When the menstrual period is over, most women expect that any vaginal bleeding will stop until the next period. So, you may be worried if you have noticed signs of spotting after your period has ended. Thankfully, noticing some pink or brown spots on your underwear or having light vaginal bleeding a week or more after your period isn’t usually anything to worry about.
Spotting after a period can happen because of using some birth control methods, it could be the first sign of pregnancy (implantation bleeding), or it could be just the normal part of your menstrual cycle when ovulation happens.
Even stress has been connected with spotting between periods. Depending on the cause of the spotting, you may also experience vaginal discharge, lower abdominal pain, pelvic discomfort, or cramping.
Because bleeding after your period has ended is classed as “abnormal vaginal bleeding”, doctors at the Mayo Clinic recommend seeing a doctor or gynecologist for a checkup.1 This is because spotting between periods could also be a symptom of a more serious medical condition like ovarian cysts, thyroid diseaseor cancer in the reproductive organs.
If you are concerned about spotting after your period, please read on to find out what could be causing this abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Causes of Spotting After Period
Here are the most common causes of light bleeding or spotting after your period has ended.
Light bleeding about one week or two weeks after the end of your period could be due to ovulation. A woman’s menstrual cycle lasts on average 28 days and ovulation occurs about 10 to 14 days after the start of the menstrual period.
The reason for light bleeding when ovulation occurs is explained by Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Andrew M. Kaunitz from the University of Florida. He says that sudden changes in hormone levels can cause vaginal spotting at the time of ovulation. Women who have irregular periods may also find that they have light bleeding between periods.2
According to the Mayo Clinic, ovulation can also cause an increase in vaginal secretions which become slightly thicker just after ovulation. Around the time of ovulation is the optimal time for a woman to become pregnant.
Implantation bleeding is one of the first signs of pregnancy and can cause brown spotting after your period. This light bleeding is completely natural and is nothing to be concerned about. Along with spotting, the early signs of pregnancy are a white milky or creamy discharge and pelvic cramping, but no period.
Doctors from the Mayo Clinic say that when the fertilized egg attaches itself to the lining of the uterus, some light spotting can occur. However, not all women experience light bleeding as the first sign of pregnancy.3
The only way of being sure that you are pregnant is by taking a pregnancy test. Home testing kits are generally quite reliable and a doctor will also carry out a test to confirm if you are pregnant or not.
If you are already pregnant and you notice vaginal bleeding, you should contact your health care professional as soon as possible. Dr. Traci Johnson on WebMD says that although some light bleeding is common during the first trimester, it could also be a sign of a more serious condition like miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.4
If you have started using birth control in the past few months, you could experience some spotting after your period. This is common if you have started taking the contraceptive pill or have had an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted.
According to the University of Colorado, birth control pills can cause spotting or abnormal vaginal bleeding in the first few months of using them. Also, spotting can occur if the estrogen dose is changed or you miss taking the pill at the same time every day. Some spotting may happen in the first few days of having an IUD fitted. Some women continue to have spotting between their periods all the time while they have the IUD fitted.5
If you have heavy vaginal bleeding, severe abdominal or pelvic pain, and/or vaginal discharge that gives off a foul odor, you should visit your doctor.6
Spotting after your period or light bleeding between periods is common in women who are approaching the menopause. The few years before the menopause are called the perimenopause. You will also notice that your menstrual periods become more irregular because your estrogen levels fluctuate.
Doctors from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists say that the fluctuations in hormone levels can cause heavy menstrual bleeding and spotting before period. However, between periods you may have more frequent spotting or light, irregular bleeding. If vaginal bleeding lasts longer than normal, they advise speaking to your doctor to have a checkup and to rule out more sinister health conditions.7
To find relief from the stress and anxiety that the menopause can cause, please read my articles on thebest natural supplements for coping with the menopause and how essential oils can provide relief from menopausal symptoms.
Pink or brown spotting after your period could be due to physiological or emotional stress. Stress can affect your body in many ways, and play havoc with your monthly cycle.
Dr. Melissa Stöppler on MedicineNet says that stress can interfere with the menstrual cycle and cause irregular periods. She says that stress is one of the most common causes of missed or late menstrual periods.8 The National Health Service in the United Kingdom says that stress also causes spotting or light bleeding after your period has ended.
There are many natural ways to help you cope with stress better and, therefore, prevent spotting after your periods. For more information on reducing stress, please read my article about various natural remedies for coping with anxiety and stress better.
Ovarian cysts can cause abnormal bleeding and spotting after your period has finished. Cysts can form in the ovaries and develop as part of the menstrual cycle. Usually ovarian cysts don’t cause any problems, however, in some cases, these cysts can become larger and cause pain and bleeding if they rupture.
Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Irina Burd says that among the symptoms of ovarian cysts are spotting or light bleeding after your period. You may also have pelvic pain, bloating, and pain during bowel movements.