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Ovulation bleeding: Why are you spotting between periods?

Ovulation bleeding is the spotting you experience in between your menstrual cycle. Read on to see why this happens.
Ovulation bleeding occurs in between a woman's cycle
Ovulation bleeding is the spotting that happens in between a menstrual cycle. Image courtesy: Freepik
Anjuri Nayar Singh Published: 23 Nov 2023, 17:45 pm IST
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If you find yourself spotting in between your cycle, don’t panic! This does not mean your period can come sooner than expected! It might be just ovulation bleeding. While ovulation bleeding mirrors spotting due to other reasons, it is absolutely natural! Read on to understand why ovulation bleeding happens and also when you need to rush to the emergency.

Ovulation bleeding is a type of vaginal spotting that occurs around the middle of a woman’s menstrual cycle. “Vaginal spotting happens because of a sudden fall in the hormone ‘estrogen’, just before ovulation, in a normal ovulatory menstrual cycle. This disrupts the uterine lining which may show as ovulatory spotting in about 5% of women,” explains gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgery Dr. Meghana Reddy Jetty.

How much bleeding is normal during ovulation?

Ovulation bleeding is usually light spotting of just a few drops of blood. “The amount of bleeding in ovulation spotting is very minimal. The discharge is pinkish or browning or sometimes even bright red in color and it is usually spotting. It lasts for a couple of hours to 2 days at most,” says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Vishnu Priya.

A woman experiencing period pain.
Ovulation bleeding differs from periods in the amount of bleeding and pain associated with it. Image courtesy: Freepik

How is ovulation bleeding different from period spotting?

Usually the timing, colour and pain associated with it, makes things clear.

“Ovulation bleeding is usually light spotting, ranging in colour from light pink, to red or rarely brown. It occurs mid-cycle, or 14 days before the last day of a woman’s menstrual period. It may be accompanied by mild lower abdominal cramping and breast pain. There may also be an increase in cervical secretions along with the spotting,” explains Dr Jetty.

On the other hand, menstrual bleeding is the shedding of the uterine lining if pregnancy does not occur, happening at the end of the cycle. “Menstrual bleeding is more substantial and it goes on for many days. One may also go through common symptoms like cramping and mood changes. While not all women experience ovulation bleeding, menstrual bleeding is a regular aspect of the menstrual cycle,” says Dr Priya.

Also read: Vaginal discharge: 5 facts every woman should know

Can spotting during ovulation mean pregnancy?

That’s another kind of spotting, known as implantation bleeding.

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Spotting during the expected time of a menstrual period may be due to implantation bleeding in those trying to conceive. This occurs when the fertilized embryo implants into the uterine lining,” says Dr Jetty.

Dr Priya adds, “While ovulation spotting is not a reliable sign of pregnancy, it’s essential to note that any unprotected sexual activity carries a potential risk.”

A woman checking her menstrual calendar.
Ovulation spotting is light bleeding during ovulation. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

What are the other reasons for spotting?

There are many reasons why you are spotting and it is important to understand the kind of spotting you are experiencing. This can be understood by looking at the kind of spotting you are having. “Spotting between periods or light bleeding, can result from various factors in women. Hormonal changes, contraceptive use, pregnancy-related events like implantation or miscarriage, infections, and physical trauma are common causes. Other contributors include uterine or cervical polyps, medical conditions like thyroid disorders, stress, and the perimenopausal phase,” explains Dr Priya.

When to get worried?

If it’s ovulation bleeding, you don’t need to stress. “Ovulation bleeding is typically normal and harmless, characterized by light spotting during the release of an egg,” says Dr Priya.

However, no matter why the spotting is happening, it is important to understand when you should be heading to the emergency. “Any bleeding that may be as heavy as a period, occurring at irregular intervals, is associated with foul-smelling vaginal discharge, happens after intercourse, is associated with severe abdominal pain, or in those who are trying to conceive may need further medical attention,” says Dr Jetty.

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About the Author

Anjuri Nayar Singh has over 12 years of experience in writing for various topics including lifestyle, films, television and OTT. She also writes on art and culture, education and human interest stories. ...Read More

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