Vaginal bleeding or spotting can occur at times other than menstruation. It may indicate pregnancy has occurred. It may also be a clue that a woman has a condition that requires medical intervention.
Normal vaginal bleeding occurs during menstruation when the old endometrial lining sheds to make way for the new one.
Identification of Implantation Bleeding
According to Dr. Tracy Gaudet in "Body, Soul, and Baby," implantation bleeding may occur six to eight days after conception. Conception occurs within 24 hours of ovulation, so a woman may have implantation bleeding a week before her period is due.
Identification of Breakthrough Bleeding
If you are a pill user, your bleeding may not be a sign of pregnancy, but of hormonal imbalance. Breakthrough bleeding occurs while you are still taking the hormone pills in your pack instead of having a period when you start your placebo pills.
If you have any sort of unexpected vaginal bleeding, you should consult your doctor. You may be pregnant and need to take a test, or you may need to have your birth control prescription assessed.
Vaginal bleeding not related to menstruation may occur for reasons other than birth control pill use or pregnancy. It may be related to a sexually transmitted disease or other conditions.