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Last updated November 1, 2021

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Get a thorough self-assessment before your visit to the doctor.

What is spotting?

A normal menstrual cycle occurs about every 28 days, followed by menstrual bleeding that usually lasts for about 4-7 days. Young girls may experience their periods somewhere from 21 to 45 days or more apart. Women in their 40s will frequently have less frequent menstrual cycles.

Spotting is the vaginal bleeding that may occur after your menstrual period and before your next period. It can be a pink or brown spot on your underwear or toilet paper while wiping. Spotting can also be a blood spot or two, or more, and can even potentially resemble a menstrual period.

Causes of spotting

Spotting can occur for many reasons, ranging from normal, with no apparent cause, to having a medical condition that causes it. If you think you are spotting, check to ensure that the bleeding is coming from the vagina and is not from your rectum or the urine. To check, insert a tampon into the vagina. If you are still not sure, call your doctor. The medical exam can be done even while you are bleeding.

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