Bleeding when you’re not on your period is called spotting. Generally, spotting is very light bleeding that doesn’t require a pad or tampon. You might notice spotting in your underwear or after using the restroom.
While many women experience spotting at one time or another, it can be alarming. Any number of underlying conditions, from early pregnancy to high levels of stress, can cause spotting.
How stress affects your body
Stress is your body’s response to external changes. When you face stress in your life, whether it’s from work, family, or some internal cause, it triggers a physical, mental, and emotional response.
Stress has a negative impact on your body in many ways. It activates your body’s fight-or-flight response. While this instinct is designed to keep you safe in an emergency situation, experiencing these feelings over and over long-term can take a significant toll.
Living under a lot of stress can cause numerous health issues, like:
- Weakened immune system
- Stomach problems
- Tense muscles
- Low sex drive
- Menstrual irregularities
Stress can lead to spotting between periods, but the hormonal changes that stress causes in your body don’t stop there. In fact, stress is also a common cause of late or skipped menstrual periods.
Finding healthy ways to manage stress can make a big difference for your overall well-being, menstrual regularity included. If you’re living with stress, try exercising regularly, meditating, and keeping a positive attitude to manage stress.
Other common causes of spotting
Stress is one possible cause of spotting, but it’s not the only one. Other common reasons you might notice spotting include:
- Hormonal birth control
- Some STDs
- Early pregnancy
- Underlying conditions like uterine fibroids, polyps, or polycystic ovarian syndrome
Spotting that comes with early pregnancy is known as implantation bleeding. When you get pregnant, the fertilized egg implants in the uterus and may cause spotting. It’s not uncommon to experience light bleeding during the first few weeks of pregnancy.
Another common cause of spotting is perimenopause. Perimenopause is the time before you enter menopause, and hormonal fluctuations that come with perimenopause and menopause can lead to spotting and irregular periods.
Most of the time, spotting isn’t a sign that something is seriously wrong. But if spotting is accompanied by abdominal pain or fever, or if you’re bleeding after menopause, make an appointment with your doctor.
If you have heavy or persistent bleeding, particularly if you’re pregnant, seek prompt medical care. Irregular bleeding could be a sign of miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy.
Your menstrual cycle relies on a delicate balance of hormones. When you experience stress, hormones can fluctuate and cause occasional spotting. To learn more about keeping your menstrual cycle regular, schedule your appointment at Advanced Women’s Care today to get answers.