“It is hard to be a woman: you must think like a man, act like a lady, look like a young girl, and work like a horse” — so goes an anonymous quote. Despite this truth, women have a higher life expectancy rate at birth, which is 73.8 years compared to only 69.1 for males, that is according to the World Health Organization.
Unfortunately, women have to put up with more challenging episodes throughout their lives — puberty, the life-threatening realities of pregnancy and delivery, menopause, and the higher risks to contract life threatening diseases including heart problems. Since spotting can also be common throughout a woman’s life, the reasons for spotting can be hard to pin down.
Spotting or Period: How you can tell for sure
One of the reasons why women are not instantly alarmed at the sight of blood is due to their familiarity with it through their menstrual periods. Here are 8 things you should know about how your period and a spotting episode differ:
1. Menstrual period occurs at more or less equal intervals of time.
That means when you notice blood in between, say your 28-day or 30-day menstrual cycle, that’s probably spotting. The sad truth, however, is that a woman’s menstrual period is vulnerable to many factors which can easily cause a woman to get her period earlier or later. To complicate this further, many women get their periods irregularly.
2. Menstrual period will be characterized by a heavier flow.
Spotting may range anywhere from a tinge of blood to wetting a pantyliner every hour. Wetting heavier pads or having to change your tampons several times within an hour or two should be cause for alarm.
3. Menstrual period will not occur when you know you’re pregnant.
Any amount of blood you see during pregnancy should be considered as spotting and you should always treat it as a threat to your and your baby’s safety. Don’t take chances. Always inform your OB-GYN about any possible spotting episode.
4. Menstrual period is a part of your natural body cycle, spotting is not.
You can expect your menstrual period to occur at almost the same time every month. Any adult women will have a good idea when she might get her monthly period when she has it regularly. Some, however, have a more difficult time knowing when they might get their periods due to irregularities that may be caused, for instance, by cysts and hormone-related conditions.
5. Bleeding due to menstruation is completely harmless.
Even though some women may experience severe headache and dysmenorrhea during menstruation, menstrual periods are generally non-life threatening. Spotting, on the other hand, may either be completely harmless or a threat.
Spotting may result from life threatening conditions like infections, cancers and possible miscarriage. Of all the reasons for spotting, you should be prompt to spot these possibilities so you can turn yourself in for proper diagnosis and treatment.
6. Menstruation can only be caused by the rhythmic rise and dips in your hormone levels.
On the other hand, spotting may be the result of many factors. Some of which may involve mundane occurrences and ordinary circumstances like ovulation, stress, exercise and heavy weightlifting.
Spotting is also normal during implantation of the fertilized egg and may signal the start of pregnancy. In some cases, spotting can be caused by birth control pills and some medications.
7. Menstruation normally lasts anywhere from 5 to 12 days.
Ranging from heavy flow to spots, menstruation can take on this range and you will be in the best position to evaluate what your normal length of period is. Beyond that or in between periods, spotting may occur. In worse circumstances, you may be experiencing abnormal bleeding. Normal spotting will usually disappear from within a day up to about 5 days.
8. Menstruation does not need to be caused by any external factor.
Spotting, on the other hand, can be internally or externally caused by a multitude of factors. When the reasons are external, spotting may result from violent, aggressive sex or sexual assault, external trauma or injury or foreign object that may be stuck in your reproductive system.
Take note of when you experience menstruation and spotting so that you can identify red flags more easily. It’s hard to be a woman and even the men will agree to that but, you’re tough and a spot of blood won’t spoil your game.