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Abnormal vaginal bleeding between periods can occur for various reasons, most of which are not serious. Vaginal spotting, for example, may occur due to changes in your exercise routine.

Other women, especially young girls, may experience menstrual irregularities, which include vaginal spotting between menstrual cycles, due to vigorous exercise. Studies show that heavy training can cause delayed menarche (the onset of menstruation), irregular cycles and vaginal bleeding. However, many other factors can cause vaginal bleeding aside from exercise, even if some may attribute their spotting to heavy or regular exercise.

Possible Causes Of Vaginal Spotting

It is important for women to have a medical consultation following an episode of irregular vaginal bleeding, especially if the bleeding is heavy or prolonged. Although the cause may not be serious, it is best to get proper diagnosis and treatment as needed.

Never assume that your bleeding is just due to exercise.

Possible causes of vaginal spotting include:

  • Hormonal changes that cause dysfunctional uterine bleeding.
  • The use of birth control pills or other hormone medications.
  • Use of IUD (intrauterine device) for birth control.
  • Diet changes.
  • Stress.
  • An infection in your uterus (such as pelvic inflammatory disease).
  • Thickening of the lining of the uterus (also known as endometrial hyperplasia).
  • Recent weight gain or weight loss.
  • Recent surgery or injury to the uterus.
  • Use of some drugs such as blood thinners (warfarin or Coumadin) or steroids.
  • Pregnancy complications (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy).
  • Certain medical conditions such as pituitary or thyroid disorders, diabetes, chronic liver disease, or systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Noncancerous (benign) growths in the uterus, such as adenomyosis, uterine polyps, and uterine fibroids.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
  • Cancer of the uterus.
  • Other bleeding disorders.

Sometimes you may experience spotting after sex. It is also possible to mistake bleeding from the rectum, anus or urinary tract as vaginal bleeding. Call your doctor immediately if you are pregnant, or if bleeding is accompanied by abdominal pain, fever, weakness, and lightheadedness. You must also seek medical consultation if bleeding is heavy or prolonged.


The cause of vaginal bleeding may be determined after the doctor takes a detailed medical history and carries out a complete physical examination. Clinical and lab tests that may be done include urinalysis, pap smear, pregnancy test, and other blood tests such as complete blood count, thyroid function tests, iron count. A tissue sample from the uterus (endometrial biopsy) as well as a pelvic ultrasound may also be necessary.

How To Prevent Vaginal Spotting

You may prevent vaginal spotting by:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight. Vaginal bleeding is more common among overweight and underweight women.
  • Taking birth control pills as directed, preferably at the same time each day, to avoid fluctuations in hormone levels.
  • Taking hormone therapy as directed, at the same time each month.
  • Learning to cope with stress and practicing relaxation exercises.
  • Taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, which decreases the production of prostaglandins and reduces menstrual bleeding.
  • Asking your doctor for advice about exercise and diet with regards to your condition.

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