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Video: What Causes Spotting During the Menstrual Cycle?

Video: What Causes Spotting During the Menstrual Cycle?

What Causes Spotting During the Menstrual Cycle?

Spotting and bleeding between periods are perhaps some of the most concerning menstrual cycle issues women experience. After all, aren’t we only supposed to bleed during a period, not out of the blue or at random times of the month? This is what most of us were taught. This video was shared live! Download the Instagram App to watch our live broadcasts!

Spotting can be hard to understand and difficult to pinpoint the exact cause because it can be caused by many different factors. Most times it is not something to be concerned about. One random day of spotting here and there isn’t usually reason for concern.

Common causes of spotting not to worry about:

  • Ovulation – some women experience spotting during ovulation due to the drop in estrogen mid-cycle, just before ovulation. This happens just before progesterone levels have time to rise, causing a small amount of the endometrial lining to shed.
  • Sexual intercourse – Light, bright red tinged cervical mucus after intercourse can appear as a result of irritation or slight damage to the cervix.
  • Implantation – Some women spot when an embryo implants in very early pregnancy.
  • Starting hormone balancing herbs – Some women may experience spotting when first introducing herbs that have an action on the hormonal system. It’s a sign the body is responding/using the herbs!
  • Progesterone cream use – Spotting can happen as the body adjusts to an increase in progesterone when first applying progesterone cream, or if progesterone cream is applied at the wrong time of the cycle. Applying too much progesterone cream can cause spotting as well. Simply adjust the dose and ensure you are using it at the right time of your cycle.

Some of the causes of spotting to address are:

Hormonal imbalance, failure to ovulate (anovulation), thyroid health issues, Luteal Phase Defect, PCOS, ovarian cysts, endometriosis, hormonal contraceptive use of Intrauterine Device (IUD), Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), excessive exercise, poor nutrition, or any time you are concerned.


  • Spotting just before menstruation or a period is supposed to start is thought to indicate luteal phase defect and/or low progesterone, perhaps anovulation.
  • Spotting in early pregnancy is something to contact your healthcare provider or midwife about!

So, what do you do if you’re spotting regularly:
1. Keep track of when spotting happens, for how long and what the blood looks like.
2. See your doctor!
3. Address the cause when you know what that is.

Resources to help you learn more:
Mid-Cycle Spotting – Should You Be Concerned?
Progesterone Fertility Q&A
Natural Guide for Menstrual Health

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Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN
Dr. Christine Traxler M.D., OB/GYN

Dr. Traxler is a University-trained obstetrician/gynecologist, working with patients in Minnesota for over 20 years. She is a professional medical writer; having authored multiple books on pregnancy and childbirth; textbooks and coursework for medical students and other healthcare providers; and has written over 1000 articles on medical, health, and wellness topics.  Dr. Traxler attended the University of Minnesota College of Biological Sciences and University of Minnesota Medical School,  earning a degree in biochemistry with summa cum laude honors in 1981,  and receiving her Medical Doctorate degree (MD) in 1986.

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