Normal VS Abnormal Bleeding
Normal menstruation lasts about five days and usually will follow a pattern, here are two variations:
Light –> heavy –> medium –> light –> very light
Heavy –> heavy –> medium –> medium –> light
Also, some women may spot (ordinarily brownish) or bleed at other times in their cycle besides actual menstruation. Spotting is one of the most misunderstood aspects of a woman’s cycle. A common mistake is to assume any type of bleeding episode is menstruation. True menstruation occurs after ovulation, about 12 to 16 days after. Any other type of bleeding is either anovulatory bleeding, what is considered normal spotting, or is symptomatic of a problem.
Light bleeding may occur right around ovulation in some women. It is not only normal, but an indicator for fertility, a sign that tells where the woman is in her cycle. It results from a sudden drop in estrogen, just before ovulation. It occurs more in long-cycles.
Anovulary Bleeding and Spotting
Once in a while an egg is not released. It could be due to the estrogen not reaching the level for the egg to release. When this happens the drop in estrogen will cause light bleeding.
For women over 40, the cause is a decreased sensitivity to FSH and LH hormones. This would result in these women not ovulating. The progesterone level is not able to sustain the lining and some spotting or bleeding may occur.
The way to know if actual ovulation did occur, is to chart the temperature. As a reminder: the temperature pattern is: low before ovulation, followed by the high temperature after.
So when a woman notices spotting rather than bleeding a week after her temperature shifts she might want to consider a pregnancy test. This may be an indication of “implantation spotting”, because as the egg burrows into the lining of the uterus, a bit of spotting may occur. If temperatures remain high for another 18 days or more, this is an indication that the corpus luteum is viable.
After the initial flow of birth has stopped, some women may have some bleeding about six weeks postpartum. This is due to the withdrawal of hormones that were high during pregnancy.
Also there may be a fluctuation of hormones while breastfeeding because of the needs of the baby. The temporary imbalance of hormones may cause women who breastfeed a few anovulatory spotting.
• After office procedures
• While on the pill
• Or during postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy