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Helpful information about vaginal spotting or bleeding

Spotting is very light bleeding that leaves only spots of blood on underwear and can’t fill a panty liner. Vaginal bleeding involves a significantly heavier flow.

What causes vaginal spotting and bleeding?

Spotting or bleeding from the vaginal area between periods can be caused by a few different conditions, some of which are more serious than others. Spotting or bleeding that isn’t related to your period might be a result of your birth control, especially if you have recently started taking the birth control pill or have recently had an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted. Ovulation can sometimes cause spotting or bleeding in the middle of your cycle, as can certain sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and certain infections like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).


Try to wear a panty liner or pad so that you can keep mental track of how much blood there is. While you’re noticing bleeding or spotting, don’t put in a tampon, have sex, or use anything that would block the flow or introduce bacteria into the vagina. Pay attention to how you’re feeling, too – for example, if you feel dizzy or have cramps. These are important symptoms that your healthcare provider will want to know about.

If you feel dizziness, pain, or if you have a fever, or if your bleeding gets worse or lasts for more than one week, you should call your healthcare provider so that he or she can take some tests and rule out any serious conditions.

  • “Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.” ACOG. FAQ 95 from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Mar 2017. Web.
  • “Abnormal Uterine Bleeding.” FamilyDoctor. American Academy of Family Physicians, Feb 2014. Web.

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