Spotting: how can I stop this discharge outside my period?

Have you ever noticed small pink or red spots at the bottom of your panties outside your period? Don't worry, this phenomenon happens to many menstruating women.

What is spotting?

Spotting refers to vaginal bleeding that can occur outside the menstrual period. However, this vaginal discharge is far less abundant, lighter or browner than menstruation, and affects many women, whether on contraception or not, on an occasional basis.

What's the difference between spotting and menstruation?

Unlike menstruation, spotting can occur at any time during the menstrual cycle. The big difference between spotting and menstruation is the amount of blood lost. Blood loss is generally very slight and does not require the use of sanitary protection or period pants. In fact, vaginal discharge during menstruation is generally heavier at the start of the period, becoming lighter the following days. The color and consistency of blood loss are also very different. Blood loss is often brown or very light pink.

The duration of spotting is also random and very short, whereas menstrual flow lasts between 5 and 8 days and occurs fairly regularly and predictably. Regular menstrual periods occur every 28 days, whereas spotting occurs at any time during the cycle.

Finally, spotting is generally painless, with no symptoms other than bleeding. Unlike menstruation, which often causes problems such as stomach pains.

Is regular spotting normal?

Generally speaking, spotting is caused by hormonal imbalance. Different factors and times of life can influence the level of estrogen and progesterone, two hormones that regulate a woman's cycle.
Regular spotting is not normal. In fact, if the cause is not clearly identified, you may be suffering from a gynaecological pathology that needs to be treated by your doctor.

The different causes of spotting

Apart from gynaecological pathologies, these small losses of blood can occur following a gynaecological examination, between periods, when pregnant or after sexual intercourse, due to stress and emotions, or jet-lag. Most of the time, however, spotting is caused by hormonal imbalance.

Using a new hormonal contraceptive method

A change of contraceptive, such as switching to the pill or hormonal IUD, can upset your menstrual flow, and you may experience light bleeding for as long as your body tolerates it, usually 3 to 6 months. Immediately after IUD insertion, if your cervix has been manipulated, or if you forget to take a tablet from your pill pack, you may also experience blood loss.

The onset of pregnancy

A quarter of all pregnant women experience bleeding during the 1st trimester of pregnancy, of various origins:
An ectopic pregnancy, when the egg develops outside the uterus. This is a life-threatening emergency, and any bleeding accompanied by severe pain must be promptly treated
A miscarriage, when your body spontaneously terminates the pregnancy, for various reasons, and begins to evacuate the endometrium and placental debris. Medication or vacuum aspiration may be required if the egg is not evacuated naturally
Placental abruption: the beginning of the placenta, the trophoblast, becomes slightly detached, creating a haematoma that causes bleeding. This is something to watch out for, as it can lead to miscarriage
A molar pregnancy, due to a chromosomal anomaly, which causes cysts to form, generally without an embryo
Vaginal touching or sexual intercourse, which irritates the cervix rather than the uterine wall and causes bleeding, which should not be heavy when you're pregnant.


Several types of vaginal bleeding can occur aroundovulation. Less than 5% of women experience blood loss during the ovulatory period, i.e. around 14 days before their next period. This is due to a sudden change in hormones, with a drop in estrogen and a rise in progesterone:

  • When the egg is released, there may be some bleeding due to an estrogen surge: the blood loss may mix with the white discharge and cervical mucus to form a pinkish discharge. pinkish discharge. This is normal, and often happens with every cycle.
  • If you notice bleeding a few days later, it may be anovulatory bleeding: your ovulation during this cycle was defective.
  • On the other hand, during fertile intercourse, implantation bleeding occurs when the oocyte implants in the endometrium a few days after fertilization.


The premenopause is a transitional period, with the menopause marking thedefinitive end of menstruation and fertility. Progesterone and estrogen production gradually declines. While waiting for thehormonal balance to regulate after the menopause, spotting may occur.

The first periods

Similarly, puberty is synonymous with the regulation of hormonal balance. Young girls may experience spotting after their first period.

An infection or uterine disorder

Other pathologies can cause spotting outside the menstrual period:

  • Ovarian cysts such as endometriomas, or fluid-filled tumors that cause bleeding.
  • an STI or sexually transmitted infection, such as a fallopian tube infection, inflammation of the wall or cervix of the uterus, or salpingitis
  • A benign tumor on the lining of the uterus, such as a fibroid
  • endometriosis oradenomyosis
  • Uterine polyps
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Cervicalabnormalities or cancer...

When accompanied by other symptoms, it's important to consult your health care professional or gynecologist.

Is it possible to stop spotting naturally?

Treatment of spotting depends on its cause. It may be as simple as changing to a hormonal contraceptive method that suits your body, surgical treatment in the case of uterine fibroids or polyps, or specific medication in the case of infection.
There are a few grandmotherly remedies to try and stop spotting by restoring the hormonal balance. Please note, however, that these tips are not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor or healthcare professional.

  • Phytotherapy, or herbal medicine
  • Take vitamin A, B, C and K1 supplements and bioflavonoids from periwinkle, geranium and ginger roots. Take iron and magnesium minerals and milk thistle.
  • Drink herbal teas and ginger tea to increase your levels of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.
  • Takeibuprofen, available in pharmacies, as recommended.

When should you consult a doctor about spotting?

Apart from pregnancy, when you need to consult a doctor if you experience blood loss, regardless of your term of pregnancy, but especially in the first trimester, consult a doctor if bleeding persists.
If spotting becomes frequent (known as metrorrhagia), we advise you to speak to your GP or gynecologist, as it may also be an indicator of other gynecological causes and diseases, such as uterine fibroids, STIs, uterine polyps, endometriosis, PCOS...

Spotting FAQ

What is spotting?

Spotting is characterized by light bleeding outside or after the menstrual period. Although often benign, it can also be an underlying symptom of more serious conditions.

Why do I experience spotting?

Pregnancy, ovulation, perimenopause, first period, gynaecological disorders... There are many causes of spotting! It's important to identify the cause so you can treat the problem more effectively.

Is spotting a cause for concern?

When bleeding is too frequent, too abundant and accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, or in the case of pregnancy, it is important to systematically consult your midwife or gynecologist.

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