Difference Between Period and Spotting

Knowing the difference between spotting and a period flow might help you better understand your body's natural routine. Spotting is often only seen by women in their first trimester of pregnancy. It's also possible to encounter spotting when using the many forms of birth control that are currently available.

What is Spotting?

There is a wide spectrum of severity for spotting. During the first trimester or the initial use of a new birth control pill, it is common for some women to see faint pink spotting while their hormones readjust. In most cases, a panty liner is all that's needed to contain light spotting. A higher amount of spots, though, might make it look like your period has started. It may begin with the same severity as the first day of your regular monthly period, necessitating the use of a pad or tampon to keep it in place, and it may linger for more than a day.

Those who aren't yet expecting a child may have a difficult time dealing with heavy spotting. To them, it may seem as though their period has just begun. A medical professional should be consulted promptly if such heavy spotting occurs during pregnancy. It can be a sign of early pregnancy complications or, in the second and third trimesters, placental separation.

What is a Period?

Periods occur more regularly in a woman's life. It's the last step in the unfertilized egg's life cycle. Every month, the uterus thickens in preparation for the possibility that a fertilized egg may require a safe home to develop. Especially around the age of 25, many women may feel the beginning of their period long before they see the first evidence of blood.

Signs that your monthly cycle is coming to an end might include tender breasts, early cramps, headaches, bloating, and irritability. The body does not prepare for spotting in this way, thus it often appears out of the blue.

Unless the symptoms are so severe that normal functioning is no longer possible, a doctor is not necessary during a typical monthly period. However, unless it is an anticipated function when beginning a new birth control prescription, spots should always be reported immediately to a doctor.

Associated Problems and Abnormalities

  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is the most prevalent issue that women have before and during their periods. Acne, bloating, cramps, bloating backaches, headaches, constipation, irritability, food cravings, and many other symptoms are common in girls and women before menstruation begins.

  • Hormonal fluctuations may cause irregular menstrual periods that are either shorter or longer than typical. There are many different types of menstrual problems, such as oligoovulation (irregular ovulation), anovulation (no ovulation), hypomenorrhea (very light bleeding), metrorrhagia (irregular menstruation), menorrhagia (sudden severe bleeding), and amenorrhea (no periods for three to four months). A change in your menstrual period that occurs suddenly is cause for concern and should be discussed with your doctor.

  • Regular menstruation is not typically accompanied by vaginal bleeding or spotting. Fibroids, cervical cancer, ovarian cysts and cancer, hypothyroidism, hormone treatment, or even sexual activity can all produce menstrual irregularities like spotting.

  • During the first three months of pregnancy, it's not uncommon for the mother to have some light spotting. Molar pregnancy, implantation bleeding, an irritated cervix, a vaginal infection, fibroids, etc., are all potential causes of severe vaginal bleeding. Extremely heavy menstrual bleeding followed by severe cramps is a medical emergency.

Differences Period and Spotting

The following table highlights the major differences between Period and Spotting −





Period or menstruation is the shedding of the uterine wall, at regular intervals.

Spotting is irregular vaginal bleeding and is not associated with menstrual bleeding.


Every four weeks


Normal biological phenomenon


No (usually indicates something out of the ordinary).

Lasts for

3 to 7 days

Not specific


Normal hormonal cycle

Abnormal bleeding

Abnormalities associated

PMS syndrome, oligoovulation, anovulation, hypomenorrhea, metrorrhagia, menorrhagia, amenorrhea.

There are several conditions that may cause spotting, which include fibroids, cervical cancer, ovarian cysts and cancer, hypothyroidism, hormone therapy, or even sexual intercourse, pregnancy, implantation bleeding, inflamed cervix, and vaginal infection.


In this article, we explained in detail the various differences between Period and Spotting.