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Spotting Between Periods

Q: Since puberty I've had a highly predictable menstrual cycle. It comes on virtually the same day every month and never lasts more than five days. But last month, about 12 days before I was supposed to get my next period, I started spotting and didn't notice before it ruined my pants! I wasn't worried until it happened again this month. Could it be serious?

Dr. Donnica:
There are many factors that can influence the regularity of your menstrual cycle and cause mid-cycle spotting, or metrorrhagia. These causes range in severity. While this is a signal that you need a check-up, it is not necessarily a cause for alarm. One of the more frequent causes is hormonal changes resulting from significant weight gain or weight loss; stress; perimenopause; starting, stopping or changing your birth control method; thyroid problems; or certain medications. Of course, pregnancy must also be ruled out! Fibroids (benign tumors of the uterus) can also be responsible. Rarely, this can also happen as a result of injury to the vagina or cervix from insertion of objects, from cancers, from gynecologic procedures (such as a cervical biopsy or cauterization); or even from infections. I recommend that you keep a menstrual calendar and bring this with you when you consult your gynecologist.

Created: 1/24/2004  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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