What is a spotting?
A spotting is an unscheduled bleeding that may occur in addition to the menstrual period. It is usually brownish or darkly colored and is therefore particularly noticeable. Even during pregnancy and during or after menopause, spotting may occur.
This is a mild hemorrhage, also called spotting, which can last only for a short time, but sometimes for several days. Most women are very insecure when spotting occurs because the reasons for the unexpected bleeding are usually not clear.
Not only for this reason is a medical clarification of the causes advisable. Spotting can have many causes. Often these are harmless and no cause for concern. In some cases, however, serious illnesses are responsible for the occurrence of spotting.
The causes of spotting can be manifold. Thus, various diseases on the genitalia cause spotting. These include fibroids, polyps or inflammation of the uterus or ovaries. Also, growths outside the uterus (endometriosis) and benign growths on the cervix (portioectopia), as well as other benign or malignant tumors on the internal and external genitalia may be the cause of spotting.
Often the unscheduled bleeding also occurs due to hormonal disorders. These include spotting, which occurs when taking contraceptives such as the pill, but also at the beginning of a pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy also causes slight bleeding. Also, injury to the blood vessels, such as after sexual contact or wearing a spiral, can lead to spotting.
In addition, mental stress, various metabolic diseases, as well as liver and kidney diseases can cause spotting.
Symptoms, complaints & signs
Spotting occurs in most cases shortly before or after onset of the period. Usually, such spotting is accompanied by fairly clear and typical symptoms. Probably the most obvious symptom of a present spotting is visible to the naked eye. From the vagina emerges a slimy and mostly reddish liquid.
The amount can vary greatly from woman to woman. Since spotting often occurs just before the onset of the period, you may experience significant abdominal pain. Thus, a spotting bleeding often serves as a harbinger of the upcoming period. The period is also accompanied by typical symptoms and signs.
These include severe abdominal pain, headache, flushing and dizziness. A spotting does not always occur, but can serve as a harbinger of the upcoming period. In most cases, spotting is associated with pain, but it is brief. Visually, a spotting bleeding differs from the period due to the amount and color.
Commercially available and over-the-counter painkillers can achieve a short-term improvement against occurring pain. However, a spotting bleeding is not a clinical picture, so that it is not necessary to resort to the use of appropriate medication.
Diagnosis & History
The diagnosis of a spotting is primarily always a gynecologist. In women of childbearing age, the doctor will first exclude pregnancy. Through a gynecological examination and ultrasound examinations can be found any existing diseases on the genitalia.
Possible hormonal causes can be diagnosed by blood tests. In the case of an existing pregnancy, a definitive diagnosis depends on the stage of pregnancy. Especially in early pregnancy, spotting is not uncommon and usually harmless. A possible ectopic pregnancy can be determined by an ultrasound examination.
If the physician suspects psychological or other physical causes, further examinations with an internist or psychological counseling are necessary to find the trigger. As a rule, spotting lasts only briefly and occurs for a maximum of two to three days. However, if the cause is not determined at the first occurrence, it may happen that a recurrent spotting occurs.
A spotting does not necessarily lead to complications. Most of the discharge is harmless and occurs as a result of temporary hormonal changes or minor injuries in the uterine lining. Pre-bleeding is sometimes the cause of thyroid disease and can be related to infertility. If the spotting is due to an estrogen deficiency, it can lead to depression, arrhythmia, osteoporosis and other health problems.
If organic causes - such as inflammation of the uterine lining or polyps - underlie them, untreated ones can also lead to serious complications. The spotting itself is therefore usually a symptom of another cause and have no further complications. Lack of intimate hygiene, however, can cause inflammation, itching and redness.
The drug treatment carries the typical risks. Thus, side effects and interactions are possible and occasionally there are also allergic reactions and symptoms of intolerance. If the spotting is due to cancer, chemotherapy or radiotherapy can cause health problems. Hormone treatment or scraping may also be associated with further complications.
When should you go to the doctor?
A spotting does not always require a visit to a doctor. A visit to the doctor is usually only necessary if the spotting occurs frequently and above all without a specific reason. Only early diagnosis and treatment of this condition can prevent further complications and other ailments. Those affected also suffer from severe abdominal or abdominal pain as well as strong mood swings.
If these symptoms occur, a doctor should be consulted. Even with severe headaches or dizziness, a doctor should be consulted if these symptoms are associated with spotting. If the spotting occurs only very rarely and disappear again by itself, a visit to a doctor is usually not necessary. The spotting can be examined and treated by a gynecologist. As a rule, this complaint does not reduce the life expectancy of the person concerned.
Treatment & Therapy
The treatment of a spotting always depends on the triggering cause. If there is a disease on the genital organs, this is treated accordingly. This can be done with the help of medication, but also by surgical intervention. Hormonal causes can be treated by taking appropriate hormone preparations.
If the administration of the pill or the wearing of a spiral is the cause of the spotting, any spotting that may occur can be corrected by removing the coil or by changing the contraceptive pill. Mental causes usually require psychological therapy. If other physical illnesses are causally responsible for the spotting, these are treated according to the prevailing underlying disease.
An ectopic pregnancy must be stopped surgically. In the fallopian tube can not grow up a healthy and fully mature fetus. For the mother, the further growth of the embryo can endanger one's life. At the beginning, as well as at the end of a normal pregnancy, spotting is generally harmless, which ceases without further treatment. In the case of an existing pregnancy, the doctor will have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether spotting has to be treated.
A sudden onset of spotting can not be prevented because the causes can be extremely diverse. So that it does not come to repeated spotting with unexplained cause, it is advisable to clarify the cause by the doctor already at the first occurrence of an unusual bleeding. So a new spotting can be avoided.
Since prolonged, perceived as distressing spotting often results from an irregular hormone level, the therapy will usually consist of an examination of the same and hormone supplements. Often this is the pill. Regardless of the occurrence of further spotting, women taking the pill should have their half-yearly checkup by the gynecologist.
Also, the administration of other hormone preparations should be controlled by the attending physician, usually by creating a new hormone levels. It is important that affected women follow the follow-up appointments here. Hormones can have strong side effects, so close monitoring of the dose can be very important.
Periodic follow-up visits should also be arranged after gynecological surgery to ensure that the duration and intensity of spotting, which is not uncommon after surgery, does not affect the patient's health. Many women often have spotting while taking the pill.
If it has been clarified gynecologically that the spotting bleeding has no other causes, not every further spotting must be discussed immediately with the specialist. Nevertheless, it is also important here that regular gynecological check-ups take place. The main issue here is to rule out that other causes of the spotting have developed unnoticed.
You can do that yourself
In the case of regular spotting, it is important that the affected women seek medical attention. Cyclical spotting and those due to pregnancy can not always be treated as causative. Those concerned should focus on preventing the consequences. For many women, spotting is especially uncomfortable, because they can not be planned and the choice of clothes can not be adjusted. However, those affected must resign themselves and come to terms with these inconveniences in the best possible way.
If you do not want to wear panty liners at all times, you should always have them at hand. Meanwhile, these hygiene products are already available in different colors, which allows a particularly discreet use. In particular, black panty liners are almost invisible in black underwear. On the go, cases are offered that allow a hygienic and inconspicuous stowage in the purse. In addition, individually packaged products are particularly practical.
Anyone who suffers from heavy bleeding in between should not only always carry tampons but also spare underwear. In specialty stores and drugstores individually packaged disposable briefs are offered, which also fit into almost any handbag. Moist wipes, which are also packaged individually, ensure that blood and vaginal secretions can be removed at any time.