Unexpected spotting 1 week before your period can be frightening but it can be completely normal in most of the cases. It can often be caused by common factors like stress, recent illness and birth control medications. However, in some cases, it can indicate a serious underlying issue or even pregnancy.
So, what exactly does your unscheduled spotting is telling about your reproductive health? Read on to find out the possible causes of spotting a week before a period.
Reasons for spotting 1 week before a period
1. First years of menstruation
During few years from your first menstruation cycle, the periods will be irregular. And more over spotting now and then during the phase is completely normal as well. This happens because, in those years, your body is still trying to adjust to new hormones and changes happening. In some cases, the uterine lining starts to shed early or late.
2. Birth Control
Normally, there are two types of birth control solutions – pills and devices.
Unscheduled spotting or starting period is very common side effect of birth control pills. Usually, estrogen levels keep the uterus lining in place until your period scheduled date. However, the birth control pills can alter the estrogen and progesterone levels which lead to some shedding of uterus lining in appropriate days. This usually happens during the first few months of starting or shifting to new birth control pills. In most of the cases, everything goes back to normal within six to eight months.
Spotting is also common during first few months of placing an intra uterine device. The progesterone hormones present in IUD are released which controls the reproductive abilities and menstrual cycles. Even if it is a copper IUD, spotting is considered common for first few months as it is a foreign body in the womb and your body is trying to adjust to the new addition.
If you are using contraceptives like rod or depot injection then spotting is very common for the first 2 – 3 periods after the installation. Hormonal replacement therapies like menopausal symptoms can also lead to unscheduled spotting before a period.
3. Implantation Bleeding or Pregnancy
If you have been trying to get pregnant then this can be spotting a week before period can be due to implantation. Implantation spotting occurs when fertilized egg attaches itself into the endometrium lining. During this process, the tiny blood vessels can get ruptured leading to a small amount of blood leakage. This will get discharge out from the vagina which will look either pink or dark brown depending on the travel it has taken to come out. Reportedly, 1/3 of expecting women have claimed to have experienced spotting a week before their period.
4. Uterine Fibroids
Spotting before a period can also be caused in women suffering from fibroids. As per some experts, 70 – 80% of women have fibroids at some point in their life. In most of the cases, they shrink on their own and go away. Wondering how to know if the spotting is due to fibroids then below are few other symptoms that are accompanied by spotting…
- Pain while having intercourse.
- Leg or abdominal pain.
- Enlarged abdomen.
- Heavy bleeding during period.
- Pain and pressure in the pelvis.
- Urinary incontinence.
If you suspect to have uterine fibroids then it is better to consult a gynecologist as soon as possible.
In some cases, an injury to the cervix or uterus can cause spotting. The opening of cervix or uterus are very sensitive. So, even a simple manipulation or touch can cause them to bleed. For some women these parts can be even more sensitive so, they are prone to more bleeding. Pap smear test or aggressive intercourse can injure the cervix or the uterus opening which leads to bleeding. In most of the cases, the injury can lead to red or brown spotting depending on the time taken for the blood to come out.
Stress is worse that can happen to your body. And do you know that it can have a major impact on your menstrual cycle as well? Yes, taking excessive stress can make your menstrual cycle irregular, lead to spotting and make your hormones go out of balance. Here’s the explanation why…? Due to stress, the cortisol levels get increased which leads to less production of estrogen and progesterone. As your hormone levels are out of order, you may experience spotting in between the menstrual cycle and irregular periods.
7. Thyroid Problems
Thyroid plays an important part in maintain the hormonal balance in our body leading to spotting. If the thyroid is functioning very slowly then body temperature and metabolism get imbalanced. Though it sounds to be a serious health concern, it can be controlled maximum by some medications. Below are few symptoms that indicate a thyroid issue…
- Unexplained weight gain or weight loss.
- Hair thinning or loss.
- Irregular periods.
- Dry skin and brittle nails.
- Mood and energy changes.
- Changes in heart rate.
- Swollen neck.
- Irregular periods.
Ovulation is very common for any menstruating women. During ovulation, a light spotting is also very common as it can be caused by the surfacing of ovarian follicles. Typically, when the follicle bursts or matures, it can lead to slight bleeding or mild pain. A sudden increase in estrogen levels can also lead to spotting or light pink discharge in between your periods. Delayed ovulation can also be lead to light spotting before a period.
Sexually transmitted diseases can be one of the main reasons for unscheduled bleeding before your period. Some of the STD’s are – bacterial vaginosis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, yeast infection and others. If the spotting is due to STD then it is better to consult a doctor for proper treatment. In most of the cases, infections can treated using certain antibiotics.
Below are few symptoms that are accompanied by spotting if you are having an infection.
- Abnormal vaginal discharge.
- Bleeding between the periods.
- Fish, foul or odd smell from the vagina or discharge.
In some infections like chlamydia, no symptoms are experienced. So, it is always important to get tested regularly if you are having multiple sex partners. Though they don’t pose any life threatening problems they can lead to infertility in future.
When you are pre-menopause state then you will experience light pink or brown spotting before your period. During this transition stage, periods become irregular, sometimes scarce or heavy. This can be caused due to hormonal changes in the body.
11. Vaginal Dryness
Vaginal dryness occurs when the tissues don’t contain any moisture and lose its elasticity. A disruption in the levels of estrogen make the vagina feel itchy and irritated. It is most common in women undergoing menopause. But it can also be caused in women who are still menstruating if their estrogen levels are imbalanced. Childbirth, anti-depressants, alcohol consumption and contraceptives can also cause vaginal dryness.
12. Insertion of any object into the vagina
If you are deeply inserted any external object like tampon, penis, menstrual cup or any other then it can lead to spotting. Because deep penetration of any object can rupture or irritate the blood vessels of the cervix which lead to a small blood leakage.
13. Urethral Prolapse
Urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside opening. Urethral prolapse happens when lining of urethra bulges out of the opening. Due to this, the opening of the urethra looks pinkish and much larger in shape. Urethral prolapse can irritate the vagina which causes a small amount of spotting. A certified gynecologist prescribes antibiotics, sitz baths and estrogen cream.
14. Ectopic Pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg implants itself in the fallopian tubes instead of uterus. This type of pregnancy cannot be carried forward. Abnormal discharge or spotting before period is one of the symptoms of ectopic pregnancy. Consult your gynecologist for medical help.
15. Post pregnancy
After delivering your baby, until few months you may observe irregular periods or spotting before periods. This usually happens as the uterus hasn’t yet gone back to pre-pregnancy size or just body way of adjusting to get back to normal.
Other Causes of Spotting Before a Period
- Certain medications like anti-coagulants, anti-depressants, corticosteroids can cause spotting before period or in between the menstrual cycle.
- Medical conditions like cervical erosion, impending miscarriage, PCOS, ovarian cysts, polyps, adenomyosis can lead to spotting or abnormal discharge. They are usually accompanied by abdominal pain.
- Inflammatory diseases like PID and cervicitis can also lead to spotting.
- Spotting before period is a common symptom of life threatening conditions like ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, or cervical cancer.
When to Contact a Health Professional?
Spotting before a period is very common but if it is happening every month consistently then it is better to get checked by a gynecologist. You have to seek a doctor’s help immediately if…
- You are pregnant.
- The color and texture of spotting is abnormal.
- Cannot explain why you are spotting between the periods.
- It is consistent every month.
- It is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever, chills, pelvic pain, leg cramps or nausea.
- You are feeling dizzy, exhausted along with the spotting.
- It lasts more than 3 days.
Few Words before winding up…
Spotting before a period can be completely normal. So, you don’t have to worry much about. If in case, you doubt there is any problem that needs to be checked then consult a doctor. We always recommend our readers to take a gynecologist consultation at least once in few months to make sure everything is under control. It also helps to find out any problem in early stages which can be successfully treated on time.
If you still have any questions then write to us in the comment section below. We are happy to clarify your concerns.