What Causes Bleeding Between Periods, and How Can You Stop It?

Medically Reviewed by Dr Sravya, MBBS, MS 


What can be more tiresome than your painful monthly periods? It’s vaginal bleeding throughout the month when you are not even on your period. It can be both frustrating and alarming at the same time. But don’t worry. It is not a rare complication and can be prevented easily. Vaginal bleeding can occur due to various reasons, including menstruation, pregnancy complications, infections, orm underlying medical conditions, necessitating a thorough evaluation for accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Vaginal bleeding between periods

Vaginal bleeding between periods or spotting (when bleeding occurs in small amounts) results from many external factors or some medical conditions. As mentioned, it is common, but sometimes it may occur with other complications like pain, fatigue, dizziness, and fever. It may happen many times a month and last for more than 3-4 days when you must consult your doctor.

A number of reasons that can lead to bleeding between periods.

Imbalanced hormone levels

The main hormones involved in regulating the menstrual cycle are estrogen and progesterone. Imbalances in these two hormones lead to vaginal bleeding between periods.

During the ovulation phase of the cycle, some young women bleed due to lower levels of estrogen in their bodies. The balance of estrogen can also be affected by dysfunctional ovaries and thyroid gland problems.

The lower level of estrogen is accompanied by uneven levels of other hormones. It can occur because of stress or dietary changes. It occurs mostly 10–14 days after periods. You can take some blood tests to check your hormonal levels.

As a side effect of hormonal contraceptives

When you start taking hormonal contraceptives in the initial stages, you may experience bleeding between periods. It occurs because of a fall in the level of hormones due to the contraceptives. Bleeding occurs as a part of your body gets adjusted to the change brought by the contraceptives.

It should stop after 1-2 months, and your periods should become regular within six months. Bleeding between periods can result from missing one of the oral contraceptive pills.

It does not occur only in the case of contraceptive pills. It can also happen in the case of intrauterine devices (IUDs), contraceptive injections, or rods. Vaginal Bleeding can also take place when the IUDs are fitted improperly, and it can also be painful.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STIs)

Sexually transmitted diseases are infectious diseases that may be transmitted while having intercourse. The signs of the infection may vary with the agent. But most of the time, STIs like chlamydia or gonorrhea lead to bleeding between periods. Yeast infections like “vaginal thrush” can also cause itching and bleeding in the vagina.

Because of cervicitis

Cervicitis is the inflammation of the cervix resulting from STI. Cervicitis is marked by vaginal bleeding, itching, and pain during intercourse.

As a result of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition caused when a cell like that of endometrium present in the womb grows in other parts of the body, especially the pelvis. Endometriosis is not a rare condition. However, it decreases the chance of getting pregnant. However, there are many treatments available to treat this condition.

Vaginal bleeding between periods is one of the signs of endometriosis, apart from heavy bleeding, painful periods, and irregular periods.

During fertility treatments

ISpotting is also noticed in fertility treatments, like the egg collection step of IVF (in vitro fertilization) or after embryo transfer. Excessive bleeding is unusual in this condition. If so, it has to be reported to the doctor.

Bleeding during intercourse.

This may be due to genital sores associated with sexually transmitted infections, abrasion of endometrium in women taking oral contraceptives, inadequate lubrication, or foreplay during intercourse.

Symptoms for Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)

PID is caused by pelvic infections, which result from STIs or because of the use of IUDs. It affects the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries and manifests symptoms like severe pain in the lower abdomen, white vaginal discharge, and painful intercourse. It is a disease that may lower a woman’s fertility, but early detection can help in its treatment with antibiotics.

During pregnancy

Sometimes, in the case of pregnancy, during the early stage, you can experience bleeding around 10–14 days after conception, when the fertilized egg gets fixed to the uterine wall. Spotting is normal, and the release is not red but slightly pink or brown.

Ectopic pregnancy can also lead to vaginal bleeding between periods. This happens when the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus. Some other Vaginal bleeding causes include having sex, hormonal changes, changes in the cervix, or infection during the pregnancy.

During breastfeeding

New mothers may experience irregular periods or spotting as a consequence of hormonal changes that take part naturally in the body during breastfeeding of babies.

Ovarian Cysts

Ovarian cysts are a condition in which there is the development of a small sac filled with liquid in your ovaries. In severe cases, these cysts can burst, leading to pelvic pain, discomfort, and spotting. Most of the time, cysts heal on their own, or they are surgically resolved. PCOS is also involved in hormonal imbalances that may result in spotting and severe abdominal pain.

When you have fibroids,

Fibroids are the rare growth of muscle tissue on the tissue of the uterus. It can occur in small to large, bulky masses, which can expand the uterus. Mostly, it goes unnoticed, but sometimes it can cause pelvic pain, constipation, and spotting.


Cancers occurring in the reproductive system are mostly accompanied by Vaginal bleeding between periods. Spotting is an early symptom of cancers like vaginal, cervical, uterine, and ovarian.

Other symptoms include bloating and pelvic pain. Early treatment of this disease is important; otherwise, it can be fatal.

Side effects of some medications

Some medications, like antipsychotics, antidepressant drugs, and anticoagulants, can cause spotting as their side effects.

Other causes of vaginal bleeding between periods are

When you have gone through an abortion\

The causes of abnormal uterine bleeding can range from hormonal imbalances and uterine fibroids to medical conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), often requiring medical evaluation for diagnosis and treatment.

How can you stop vaginal bleeding between periods?

The causes behind this kind of bleeding are various; therefore, the prevention methods also vary depending on the cause of the spotting. But you can always ensure a healthy life by adopting a healthy lifestyle. In the same way, you can ensure the health of your vagina and prevent spots by taking the following measures:

Medication and surgical treatments are involved in other cases where the cause of spotting or vaginal bleeding is serious, like cancer, STIs, PCOS, or fibroid.

After discussing various causes of spotting and ways of prevention, you can observe that spotting is a common phenomenon in women’s lives. If it occurs for a short duration or in a small amount, it can be ignored.

But if there is heavy bleeding between periods that continues for a long time, As continuous spotting is an early symptom of many dangerous diseases like cancer and STDs that can lead to life-threatening complications, you should get it checked as soon as possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Abnormal bleeding should always be evaluated by a doctor, and it should never be ignored.

The doctor has to perform necessary investigations and confirm its cause.

Yes, it might happen depending on the cause. However, bleeding episodes are
lighter and shorter than regular ones.

It can occur due to various underlying causes. Most of them are benign and are
easily treatable. But others may denote a serious underlying cause.

No specific food is directly linked with this. However, a balanced diet with
nutrients may improve hormonal imbalance and prevent irregular bleeding.

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