How Long Does Ovulation Spotting Last?

January 28, 2018


How Long Does Ovulation Spotting Last?

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Imagine you wake up one morning and find out that you are bleeding. The problem is your last menstrual cycle just ended, and you don’t expect to have another so soon. It sounds uncomfortable and a bit scary if you don’t know what is happening. Don’t freak out; the bleeding implies mid-cycle spotting or ovulation spotting in another word.

Ovulation spotting is not a comfortable experience, especially when you have no information about it. Most women will start questioning their body’s health conditions. Some worry they get pregnant.

Ovulation spotting has long been a concern for adult women since we all are not familiar with unexpected bleeding. What you will find in this article is useful information about ovulation spotting, focusing on one of the mainly asked question “how long does ovulation spotting last?”   

What is ovulation?

Let’s first take a look at “what is ovulation” instead of “how long does ovulation spotting last.”

So what is ovulation? Ovulation refers to the release of eggs from the ovarian follicle. Some women will release two eggs instead of one and have a higher chance to get pregnant. After the release, the eggs will travel down to the uterus and fertilize with the sperm which goes from the opposite direction.

Ovulation occurrence is somewhere between the 11th and the 21st day of the regular menstrual cycle [1]. Due to the variety of menstrual cycle, the period is not consistent, some women may experience ovulation later or earlier. In some extreme case, an anovulatory cycle (without ovulation) can happen several times per year.

Ovulation sometimes brings “Mittelschmerz pain,” which cause pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis, and back. This happens because of the discharge of the superficial layers of the endometrium without fertilization. The article HOW LONG DOES OVULATION PAIN LAST will help you understand more about this phenomenon.

For an overview of cramps before period, please follow this article IS IT NORMAL TO HAVE CRAMPS BEFORE PERIOD?

How does ovulation spotting look like?

Ovulation Spotting is regarded as the most trusted fertility sign. Often women tend to miss or even unaware of this phenomenon also if it does occur.

When the release of the eggs from ovarian follicle begins, luteinizing hormone, produced by gonadotropic cells in the anterior pituitary gland, starts to stimulate the surface of the ovarian follicle, making way for the eggs to enter one of the fallopian tubes. The by-product of this process is light bleeding, what we call “ovulation spotting.”

Unlike menstrual blood, ovulation spotting’s blood is rather brown or pink mixed with cervical mucus. Please note that regular cervical mucus will be transparent, egg-white substance. The egg-white cervical mucus will only last for two weeks and turn to be dry a week before menstrual period. So if you discover the brownish or pinkish cervical mucus, it’s likely that ovulation spotting has occurred.

The level of blood flow during ovulation spotting low. While some women claim to suffer from light blood flow, most of the women will only experience blood spots mixed with cervical mucus.

Since ovulation spotting is a sign of fertility, it often occurs during ovulation. Based on personal menstrual cycle, you will notice when ovulation is. If you have 28 day cycle, then ovulation will be on the 14th, and around that time, ovulation spotting is likely to appear.  

Along with the bleeding, ovulation spotting can sometimes cause pain in the lower abdomen on both sides. Even though this pain can last within 24 hours, it can be extremely uncomfortable and painful during movement. Take a look at the article HOW TO GET RIDS CRAMPS AT SCHOOL for instant relief remedies either when you are at school or work.  

Other signs of ovulation spotting include: a rise in body temperature and breast sensitivity.

How to differentiate between Implantation Bleeding and Ovulation Bleeding

Before considering how long ovulation bleeding lasts, many women will ask, “Does implantation bleeding resemble ovulation spotting?” Or “how do you know which is which?”

Even though implantation bleeding and ovulation spotting share the same feature, which is bleeding, there are several distinguishing factors between those:

  • Timing: Ovulation spotting occurs near the period of ovulation. Meanwhile, implantation bleeding happens a little bit later, typically 1 or 2 days before your menstrual period.
  • Cervical Fluid: Cervical mucus during ovulation is often wet and stretchy, while cervical mucus during implantation is dry.
  • Duration: Implantation bleeding and ovulation spotting don’t last very long.

Some people worry that ovulation spotting is a sign of pregnancy, which is not true at all. Bleeding sign of pregnancy is called implantation bleeding, taking place a week after ovulation. If you want to find out more about implantation bleeding, the article HOW LONG DOES IMPLANTATION CRAMPING LAST will provide you more beneficial information.     

How does ovulation spotting happen?

How does ovulation spotting happen
Woman sitting on bed

To help you better visualize the process of ovulation spotting, this section is devoted to answering the question how ovulation spotting happens. Why does ovulation spotting occur? There are several reasons to name.

Ovarian follicle rupture

This is the most common cause of ovulation spotting. During the release of the eggs, the ovarian follicle ruptures and bleeds to make way for the eggs to enter the fallopian tube. This process will last in a short amount of time and often causes pain [2]. 

The blood travels together with the eggs through one of the fallopian tubes, đơn to the uterus and cervix, and finally ends up as with the vaginal mucus on your underpants. This is a clear sign that you are ready to be fertilized.  

Hormonal Imbalance

At the beginning of a menstrual cycle, follicle-stimulating hormone (FHS) starts producing estrogen. This is the time when estrogen level is at the lowest. During the time, the estrogen level increases to thicken the lining of your womb. The egg-white, transparent vaginal mucus also results from the high estrogen.

During ovulation, the level of luteinizing hormones surges, causing the release of eggs from the ovary. This leads to the sudden drop in estrogen level, which can cause the inner mucous membrane of the uterus to bleed.

Period bloating, resulting from the imbalance levels of estrogen and progesterone, often occurs during this time of the cycle and lasts until 2 or 3 days of the period. Many women experience the feeling of being swollen around the waist. Want to know more about period bloating? The article HOW LONG DOES PERIOD BLOATING LAST is for which you are looking.        

Hormonial imbalance
Woman holding a yogurt cup

Birth control pills

Birth control pills or any other kinds of birth control methods relating to hormone can cause ovulation spotting. Ovulation spotting while using birth control pills is quite common, especially for the first few months.

Birth control pills consist of estrogen and progesterone (some only consist of progesterone), causing changes in the ovulation, endometrium and cervical mucus. Implantation is less likely to occur after these changes.

The uterine lining, during the time using birth control pills, will adjust itself to the changes. Sometimes, small bleeding can happen, but it will only last after a few packs of tablets. If this bleeding extent, you should consult your doctor or change to a new birth control method.

Prescription drugs

Some prescription drugs affect woman’s cycle and stimulate ovulation spotting. Before taking any prescription drugs, you should ask your doctor whether they cause ovulation spotting as a side effect.

How long does ovulation spotting last?

Now we have gathered enough information about ovulation spotting. Here comes the most critical question: How long does ovulation spotting last?

So how long does it last? Even though it’s not a critical condition, but bleeding when you’re not on your period is not a comfortable feeling. Plus it could cause unnecessary worry and fear.  

The good news is ovulation spotting does not last very long. Depending on your personal cycle and health condition, ovulation spotting will last from few hours to one, two, and sometimes three days in a row.

Unexpected bleeding may freak you out a bit, but don’t worry. The bleeding will come as small spots at a time and only appear once in your cycle. That’s why not so many women notice that they have ovulation spotting.

Since ovulation spotting has a short lifespan, if you experience ovulation spotting more frequent and it lasts longer than average, it’s time to look for help at the health center.   

When should I be alarmed?

When should I be alarmed
Happy woman on the beach

Overall, ovulation spotting is a common reaction of our body, so there isn’t any reason to be worried. However, if you observe any abnormal bleeding, it may come from broader issues rather than ovulation spotting

Ovulation spotting can only last up to 3 days with very little blood (sometimes we don’t even notice it at all!). So if you notice that you’ve been bleeding for more than 3 days with heavy blood flow or blood in red color, it’s time to be alarmed. Furthermore, if the bleeding (with the usual pattern as ovulation spotting) continues for as long as 3 or more menstrual cycles, you should also double check with your doctor.  

Abnormal bleeding can be a warning sign that your fertility is in danger. Several causes that lead to this condition are below.

  • Hormonal imbalance

Does your hormonal imbalance need your attention? Yes, it does. Primarily when the imbalance is caused by external factors, such as medications. If the condition lasts long, it will cause stress, anxiety, stiffness and inflamed joints.

  • Uterine Fibroids

Uterine fibroids are cancer-like growths of the uterus, even though they bear no danger. According to the Mayo Clinic, 3 out of 4 women reports having uterine fibroids during their lives.Uterine fibroids don’t come with symptoms, but when they do, the symptoms usually include bleeding that often mistaken for ovulation spotting, pelvic pressure, constipation and leg pain.    

  • Uterine Polyps  

Another cancer-like growth called uterine polyps can cause mid-cycle bleeding. Uterine polyps mostly appear in the endometrium and are not harmful. In some rare cases, they can turn to be cancerous.

Bottom Line

So how long does ovulation spotting last? Ovulation spotting, the sign of fertility shouldn’t last for more than 3 days. The best way is to listen to your body and observe any given signs while gaining new knowledge to take care of yourself better.

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