Spotting refers to light bleeding from vagina which lasts for a day or two. A number of reasons can cause spotting a week before period. It can be caused by irregular period, implantation of egg, certain physiological changes or psychological conditions occurring in the body. Excessive stress, contraceptive pills or chronic diseases can also cause bleeding before periods. In this article we will learn about when spotting before periods will be considered normal and also when it is a problem you should be worried about.
What Are the Most Likely Causes of Spotting a Week before Period?
The most common causes of spotting a week before period are irregular period and implantation bleeding.
A normal menstrual cycle can last for about 28 days and a regular period may last for 4 to 7 days. If you have an irregular period, the menstrual cycle may be shorter or longer than 28 days. So menstrual bleeding or spotting may occur at different times each month. However, normally, spotting happens about 2 days before your period begins.
If you have regular periods and also experience spotting a week before a period, it may be attributed to implantation bleeding if you do not take any form of contraceptive after the last intercourse. However, it is easy to assume spotting a week before period as menstrual bleeding since it is very early, the spotting is light and it can pass off as early periods. With this spotting, you may not consider the possibility of being pregnant.
Spotting a Week Before Period: Implantation Bleeding
What Is Implantation Bleeding?
The menstrual cycle involves the release of an egg by the ovary every month. If the egg remains unfertilized, it will get released along with the uterine lining and bleeding will be shed. This process women experience is called a period. It continues every month, till the egg gets fertilized with a sperm. When this occurs, the fertilized egg travels to the uterus and gets implanted in the endometrial lining of the uterus. This process causes minor shedding of blood from the nutrient and blood rich lining of the uterus. This light bleeding or spotting is referred to as implantation bleeding.
What Are the Symptoms of Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding usually occurs a week or so before periods are due. Menstrual bleeding is red in color, whereas implantation bleeding can be pink or brown in color. It is not a proper flow, but restricted to spotting, which can last for a few minutes, 1 or 2 days at the most. Spotting a week before period is not consistent and the blood quality is similar throughout till it stops.
Implantation bleeding is usually not associated with any symptoms. However, some women experience increase in body temperature, bloating and cramps. Some other symptoms include fatigue, frequent urination, breast tenderness and swollen breasts. These symptoms are very common in early pregnancy.
Should You Be Worried If You Have Implantation Bleeding?
Implantation bleeding is a normal occurrence in pregnant women and is not a risk or threat to the pregnancy. However, in case the bleeding lasts for long duration or is heavy, you need to see a doctor immediately, especially in case pregnancy has been confirmed.
By the way, to make sure if you are pregnant, you can try taking a high-sensitivity home pregnancy test.
Spotting a Week Before Period: Other Causes
Besides irregular period or implantation bleeding, you may also experience spotting a week or a few days before period due to one of the following causes:
Bleeding after sex (post coital bleeding), especially in very early pregnancy when the blood vessels in cervix are engorged with blood and can bleed easily
Hormonal imbalance due to stress, contraceptive pills, diabetes, thyroid or ovarian problems
Hormonal contraceptive devices like IUDs, patches and Implanon
Blood thinners like Warfarin, Heparin and Aspirin
Infection of cervix, vagina or uterus
Perimenopause: Spotting may occur when the body is getting transition to not having periods. Menstrual cycles ceases during menopause, and no spotting occurs. A doctor should check if there is vaginal bleeding after menopause
Polycystic ovarian syndrome
Cancer of uterus, ovaries or cervix, endometriosis, fibroids, polyps and lesions
What to Do If Spotting Occurs Due to the Above Causes?
The risk of spotting can be reduced or prevented by ensuring the following:
Taking medication in a proper way
Birth control pills intake should be as prescribed only. It should not be skipped and take it at the same time every day. If it is stopped and restarted, it can cause spotting.
Aspirin is a blood thinner and can cause bleeding, hence intake should be restricted.
Routine pap smear
Annual pap smear can help in early detection of cervical cancer, and prevent symptomatic bleeding.
Healthy weight reduces risk of uterine cancer, which can prevent spotting a week before period.
Changing contraceptive methods
Using IUDs can cause spotting and is common. Changing to a different method can reduce spotting, such as regular birth control pills intake.
Dealing with stress
Continued emotional stress can cause irregular periods and spotting. Stress can be dealt with by yoga, meditation, deep breathing, aerobic exercises and visualization technique.
Tracking menstruation cycle
Logging dates of menstrual cycle, spotting, details about the duration and heaviness of bleeding will be helpful when the doctor has to make a diagnosis.
If you experience spotting between periods just once, it should not be a problem. However, if it lasts for long duration or is heavy, or it happens during every cycle, you should get it checked by a doctor.