideal time for conception.
What might be other reasons for spotting?
You should have an idea of other conditions that might cause intermenstrual bleeding so that you can distinguish spotting during ovulation from other normal and abnormal conditions.
Implantation of the egg in the uterine wall may also cause spotting in most women. It is one of the earliest signs of pregnancy and occurs a few days before your next period, unlike ovulation spotting which occurs around mid-cycle. You can also experience headaches, nausea, mood swings, breast tenderness, light cramping, and fatigue during implantation spotting.
Do not confuse it with spotting during ovulation. And go for pregnancy tests. However, implantation spotting is also completely normal and is not a danger for the baby.
Other conditions that can show spotting are:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Menstrual cycles in which ovulation doesn’t take place (especially the ones before menopause)
- Use of contraceptives
- Uterine polyps or fibroids
- Trauma to the vagina
- Endometriosis in which the uterine tissue grows outside the uterus
- Medication such as antipsychotics, anticonvulsants, thyroid medication, and blood-thinners
- Kidney or liver diseases that cause bleeding disorders
- Infections/ STDs
- An underactive thyroid
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Also Read: Health Risks in First Pregnancy
Research has shown that dysfunctional uterine bleeding may be an early symptom of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) in adolescents.
When to see a doctor?
Do not worry. If you have light bleeding at the time of ovulation which stops in a couple of days, there is nothing to worry about. It’s probably just spotting during ovulation. However, you must see a doctor if:
- there is excessive bleeding
- spotting continues for a long time
- there are changes in the usual patterns of bleeding
- you notice period clots
- you experience very painful bleeding
- it is accompanied by fever, dizziness, easy bruising or abdominal pain
The doctor might perform the following tests/ exams to see if the bleeding is normal or not:
- Pelvic examination
- Pregnancy test
- Pap smear
- Blood or urine test
- Ultrasound exams
Spotting during ovulation occurs in less than 5% of women. But it is pretty normal if there is light bleeding around the time of ovulation which stops in a couple of days. It is a fertility indicator for women who are trying to conceive. However, look for signs that may indicate serious conditions that need to be treated. Your best bet is visiting a gynecologist!
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