Periods usually come once every 21-35 days. If you start bleeding between periods, you might feel worried. But it can happen for lots of common and healthy reasons! Light bleeding between periods is also called spotting or irregular bleeding. It doesn’t mean that there’s anything wrong. Some people get blood that’s red, pink, brown, or anything in between.
There are lots of reasons for irregular bleeding. It can happen because of medications, illnesses, stress, hormonal changes, and much more. If it lasts for more than 7 days or it’s really heavy, doctors recommend going to a clinic.
Why do I bleed between periods when I take hormonal birth control?
Spotting happens to lots of people who take hormonal birth control. Hormonal birth control includes the pill, the patch, the shot, the ring, the implant, and hormonal IUDs. Spotting is especially common if you use birth control to stop or reduce your periods.
If you just started the pill, you might bleed between periods because your body is getting used to the hormones. This is called breakthrough bleeding. It usually stops after the first few months. If you have heavy bleeding for over three months, a doctor can talk about options like changing birth control.
A few other things can make people taking birth control bleed between periods:
- Taking the pill later than usual
- Forgetting to take the pill
- Some medications or supplements
- Vomiting and diarrhea. These can keep the pill from getting absorbed.
I took Plan B and now I’m bleeding in between my periods!
Plan B, also known as emergency contraception, can also cause bleeding between periods. It might happen a few days after you take it. Some people who take Plan B also get their period earlier than expected.
If you use Plan B often, your periods might change. Taking it once a month or more can make your periods shorter or longer. It can also make them come earlier or later.
What if I don’t take hormonal birth control?
Sometimes people get their periods earlier or later than they expect. It’s especially common for teenagers! If you just started getting your period, your body might still being getting used to its menstrual cycle. That means you can get your period when you’re not expecting it.
It’s also common for people’s menstrual cycles to change when new or stressful things happen. Travelling, starting a new exercise, or feeling stressed can change someone’s period.
If you’re bleeding before you’re expecting your period, you can check to see if you have the usual signs of your period. If your breasts are sore or you have cramps or mood swings, you might have gotten your period early!
Some people also get a little bleeding when they ovulate. Ovulation is when someone’s body releases an egg.
What are other reasons for bleeding between periods?
There are lots of other things that can cause spotting or bleeding in between periods. Some of them are:
- Having an abortion
- Vaginal or front hole sex
- Being pregnant
- IUD insertion
- Conditions like PCOS
Most of the time spotting isn’t serious and stops on its own. But if you’re having pain, dizziness, fever, or it lasts more than 7 days, doctors recommend going to a clinic.
You can call 8-1-1 to find the closest clinic or go to Head & Hands for free, anonymous consultations for youths ages 12-25.