Spotting is also known as spotting in medical terminology. It is a collective term for weak vaginal bleeding in women, which can occur with a wide variety of diseases and disorders. However, spotting does not necessarily mean a disease, it can also occur naturally. An example of this is ovulatory bleeding, also called median bleeding, which occurs in the middle of the cycle at ovulation and can be accompanied by median pain.

The term spotting is not to be equated with intermenstrual bleeding (metrorrhagia). However, spotting can also occur outside of the menstrual phase. The spotting is like a brownish discharge and basically does not look like a typical bleeding. There is cycle-dependent and cycle-independent spotting. Spotting can also occur during pregnancy. A very weak period (hypomenorrhea) also manifests itself as brownish spotting.

root cause

The causes of spotting are very diverse. Different groups of spotting can be differentiated, whereby the classification can be made according to different criteria. To put it simply hormonal, organic and mechanical Spotting differed from each other. Depending on whether the bleeding is dependent on the woman's cycle or not, the causes will continue to be considered cycle-dependent or cycle-independent designated.

Cycle-dependent spotting

An important cause of cycle-dependent spotting is the so-called Luteal weakness (Corpus luteum insufficiency). It leads to bleeding around that 2 to 3 days before the actual menstrual period occur (premenstrual). The corpus luteum is an important part of the female cycle and produces the hormone progesterone at the beginning of pregnancy. Due to a disorder, the corpus luteum does not mature enough when the corpus luteum is weak forms in the second half of the cycle not enough progesterone. As a result, the lining of the uterus is not built up enough and premature spotting occurs.

Another cause of pre-bleeding is Ovulatory bleedingalso called median bleeding. It occurs after ovulation and comes through the natural drop in estrogen in this phase of the cycle. It's kind of like a small hormone withdrawal bleeding. It can be accompanied by a pulling abdominal pain, which many women know as middle pain.

Even after the period (postmenstrual) spotting may occur. Most are slight hormonal fluctuations, for example in the case of luteal weakness, responsible for this. Endometriosis is a possible organic cause of cycle-dependent spotting. Furthermore, hormonal contraceptives or hormone treatments can lead to spotting as a side effect. After giving birth or in the breastfeeding period Cycle-dependent spotting is also not uncommon. This is thanks to the hormonal balance, which first has to find its natural balance again.

Cycle-independent spotting

There are various important causes of cycle-independent spotting Tumors of the female genital tractsuch as uterine cancer, cervical cancer, and vulvar and vaginal cancer (rather rare). Apart from these are malignant tumors also benign tumors such as polyps and fibroids are possible sources of bleeding. You can, among other things mechanical irritation (e.g. during sexual intercourse) bleed.

Bleeding caused by the mechanical irritation during sexual intercourse is also called contact bleeding. In the chronic stage you can also use Inflammation of the lining of the womb (Endometritis) or the ovaries (Adnexitis) Spotting occurs. Also Vaginal infections can cause spotting.

In addition, the so-called Portioectopy a possible cause of contact bleeding during intercourse. Spotting is also possible after an operation on the female genital tract or scraping of the uterus.

during pregnancy

Spotting plays a special role in pregnancy. They are often harmless and can be attributed to hormonal causes, can however also a Signs of an impending and already beginning miscarriage be.

through stress

A high level of stress can lead to too Cycle irregularities and spotting. Especially when the stress is accompanied by an unhealthy eating behavior, very light menstrual bleeding that looks like spotting is not uncommon. Having an unhealthy eating pattern is one Malnutrition meant. This creates hormonal fluctuationsthat ultimately affect your period.

Accompanying symptoms

The accompanying symptoms of spotting are great diverse, as the most diverse causes can be hidden behind such bleeding. It is therefore impossible to generalize about the symptoms that accompany spotting.

Inflammation of the female genital tract can cause symptoms like fever, Pain or even nausea cause.
Malignant tumors, which are also associated with spotting, can show a mixed picture of symptoms or even be symptom-free. Possible accompanying symptoms are Pain in the lower abdomen, Metastatic bone pain, Night sweats, fever or even Shortness of breath (Lung metastases), to name a small selection.

A lot of spotting, especially harmless bleeding due to hormonal fluctuations, is symptom-free and are at most associated with slight abdominal pain. Painful intercourse (Dyspareunia) are a classic accompanying symptom of endometriosis.


The duration of a spotting is depending on the cause. Therefore you cannot give a general duration.
Most of the time, spotting just lasts a few days on. This is for example with pre-bleeding due to a Luteal weakness the case.
Spotting after intercourse usually only last a few hours and stop spontaneously.
A Ovulation bleeding usually takes no longer than a day.

In some cases Spotting can be with or without interruptions however several days or even weeks stop. This is very rare, but quite possible. In such a case in particular, a doctor should be consulted to clarify the cause. Both benign and malignant causes can be considered.

Spotting with abdominal pain

Abdominal pain is a typical symptom that often occurs with spotting.

Abdominal pain is a typical accompanying symptom some spotting. For example, you kick in ovulatory bleeding in the form of the so-called Middle pain on. However, it can also accompany other hormonal, cycle-dependent spotting.
Also one Endometriosis is often associated with abdominal pain. In this case it is often a so-called cycle-dependent crescendo pain. The pain usually starts a few days before your period and subsides when the actual period occurs. Other causes of spotting with abdominal pain are fibroids, in rare cases tumors or a miscarriage during pregnancy.

Spotting before your period

Spotting that occurs before your period is also known as premenstrual spotting or Pre-bleeding.
Probably the most common cause of this type of pre-bleeding is Luteal weakness (Corpus luteum insufficiency). Due to hormonal disorders, the corpus luteum does not mature properly in the second half of the cycle and does not produce enough progesterone. This causes spotting about 2 days before your actual period begins.

The so-called ovulation bleeding or ovulation bleeding is also a premenstrual spotting. It can be accompanied by a pulling abdominal pain, which is referred to as middle pain.

Spotting instead of your period

Instead of menstrual bleeding, in some cases just spotting can occur. The absence of menstrual bleeding and the simultaneous occurrence of spotting can indicate pregnancy. If you cannot rule out a pregnancy with certainty, a pregnancy test should be carried out in such a case.
Furthermore are hormonal contraceptives in some cases the cause. Hormonal contraceptives such as the pill mean that instead of real menstrual bleeding, hormone withdrawal bleeding occurs. It is often so easy that it looks like spotting.
Even a naturally weak period can look like spotting. Such a weak period can be caused by an eating disorder or chronic inflammation of the lining of the uterus, for example.

Spotting after your period

Spotting that occurs after your period is called postmenstrual bleeding or Secondary bleeding designated. The causes of such spotting are very diverse. Hormonal fluctuations and Cycle irregularities, hormonal contraceptives or Hormone treatments can cause rebleeding.
However, there are also a number of them organic causes such as fibroids, endometriosis, inflammation of the uterine lining or polyps. In rare cases, cancers of the female genital tract are also possible causes of secondary bleeding.

Spotting after ovulation

Ovulation bleeding can occur immediately after ovulation. This is due to the natural drop in estrogen after ovulation in the second half of the cycle. So it is a light hormone withdrawal bleeding. It can be accompanied by a pulling pelvic pain known as middle pain. This is how some women notice they are ovulating. Ovulation is not a disease, it is quite natural.

You might also be interested in: Ovulation bleeding

Spotting in early pregnancy

Spotting is not uncommon in early pregnancy. In the first few weeks of pregnancy in particular, repeated spotting is common and usually not a cause for concern. Hormonal fluctuations at the beginning of pregnancy are usually responsible for the bleeding. These then often occur at the point in time when the period would normally have occurred. Nevertheless, even if the bleeding goes away quickly, a visit to the gynecologist should be made to rule out dangerous causes.
Immediately after the fertilized egg cell has implanted, a brief spotting in the form of implantation bleeding can occur. This bleeding is natural and nothing to worry about.

Another cause of early spotting is miscarriage. Unfortunately, this is not all that rare in the first trimester.
Furthermore, a so-called mole of the bladder is a possible cause of spotting in early pregnancy. Due to a rare defect in the fertilized egg, only part of the placenta and no embryo develop. This mole of bladder leads to varying degrees of spotting in the first trimester.

Spotting despite the pill

Despite the pill - in some cases even because of the pill - spotting can occur. The pill is a hormonal contraceptive that leads to stable cycles in many women with regular hormone withdrawal bleeding during the 7-day pill break. However, many women also complain of spotting that different degrees and at different times of the cycle may occur. The causes are mostly hormonal fluctuations. It often helps to wait a few months for the cycle to stabilize. In some cases it also helps to switch to another pill or one to switch to another contraceptive. Usually there is a suitable pill that is well tolerated. Of course, spotting can occur regardless of the pill due to other causes.

Menopausal spotting

The menopause represents a hormonal roller coaster ride for women. The body changes its hormone balance and that leads to the in many women various complaints. One possible consequence is spotting different intensity and duration. Most of the time it is very weak irregular menstrual bleedingthat look like spotting.
During menopause, however, spotting can also have other causes that are not necessarily related to the hormonal change in the cycle. Are especially feared malignant diseases of the female genital tractthat occur more frequently in old age. Although these diseases are more common in old age, they are still rare overall. This includes, for example, endometrial cancer.

Spotting after intercourse

Vaginal intercourse logically leads to mechanical irritation in the female genital tract. In general, there should be no bleeding. However, various diseases can cause spotting during sexual intercourse. This is also known as Contact bleeding. They are mostly harmless, but are understandably referred to as disturbing felt. Repeated contact bleeding however should medically clarified become.

The most common cause of contact bleeding is heavy mechanical stress during traffic. These can be through special positions, practices or even through a vaginal dryness be conditional. The causes include the Endometriosis, the Portioectopy or that Endometrial cancer in question. Also the cervical cancer may be associated with contact bleeding after intercourse.

Furthermore, some infections of the female genital tract are accompanied by contact bleeding. During pregnancy Spotting after sexual intercourse is also not uncommon. However, the cause is often harmless. Mostly it is through the increased sensitivity of the cervix caused.

Spotting with IUD

The IUD is a common form of contraception that has both advantages and disadvantages. One possible side effect of hormonal IUDs is spotting. you are harmless, however, are often perceived as very annoying. Spotting can also occur with other hormonal contraceptives and return to normal once the hormone level has leveled off. If this is not the case, you can think about changing the contraceptive. That too Insertion of the IUD may cause light spotting.

Spotting after scraping

The curettage, also called curettage, is a common gynecological procedure that is performed for a variety of reasons. You will both too diagnostic purposes, for example if cancer is suspected, as well as for therapy applied. A common reason is one Miscarriage or a Fruit death. Furthermore, one Termination of pregnancy a scraping carried out. Slight spotting is normal after scraping. Due to the mechanical irritation of the uterine lining are small bleeding not avoidable. Heavy bleeding, on the other hand, is a complication and should not occur.