Spotting 2 Weeks After Period? Some Possible Explanations…

TEAM KNIX / YOUR BODY

Most of us have a menstrual cycle that lasts on average 28 days, which means we have (roughly) monthly periods. The first day of your cycle is counted from the first day of your period.

If you’re bleeding 14 days after your last period it could be that you have a shorter menstrual cycle. Or, it could be non-period bleeding. Read on to learn more! 

What is Spotting? 

In general, spotting is any kind of light bleeding that is not having a period (the monthly shedding of the uterine lining). We’ll go through some of the different characteristics of menstrual bleeding versus spotting.

Here’s an overview to help you tell the difference:

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Period

Spotting

Schedule

Usually monthly

Irregular, but may coincide with ovulation for some

Duration

Usually 5-7 days

No consistent pattern.

Bleeding Pattern

Different for every woman, but usually starts light, gets heavier for 2-3 days and gradually tapers off

No consistent pattern.

Blood Color

Usually red. May include clotting, which is less common with spotting.

Can be a different color than period blood. Many women spot brown blood or brownish discharge.

Source of Blood

Uterus: Periods are the cyclical shedding of your uterine lining

Spotting can come from your upper reproductive tract (like your uterus) or your lower reproductive tract (like your cervix or vagina). 

Other Symptoms

Hormone changes trigger other symptoms, including breast tenderness, bloating and cramping.

Depends on the cause of the spotting.

Management

Most women use period products like tampons, pads etc.

Does not usually require a period product. Panty liner or leakproof underwear will usually suffice.


Spotting is any light bleeding between periods. There can be many causes of spotting, some totally safe and some that are concerning. As such, spotting doesn’t usually follow any pattern.

While unexplained spotting can be irregular, spotting that is caused by events in the menstrual cycle, like ovulation, may occur regularly. 

Spotting blood can have a different hue than period blood. It might be brown and it can also have a different texture.

Finally, most spotting is light: A panty liner or leakproof underwear is usually sufficient to handle the bleeding caused by spotting. 

If you experience heavy bleeding outside a period that requires more than a panty liner, you should consult a medical professional.

The Likeliest Cause: Ovulation

You ovulate about day 14 of your cycle. For many women, the days around ovulation go completely unnoticed. But for some, ovulation is an event they notice other symptoms around. Those symptoms can include light spotting.

During reproductive ages, the ovary releases an egg every month. This event occurs when ovary follicles rupture and release the oocyte which travels to the fallopian tube and becomes an ovum or egg. The rupture of the ovary follicles can cause some light spotting and some women can even feel it happen.

That feeling usually manifests as a slight twinge or pain on one side of your abdomen. This pain is called Mittelschmerz. It translates literally as “middle pain” and is the name for the slight twinge or cramp that some women experience when the follicle releases the egg.

The best way to understand whether bleeding corresponds with ovulation is to track your periods and other events using an app or diary. If you experience bleeding that does not coincide with ovulation, there may be many other possible causes.

Below is a list of the most common reasons you might be bleeding or spotting between periods. While this list is not exhaustive, it does cover the most likely explanations.

Other Causes of Spotting After a Period

The truth is there are many possible explanations of spotting between periods. Some of these, you’ll be able to rule out on your own (e.g. if you’re not on medication or know you're not pregnant). But others will require a doctor’s visit to test for and rule out. 

This list is not exhaustive, but these are the most common causes of spotting between periods.

Birth Control Causes

  • Birth Control Pills: According to Medical News Today, bleeding between periods often occurs in the first 6 months of taking a new birth control pill. Doctors sometimes refer to this as breakthrough bleeding.
  • Morning-After Pill: According to the Mayo Clinic, the morning-after pill can cause bleeding between periods or heavier menstrual bleeding.
  • Intrauterine Device (IUD): Some women with an IUD for birth control may also experience non-period bleeding.

External Causes

  • Trauma or Medical Examination: If you’ve experienced rough sex or a medical exam like a Pap test, you may also experience vaginal bleeding.
  • Medications: Certain medications may cause abnormal vaginal bleeding. Your pharmacist should advise you of any side-effects of medication.
  • Stress: Increased stress may trigger many reactions. Stress may cause all kinds of changes in your body, including menstrual irregularities. Some may experience vaginal spotting due to high levels of emotional stress.

Common Infections

The following infections may cause irregular bleeding between periods. It’s worth noting that most infections are treatable. However, infections can become more serious if symptoms are ignored.

  • Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI), including chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital warts.
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID), an infection of the upper part of the female reproductive system.

Pregnancy-Related Causes

  • Implantation bleeding: After a sperm fertilizes an egg, the fertilized egg implants in the womb. Sometimes, implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus causes light bleeding known as implantation bleeding. Some women don't experience implantation bleeding and others don't notice it. Implantation bleeding is light, stops on its own and doesn't require treatment.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy: Signs and symptoms of an ectopic pregnancy include abdominal pain and vaginal bleeding.
  • Pregnancy: According to the American Pregnancy Association, 20% of women experience spotting during the first 12 weeks of being pregnant.
  • Miscarriage: Heavy spotting is one of the symptoms of miscarriage.
  • Breastfeeding: Depending on the frequency of breastfeeding and your own individual hormone levels, spotting may occur before full periods return.

Other Causes

  • Uterine fibroids or Polyps: Symptoms and signs of these benign tumours in the uterus or reproductive organs can include irregular or heavy periods and vaginal bleeding between periods.
  • Endometriosis: According to the Mayo Clinic, women who have endometriosis may experience occasional heavy menstrual periods or irregular bleeding between periods (intermenstrual bleeding).
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS can cause cysts in the ovaries and make it difficult to get pregnant. It can also cause irregular vaginal bleeding.
  • Blood clotting disorders, like von Willebrand disease.
  • Other health conditions, like hypothyroidism, liver disease, or chronic kidney disease.
  • Cancer: Cancer or pre-cancer of the cervix, uterus, or (very rarely) fallopian tube can cause spotting or abnormal bleeding.

Perimenopause & Menopause

  • Perimenopause: The time before menopause is known as perimenopause. During perimenopause, hormone levels fluctuate greatly. These hormonal shifts can have an effect on ovulation. Some notice irregular or skipped periods and abnormal bleeding between periods during perimenopause.
  • Vaginal dryness, especially due to lack of estrogen after menopause, can cause bleeding.
  • Cancer: According to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, spotting in post-menopausal women can, in some cases, be an early sign of cancer and should always be investigated further.

Risks

Depending on the cause of intermenstrual spotting or bleeding, the risks to your health will be different. However, anemia is one one the most common risks.

Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues. Anemia can have many causes, including heavier menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia) or by bleeding between periods (metrorrhagia).

Anemia doesn’t always have symptoms. But, according to the Mayo Clinic, the most common signs and symptoms of anemia include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Pale or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heartbeats
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Chest pain
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Headaches

When to See Your Healthcare Provider

Many of us avoid consulting medical professionals about menstrual or intermenstrual concerns. However, if you’re anxious or stressed due to uncertainty, it’s always worth talking to your healthcare provider.

If there’s nothing to worry about, they’ll be able to set your mind at ease. However, there are times when spotting or bleeding between periods could be a cause for concern. And if that’s the case, the sooner you see your healthcare provider, the better.

If spotting is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should definitely seek medical advice.

  • Heavy periods with a lot of clotting
  • Irregular periods
  • Abdominal pain or cramping
  • Pain or a burning sensation when peeing
  • Unusual vaginal discharge and/or redness and itchiness

Even if you don’t have any of the above symptoms, don’t ever ignore spotting, abnormal vaginal bleeding or abnormal uterine bleeding in the following situations:

  • If you think you’re pregnant: You should always see a doctor as soon as you think you may be pregnant to be administered a pregnancy test.
  • When it happens inconsistently: If spotting seems to happen frequently and randomly, you should definitely look into it.
  • It begins after unprotected sex: Unprotected sex can put you at risk for STI’s and other infections so if you notice spotting after unprotected sex, it’s wise to visit a doctor.
  • You are on medication: If spotting can be a side-effect of any medication you are on, you should seek out professional help.
  • Spotting occurs post-menopause: It is never considered normal for anybody post-menopause to experience spotting or vaginal bleeding.