Why does my uterus hate me?
June 6, 2013 4:04 PM   Subscribe

How common is light bleeding a few days after your period ends? Should I be concerned? TMI below the fold.

I have an appointment with my OBGYN next week but in the meantime I don't want to use Google because it will just tell me I have cancer.

For the last three cycles, a few days after the bleeding from my period ends, I will get light spotting (light pink sometimes red in color) for about 7 days. Sometimes it's enough to show up on my underwear but mostly not. However, last night I felt this gush feeling (almost like when my period first starts) and I had light pink/brownish watery fluid that had soaked through my underwear and almost through my pants, ugh. I had some light pink spotting for the rest of the night and the spotting has ended today. What could this be?

I'm a 32 year old woman with heavy and painful periods and I'm not on birth control. My last pap smear and check up back in September was fine.
posted by MaryDellamorte to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Could be ovulation bleeding. Some women have that midcycle. But good idea to discuss with your doctor.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:26 PM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

I had heavy and painful bleeding that got worse as I aged (I am now 41 but it got worse throughout my 30s). I started to get bleeding between periods, and more than the single-day ovulation bleeding that I sometimes got. They finally did an ultrasound and found that I had fibroids. It might be something that they will want to check for. Fibroids are benign but they can keep growing, and the solution for me was a hysterectomy (best thing I ever did by the way, so glad to no longer have the pain and bleeding).
posted by veerat at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2013

Response by poster: I've had ovulation bleeding before which happened two weeks after my period ended and only lasted a day or two. What's happening now starts 3 days after my period ends and lasts for a week.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 4:32 PM on June 6, 2013

When I was a teenager I had what you describe, and it eventually became continuous, I was never not bleeding/spotting. When I finally went to the OBGYN apparently the issue was that my uterus wasn't completely shedding its lining during my period, so eventually it kind of couldn't shed effectively at all because there was too much tissue in there, or something. I was put on the birth control pill which solved the problem. Well, it solved THAT problem at least, but ended up giving me other problems -- but the shedding problem never came back after that, and I've been off hormonal birth control for at least 15 years now.
posted by rabbitrabbit at 4:45 PM on June 6, 2013

It's good you are going to the OBGYN as abnormal bleeding can be caused by all sorts of issues - even stress! (Or infections, PCOS, structural issues like fibroids etc.)
So if you can try not to worry too much at this point. However, if you feel sick or have pain go see the doc earlier.
Sorry, but no one here can diagnose over the internet. Feel better soon!
posted by travelwithcats at 4:45 PM on June 6, 2013

Best answer: The uterus is an organ whose primary function is to confound, confuse, and disrupt the life of its bearer. It could belch out confetti tomorrow and I'd probably just look at it and figure, huh, probably within the normal range of behavior for a uterus.

Your spotting would not concern me enough to do anything before seeing the Gyn next week. Certainly bring it up at your appointment, but until then just break out the 2nd string underpants and try to ignore it.

Good luck!
posted by phunniemee at 4:49 PM on June 6, 2013 [45 favorites]

Oh, I've had something like this too, and it appears (for me at least) to be a seasonal thing? Kind of? I undoctorially attribute it to the dehydration I get when it starts getting hot out. So the first day of usually grotendously heavy liquidy flow is instead super chunky, and then the rest comes out in dribs and drabs. I assume that my body doesn't want to waste valuable fluids on unbabyhousing itself, so it takes a while for the rest of the gak to amble on down my cervix.

this is easily the most graphically appalling comment i have made to date on mefi
posted by elizardbits at 5:19 PM on June 6, 2013 [18 favorites]

My periods (back before the mirena) would usually have a day near the end where they'd SEEM to be over, and then they'd kick back in with a few extra bonus days. It's something to check because it's a change from your normal, but honestly it's not that far outside the normal range so don't worry too much. Sometimes bodies (especially our lady bodies) just change in weird ways for a while.
posted by you're a kitty! at 5:51 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

Have you been extra stressed out about anything? When I'm under stress I sometimes end up with spotting for a few days. During one particularly stressful time it lasted a few weeks off and on. Doctor didn't seem concerned.
posted by fromageball at 6:24 PM on June 6, 2013

In the meantime (as I often do in questions like these), I would recommend the use of a Diva Cup or similar. You can leave it in for basically as long as you want, and it won't dry you out or cause TSS. And you can also measure the amount of discharge you have.
posted by Madamina at 7:46 PM on June 6, 2013 [2 favorites]

93% of uterine cancer occurs in women age 50 and over. Mean age at diagnosis is around 60 years of age. Your symptoms, which can be called "dysfunctional uterine bleeding" or "metrorrhagia" are extremely common in women of childbearing age. Part of the reason the survival rate from uterine cancer is so good is that the bleeding generally occurs in women who aren't expecting any period, because they are post-menopausal - so when they get bleeding they promptly see a doctor and get early treatment. I hope that helps to chase off the anxiety.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 8:32 PM on June 6, 2013

It happens to me every once in a while, and I'm 23, have never been on hormonal birth control, and don't have particularly bad periods in terms of duration, intensity, or pain. I suspect, as do some other commenters, that it could have some connection to stress levels.
posted by naturalog at 10:00 PM on June 6, 2013

I always get 4-5 days of spotting after my period. It's just how my body works. Charting my cycle helped me understand that it's just what my cycle looks like. Good luck!
posted by nerdfish at 5:08 AM on June 7, 2013

Another anecdote: I had increased bleeding until there were more bleeding days than not: pre, post, middle all started to blend together. Finally after a useless in office aspiration test and an ultrasound, I had a D&C that not only resolved the matter by identifying and removing polyps but the problem is gone since the polyps are gone. I wonder if they will return. I'm 42 and the problems started in my late 30s after 2 children.
posted by RoadScholar at 7:57 AM on June 7, 2013

This started to happen to me late last year (including the gushing thing). The only difference is that I had very light, painless periods since getting an IUD the year prior. Now, I have very painful, long (20 day) periods, with gushing, and blood clots -- for me it is a fibroid. Mine grew very quickly. It wasn't there when my IUD was inserted, and now it is obvious to me on an ultrasound.

Did you have an ultrasound when you got checked out last?
posted by hrj at 3:43 PM on June 7, 2013

Response by poster: I'm not a stressed person so I know that isn't the cause. Hopefully it's some benign like a fibroid (my mom and her mom both have a long history of cysts and fibroids). I didn't have an ultrasound last time but I will inquire about one at my appointment. I definitely feel better after everyone's response because the Googles was starting to freak me out a bit. Although I appreciate everyone's reply, phunniemee definitely deserves best answer. I will update the thread after my visit with the doctor.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 6:42 PM on June 7, 2013 [1 favorite]

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