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Spotting vs Periods - What's the Difference?

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Spotting vs Periods - What's the Difference?

Every woman experiences monthly menstrual periods in her reproductive years. It essentially includes bleeding for anytime from 3 to 7 days over the span of a month.

On some other occasions, you may suddenly experience spots of blood even when you are not on your period. Known as spotting, it is a common condition that most women experience from time to time. There is no reason to be concerned if you experience spotting. It is typically a result of harmless shedding that the uterus undertakes to stay healthy.

But how do you tell the difference between spotting and menstruation? This quick primer might help:

  1. Decoding the difference between spotting vs period
  2. Symptoms of a period
  3. Symptoms of spotting
  4. When is spotting likely to occur
  5. Managing spotting and periods
Decoding the difference between spotting vs period
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Decoding the difference between spotting vs period

Spotting is usually characterized by very light bleeding.

  • Spotting is usually characterized by very light bleeding. It is a light-coloured fluid that is discharged mid-cycle or between the days of menstrual periods
  • Menstrual period is the heavy flow that women experience to prepare for a possible pregnancy
  • Spotting can be triggered by several underlying causes. It must be specially brought to the notice of the medical practitioner if it happens during pregnancy
  • While menstruation usually happens around the same date every month (i.e., the menstrual cycle), spotting can happen unexpectedly
Symptoms of a period
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Symptoms of a period

Before and during your period, you will experience the following symptoms.

  • Cramps or ache in the abdomen and lower back
  • Feeling heavier and bloated
  • Fatigue and nausea
  • Recurrent mood swings
  • Headache
  • Soreness in the breasts
Symptoms of spotting
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Symptoms of spotting

Spotting can happen during your period or at other times of the month.

Spotting can happen during your period or at other times of the month. Some of the signs of spotting include:

  • Itching around the vagina
  • Slight redness in the vagina
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal discharge coupled with odour
  • Weight gain
  • Irregular periods
When is spotting likely to occur
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When is spotting likely to occur

You may experience spotting more recurrently during the following spans:

  • A few months before approaching menopause
  • When using birth control pills or switching between birth control pills
  • During pregnancy
  • Being affected by polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
  • Being affected by sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or vaginal tract infections
Managing spotting and periods
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Managing spotting and periods

Now that you know the difference between spotting and periods, it is important to manage both these conditions differently and effectively. Use high-quality sanitary pads from ALWAYS to soak up the heavy period flow. You may also opt for tampons if you wish. On the other hand, pantyliners are your best bet for managing spotting as the flow is much lighter and does not require a thick absorption core.

Tracking your period cycle will help you understand if the bleeding is a result of menstruation or spotting. Use the ALWAYS Period Tracker to keep tabs on your periods and evaluate what is normal for your body as you experience more period cycles. It will then be easier to tell if something is amiss down there. In such a case, you should consult your doctor immediately.

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