Ovulation Bleeding: What Causes It?

Bleeding or spotting between periods is considered abnormal uterine bleeding, but it affects many women.

Key takeaways:
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    Bleeding or spotting between periods is considered abnormal uterine bleeding; however, it affects up to 14% of women in the reproductive stage.
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    Ovulation bleeding consistently happens once each month and is consistent around the same time and lasts only a couple of days.
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    Tracking your cycle can be helpful for both your understanding and valuable information for your Ob/Gyn.
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    Stress can cause abnormal uterine bleeding.

Several factors cause ovulation bleeding, and other, abnormal uterine bleeding, with stress being one of the causes. This article will explore the normal menstrual cycle, to better understand abnormal uterine bleeding.

Is bleeding between periods normal?

The menstrual cycle occurs regularly to both prepare the female body for pregnancy and remove unneeded uterine tissue when pregnancy does not occur.

The menstrual cycle begins on the first day of your period. The average menstrual cycle is 28 days. However, some women have a cycle that is shorter or longer. Anywhere from 21 days to 35 days of menstrual cycle is considered normal.

The average menstrual cycle

Day 1: The menstrual cycle begins with the onset of your period. Bleeding normally lasts for seven days or less.

Day 5: Estrogen begins to rise and signals the lining of the uterus to thicken.

Day 14: An egg is released from the ovaries into the fallopian tubes. At this point, ovulation has begun. The endometrium continues to become thicker.

Day 28: If the egg is not fertilized and implanted, progesterone and estrogen levels decrease. The menstrual cycle ends. A new cycle begins.

How much blood loss is normal?

During a normal period, women may experience normal, moderately heavy, or excessive blood loss. According to the National Library of Medicine, normal blood loss during a period is less than 60 mL (4 Tbsp), moderately heavy is between 60 to 100 mL (4 to 6.5 Tbsp), and excessive is greater than 100 mL (6.5 Tbsp). With ovulation bleeding, the amount of blood lost is so minuscule, it is difficult to measure.

Abnormal uterine bleeding

It is atypical to experience bleeding or spotting between periods. However, abnormal uterine bleeding impacts anywhere from 9 to 14% of women in the reproductive age bracket. Each woman is different, and her body responds to hormone changes differently. In some cases, atypical bleeding is abnormally normal for that woman.

Examples of abnormal uterine bleeding

  • Spotting, and bleeding between monthly menstrual periods, or bleeding after intercourse.
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding. Soaking through one pad or tampon in an hour is considered heavy bleeding. Bleeding that lasts more than seven days would also fit into this category. A menstrual cycle that is less than 21 days or longer than 35 days.
  • Irregular periods. An irregular period is one where the length of the cycle drastically change or the cycle length varies more than seven to nine days from month to month.
  • Menopause. Premenopausal women who have no period for three to six months. Postmenopausal bleeding.

Causes of abnormal uterine bleeding

Ovulation bleeding is spotting or bleeding during ovulation. But many women may wonder, “How do I know if this is ovulation bleeding or some other atypical bleeding?” They might also ask, “How do I know when I’m ovulating?”

Ovulation normally occurs around the 14th day of your menstrual cycle. Starting with the first sign of your period, count 14 days. That is approximately when ovulation begins.

Ovulation bleeding happens once each month and is consistent, meaning it occurs most months and happens around the same time each month. Also, ovulation bleeding lasts only a couple of days.

Other causes of abnormal uterine bleeding

  • Fibroid. A noncancerous growth found inside the uterus or on the cervix. Both types of fibroids can cause irregular menstrual cycles or heavy bleeding.
  • Medication. As hormonal birth control can cause breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Blood thinners, aspirin, and copper IUD can cause heavy menstrual bleeding.
  • Inflammatory Disease (PIV). An infection in the upper tract of the female genitals.
  • Miscarriage.
  • Adenomyosis. This condition is caused when the lining of the uterus grows into the muscle wall of the womb (uterus). It causes heavy bleeding and pain that becomes more intense with age.

Can stress cause ovulation bleeding?

According to Texas Healthcare, stress can affect the regularity of the menstrual cycle and the amount of blood lost. Stress affects hormone levels, especially the amount of cortisol released to the body. The hormonal changes caused by stress can affect menstrual function. Secondly, the alpha-amylase enzyme, which is linked to infertility issues, increases and makes it difficult to conceive.

When to be concerned
Knowing that spotting or bleeding between cycles is atypical can cause stress for the women affected. It is difficult to know for certain if between period bleeding is normal for you without the assistance of a medical professional. However, after consulting an Ob/Gyn physician, many women’s concerns are relieved.

Though ovulation bleeding is considered abnormal, it does affect many women. Several things can cause ovulation bleeding, with stress and medications being some examples. Tracking your cycle and documenting changes in your body can be helpful for both you and your healthcare provider.


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