Fertility Health

Spotting: Facts and Causes

Bleeding outside your period can be alarming, but do not stress if you are experiencing it.

Ovulation spotting or -bleeding occurs after your menstrual period around the time that your body prepares to release the egg from the ovary. It is indeed a normal occurrence during this stage of your cycle, but sometimes it might be confusing for women who are trying to conceive to distinguish, whether it is implantation bleeding or ovulation spotting. Regarding a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, 2.8 % of all menstrual cycles of women observed were noted to experience episodes of mid-cycle bleeding during ovulation.

There are many reasons that explain spotting. When you ovulate, estrogen causes the lining of the uterus to thicken. During ovulation, a sudden drop in estrogen levels decreases the thickness of uterine lining causing the tissue to begin to shed. Another reason is related to the release of the egg from the mature follicle, which may rupture the ovary and lead to bleeding. It is possibly accompanied with cramping or mild pain on the side of the lower abdomen, where the ovary from which the egg gets released is located.

How do I identify ovulation spotting?

If you are trying to conceive, a mid-cycle bleeding may appear like implantation bleeding, which usually is one of the first indicators of pregnancy. Ovulation bleeding lasts for one to two days and usually it has a light pink or dark brownish color. It may be accompanied by mild menstrual-like pain and an increased discharge of cervical mucus which became thin, stretchy, with a consistency similar to raw white eggs. However, any (heavy) bleeding that lasts for a few days could indicate a complication that needs to be addressed by a doctor.

Ovulation bleeding and family planning

Theoretically speaking, you could look at ovulation bleeding in the middle of each cycle as an indicator of your fertile window- so if you are trying to get pregnant, ovulation bleeding lets you know that it is the right time to have sex, as the egg is available for fertilization by sperm in fallopian tubes. If you are really trying to get pregnant though, this method should only be adapted in combination with other methods that are more reliable and that give you a better understanding of your whole cycle and all your fertile days. In addition to monitoring spotting in order to find out when you’re ovulating, it is therefore advisable to track your hormone- levels throughout your cycle, since they are the actual triggers of your ovulation. By measuring your LH (Luteinizing Hormone) and FSH (Follicle-stimulating hormone) levels, you get an accurate and reliable prediction of your ovulation date and your fertile window- even if you have irregular cycles. You can find out how to keep track of your hormones best here: https://www.pearl-fertility.com/how-measure