The term “spotting” usually refers to light bleeding that occurs outside of your normal period. You might have spotting a week before your period, after sex, or during ovulation. It’s usually harmless and doesn’t require medical intervention, but sometimes it needs to be checked out by a medical professional and possibly treated. If bleeding between periods occurs regularly and/or is accompanied by pain or other symptoms, contact your health care provider.
Difference between spotting and menstruation
Menstruation is your typical cyclical period. Your uterine lining gets thicker over the course of your cycle and then sheds during your period. It may be difficult to distinguish between spotting before your period and the period itself. The color of your menstrual blood can't be anywhere from red to dark brown. It may look almost inky black toward the end of your period.
There are several differences between period bleeding and spotting. Spotting is lighter bleeding than the heavier flow of menstruation. From a medical standpoint, there needs to be one or more days without bleeding before or after menstruation for bleeding to be considered spotting. It shouldn’t be accompanied by heavy cramps or clots. Spotting is red, light brown, or pink.
Spotting can occur at any time of your cycle and is often linked to ovulation, but sometimes it’s a signal of other changes in your body. Most cases of spotting are completely normal, harmless, and don’t require any further examination or treatment. If you do need to visit a health care provider, seeking expert advice as soon as possible will make it easier to get to the bottom of the issue and receive treatment if necessary. If you’re experiencing spotting along with any of these symptoms, make sure to make an appointment with your health care provider as soon as possible:
- Pain in your lower abdomen
- Worsening or more frequent symptoms
- Spotting or any other vaginal bleeding after menopause
How to log spotting in the app
To log spotting in Flo, tap on the “+” icon on the main screen - scroll to the Vaginal discharge section - choose Spotting, and tap Save.
After you log spotting in Flo, you’ll also get additional information in your stories on the main screen and will be able to start a dialogue with Flo Health Assistant to learn more about the types of discharge you may have.