There are several reasons why you may spot and cramp between periods, including both medical and non-medical factors. These include but are not limited to endometriosis, transitioning into menopause, hormonal disorders, using birth control pills, ovulation, and pregnancy. According to recent studies, about 5% of women experience spotting and cramping between periods, but that number may fluctuate during any given month.
Medical Factors: Endometriosis
Endometriosis is the result of uterine tissue developing and growing outside of the uterine walls, often causing severe cramping, irregular bleeding, and spotting between periods. When a woman’s period begins, the endometrial tissue that is outside the uterus will also bleed, just like the tissue that is inside the uterus that is shed with the rest of the uterine lining. This process can cause nausea and cramping, and the best course of action is to control the cramping and pain before it becomes unbearable.
Medical Factors: Menopause
The transition into menopause can cause irregularities in your menstrual cycle and systematic spotting and cramping, typically associated with a decrease in the levels of the hormone called estrogen. Estrogen helps control the amount of vaginal lubrication, and with the decrease of estrogen levels comes an increase of vaginal dryness, thus causing more spotting than previously experienced, especially after intercourse. The transition into menopause can last two to three years or longer. Symptoms can be controlled, but it is best to do so with the guidance of your healthcare professional.
Medical Factors: PCOS
Polycystic ovarian syndrome, or PCOS, can also increase the likelihood of experiencing spotting and cramping between periods. Polycystic ovarian syndrome causes both estrogen and progesterone levels to fluctuate throughout the course of your menstrual cycle, thus causing the ovarian production to become sporadic. If this happens during the opening and/or closing of the egg follicle, it can cause mild to moderate cramping. The fluctuation of the hormone progesterone can also cause an irregular menstrual cycle and spotting between periods.
Non-Medical Factor: Birth Control Pills
Women who rely on birth control pills as a form of contraceptive are more likely to notice spotting between periods. There are two different types of birth control pill: a mini pill and a combination one. A combination pill uses low doses of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy. It is normal for women to experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting until the cycle becomes better regulated, especially during the first three months of using the birth control pills.