Spotting refers to any small amount of bleeding experienced before or after regular menstruation. Minor spotting at the very end of the menstrual cycle is considered normal and is not cause for concern. However, unexpected bleeding is labeled as abnormal and can have a variety of causes.
Low levels of progesterone, which is a hormone necessary to maintain the uterine lining, can cause spotting to occur.
In some cases, fibroids may develop in the uterus. Fibroids are usually harmless, benign growths that may disrupt the uterine wall. Removal may be necessary if the fibroids begin causing pain, excessive bleeding or other problems.
Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the abnormal growth of uterine tissue outside of the uterus. This tissue responds to the levels of hormones in the body, and will bleed during a decline of the hormone or during the time of menstruation.
A disruption in the schedule of oral contraceptives can cause spotting. Stopping, starting and missing pills can be hard on the body and may interfere with hormone levels. Also, some IUDs can irritate the inside of the body, causing spotting to occur.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
If spotting before a period occurs along with a fever and stomach pain, gonorrhea should be considered. Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that occurs in the reproductive tract.
Ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer can all cause spotting between periods. Any unusual or abnormal spotting should be reported to a gynecologist. An ultrasound may be necessary to detect any growths, which may be tested to determine their malignancy.
Sexual intercourse, a gynecological exam, even abortions can cause injury or trauma to the reproductive system. These conditions should improve over time, thus reducing the amount of spotting that occurs.