Spotting Between Periods
Q: Since puberty I've had a highly predictable menstrual cycle. It comes on
virtually the same day every month and never lasts more than five days. But
last month, about 12 days before I was supposed to get my next period, I started
spotting and didn't notice before it ruined my pants! I wasn't worried until
it happened again this month. Could it be serious?
Dr. Donnica: There are many factors that can influence the regularity of
your menstrual cycle and cause mid-cycle spotting, or metrorrhagia. These causes
range in severity. While this is a signal that you need a check-up, it is not
necessarily a cause for alarm. One of the more frequent causes is hormonal changes
resulting from significant weight gain or weight loss; stress; perimenopause;
starting, stopping or changing your birth control method; thyroid problems; or
certain medications. Of course, pregnancy must also be ruled out! Fibroids (benign
tumors of the uterus) can also be responsible. Rarely, this can also happen as
a result of injury to the vagina or cervix from insertion of objects, from cancers,
from gynecologic procedures (such as a cervical biopsy or cauterization); or even
from infections. I recommend that you keep a menstrual calendar and bring this
with you when you consult your gynecologist.
Created: 1/24/2004  - Donnica Moore, M.D.