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Mid cycle brown spotting

Thousands of women could experience brown spotting incidents during some point in their menstrual cycles but only few women report mid cycle brown spotting which commonly connected to ovulation. Some experts consider mid cycle brown spotting as a sign of successful ovulation – important indication of ovulation which can be used for fertility (conception) or for family planning (unwanted pregnancy prevention). It happens in about 25-30% women of reproductive age (16-49) and if it regularly coincides with ovulation, it considered as normal phenomena.

In most cases spotting means vaginal cleansing (passing) from small amount of blood and tissue from the lining of reproductive tract. Brown spotting is a sign of old oxidized blood (remains of limited bleeding of any part of reproductive tract). Usually mid cycle brown spotting appears 10-16 days after last menstrual period (in cases of regular 28-30 days menstrual cycle) and lasts from 6 to 48 hours. It can appear every month regularly but it can occur every few months or once a year. In general, mid cycle brown spotting 10-14 days before next expected menstrual period is considered normal.

Mid cycle brown spotting

Mid cycle brown spotting

Although mid cycle brown spotting in most cases is a sign of ovulation (about 90%cases), sometimes brown spotting can be caused by cervical infections or sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia or gonorrhea. Early pregnancy also could trigger light brown spotting. Some contraceptives such as birth control pills and IUDs also could be responsible for irregular brown spotting which sometimes can coincide with ovulation.

If you experience mid cycle spotting from time to time (between regular menstrual periods), it could be a sign of ovulation or symptom of several health conditions.

Mid cycle brown spotting – ovulation

About 15-20% of healthy women could experience mid cycle brown spotting or even bleeding. Small amount of mid cycle brown spotting called “ovulation spotting” or “ovulation bleeding” which occurs during release of mature egg from ovary (during ovulation). Mid cycle ovulation spotting usually appears 10-16 days after menstrual period or 10-14 days before next expected menstrual period. According to scientists, ovulation bleeding always linked to ovulation and can be explained by sudden rise and rapid drop of estrogen. During ovulation period level of estrogen rises and thus forces uterus to shed internal estrogen-sensitive lining which shows up as brown spotting.

Mid cycle brown spotting – hormonal disturbances

In most cases brown spotting is a result of shedding of uterus lining which is hormone-sensitive. Any abnormal hormonal fluctuations could trigger unexpected shedding and spotting. Actually irregular spotting between periods could be considered as a sign of hormonal disturbances (mainly estrogen deficiency).

Hormonal imbalance in women could be triggered by stress, polycystic ovarian disease (PCOS), thyroid dysfunctions, premature ovarian failure or some specific types of amenorrhea). In mentioned cases women could experience irregular bleeding or spotting which sometimes could appear in the middle of menstrual cycle but not connected with ovulation.

During perimenopause and following menopause women also could have dramatic hormonal changes when ovaries gradually begin to produce less estrogen. It is naturally occurring transition period of women life when women could have irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting.

Bleeding/spotting during menopause is the most common symptom of endometrial or uterine cancer. It can also signal vaginal or cervical cancer.

Mid cycle brown spotting – connected to pregnancy

During early pregnancy some women could experience brown spotting which often coincide with implantation of fertilized egg when fertilized egg burrows into the uterine internal lining. During this process small vessels could be damages and cause spotting. This type of spotting called “implantation bleeding”. Usually it occurs few days before expected menstrual period or instead of menstruation (not in the middle of menstrual cycle) – 6-12 days after conception.

Mid cycle brown spotting – cervical factor

Several cervical abnormalities could trigger irregular brown spotting which sometimes can coincide with period of ovulation but has no links with ovulation. Mid cycle brown spotting could be triggered by cervical abnormalities such as cervical polyps, cervicitis, vaginitis and cervical infections. In most cases it is happening because of damages cervical vessel. Most dangerous cervical factor which could cause brown discharge is cervical cancer.

Mid cycle brown spotting – contraception

Any kind of hormonal contraception can change hormonal levels and could cause brown spotting. Commonly irregular brown spotting could be a side effect of birth control pills – it could appear when you just start using pills or if you miss pills or you stop hormonal contraception. During use of birth control pills women could experience withdrawal mid cycle brown spotting similar to ovulation spotting. It could happen because birth control pills imitate hormonal fluctuations of normal menstrual cycle, dropping estrogen in the middle of cycle and causing brown spotting. Sometimes birth control pills or missed pills disturb normal hormonal fluctuation and also cause spotting.

Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs) also can cause brown spotting. It could happen in two cases: first, if hormones inserted in IUD (like Mirena which contains progesterone-like hormone) or second, if IUD itself traumatize the uterus internal lining (usually during first 3 months after insertion).

Mid cycle brown spotting – vaginal infections

Some vaginal infections and sexually transmitted diseases such as Chlamydia and gonorrhea could also cause irregular brown spotting. Vaginal infections develop vaginal inflammation and damage of lining causing blooding and spotting. In most cases vaginal infections accompanied with several other symptoms like vaginal itching or burning sensation, vaginal discharge with foul smell, pain or burning sensation during urination, etc.


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