What’s The Difference Between Periods And Spotting?

You head to the bathroom to pee and you see it...a red or brown spot right on your favorite underwear. You wonder to yourself. Isnt my period not due for another 2 weeks?  

This scenario happens to many menstruating humans, leaving them feeling utterly confused.  Whats happening?  Well, youre spotting! While you might want to book the soonest appointment with your gynecologist and demand to know exactly what is happening, most of the time, its really no reason for concern.  

Spotting is normal and is often not something to be too concerned about. But if you still want peace of mind, knowing the difference between your period vs spotting will be useful. 


While a period is the start of your menstrual cycle each month and releases about 2 tablespoons of blood (if you dont have menorrhagia), it will last longer than spotting. Spotting can happen at any time during your menstrual cycle. Another way to tell the difference is by the color of the blood. While your period blood can range in colors, spotting usually releases light brown blood.  

While this may cause alarm bells to go off in your head,  spotting is actually fairly common. It can occur between periods, during pregnancy, after sex, or after a gynecological exam. 


– Menstruation  - Ok, we said that spotting is different from your period, and it is, but at the start of your menses, you may find that you have some spotting. This is totally normal. We promise! 

– Ovulation  - A likely culprit of spotting, ovulation occurs when an egg is released from the ovaries to await fertilization. This process can cause spotting. Alternatively, spotting can happen due to an increase in estrogen that happens when the egg does not become fertilized. 

– Implantation - Implantation bleeding is spotting that happens when the embryo implants into the uterus, and it can be hard to distinguish -is it your period coming or are you pregnant? Well, it could be either. A good way to tell is to check for other signs of pregnancy, like nausea, fatigue, or sore breasts. 

– Abnormal pregnancy  - Miscarriages, premature labor, and ectopic pregnancies are all cause for concern. Spotting can be present with all of them so if you are concerned about it, check with your doctor right away. 

– Labor  - Another pregnancy-related cause of spotting is going into labor. This usually occurs around 37 weeks when your body passes the mucus plug. 

– Infections or disease  -  STIs, reproductive issues, and other infections like Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) could all be causes of spotting. If the above causes dont seem to be the issue, check with your doctor. Most infections are treatable but can become even more serious if ignored. 


While you should feel free to call your doctor anytime you have a health-related question or concern, its helpful to know when spotting is a cause for real concern. Here are some circumstances when itd be smart to call your doctor: 

– If you are pregnant or think you may be 
– If you have consistent spotting 
– If you have had unprotected sex and start spotting 
– If you have any pain or cramping around the time of spotting 
– If you are on any kind of medication that you think could be causing spotting 


If you feel like youre spotting more than usual, then its completely safe to put in your menstrual cup! Check out our menstrual cups and period products at Lunette.


I had protected sex on 24th January since then after 30th jan i found some blood in my discharge and on 1of feb i found spotting i thought my periods have been started but it is 3rd February but nothing happened im just not sure what to do next cause usually my periods are at the end off the month .

Bushra February 10, 2023

My periods have always been irregular, I always have it for 7 days, heavy flow and clots. This time round it started on the 8th of December as a light watery bright red flow (not enough to fill pad) with no clots at all, by the 4th day it turned rusty brown and has been like that up till the 16th Dec, but now only when I wipe I still have a small amount. Today I have bearly nothing just a small amount on pantyliner. Not sure if it was my period or if something is wrong. I did have unprotected sex on the 4th of Dec and been having cramps more than usual.

Tamara December 29, 2022

If a woman had light spotting for 2 months, does she pregnant.

Ade July 19, 2022

Hi Inovic,
the watery period might be spotting. Spotting may occur before the period starts :) However, we are no medical professionals. If there is any reason to worry, we recommend visiting a doctor to make sure everything is okay.
Best regards, Team Lunette

Lunette Cup June 24, 2022

Hi.I Wanted to Ask What does a watery period blood mean becouse my girlfriend had a watery period blood in the morning but during midday she said the blood this abit thick

Inovic June 24, 2022

Am supposed to see my period on the 26th of February,the last one I did was on the 1st of February,my cycle is 26days ,but I didn’t see it on the 26th of February,on the 28th I saw a spot,brownish red blood just for that day,the blood was little What does that mean

Anuoluwapo February 28, 2022

Hi, i saw my period on the 8th of September which lasted for 4 days, and i have been having sex since then. And on the 22nd of the same month i still saw blood. Am confused what does that mean

Ejezie Chiamaka October 12, 2021

Hi Grace! As we are not medical professionals we cannot offer diagnosis. If you are concerned about pregnancy we recommend taking an at-home pregnancy test or consulting a doctor. :)
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Cup August 16, 2021

Hi doctor
I have my menses on 3rd of April and had little spotting on the 8th of May it lasted for 3days till now I have not seen my menses and sometimes I feel dizzy, cold and a heaviness on my buttocks but my problem is that I don’t feel tenderness on my breast
Please am l pregnant?

Grace chinyere Duru June 29, 2021

Hi Beth! We understand your stress over the change in your period. However, as we are not medical professionals we cannot offer a diagnosis. If you are feeling concerned about pregnancy after taking tests it is best to consult a doctor.
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor June 08, 2021

Hi Elle! Thanks for your question! There are many reasons your period may look different from month to month, such as diet, stress, medication, or exercise. If you’re feeling concerned it is best to consult a doctor. If you’re concern about pregnancy we recommend taking an at home pregnancy test. ☺️
- Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor June 08, 2021

I had unprotected sex a day before my period. My period still came heavily as usual. But on the third day, it stopped suddenly. I took a home test twice both shows negative. No other symptoms apart from the period stopping. Could I be pregnant

Beth June 08, 2021

Hi. I had unprotected sex the day before my period, but he did not cum inside me. He entered me for about 6 times and pulle it away, after 2 mins of handjob he came on his owns, although there’s a clear liquid coming out from him before entering me and my period came the next day but it’s pinkish. What does it mean?

Elle June 08, 2021

Hi Ezeokwuosa! Unfortunately we cannot offer diagnosis as we are not medical professionals. If you are concerned about pregnancy we recommend taking an at home pregnancy test. <3
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor May 20, 2021

Am having longer period like 28 to 30 cycle …i saw my period last week and I have sex although last two weeks last week even in my period…. Buh this week… Am seeing light spotting and experiencing sore breast and am noticing few drops of milk duct coming out from my breast… Please what does it mean?

ezeokwuosa amarachi May 20, 2021

Hi Annabelle! If you think you may be pregnant we recommend taking an at home pregnancy test. As we are not medical professionals we cannot offer a diagnosis. 💙
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor February 19, 2021

Content I got married on 28 January 2021 and I started having sex on 29th.
I saw my last period on 9th January and now after having sex with my husband on 7th February morning I began to see something like my period in the afternoon on the 7th February which last for 4 days
it’s not like my normal period.
I took home test this morning be 11th February and it shows negative.
hope am not pregnant

momi February 19, 2021

I generally have longer cycles of 28-30 to 34/36 days sometimes!
But I started spotting on cycle day 22, then a very light flow almost spotting on 23/24. It’s so light I can use a whole pad all day and still not even half or 1/4 full it.
I usually have unbearable cramps and sore boobs a few days before a period so this is weird and doesn’t seem like a period, yet my body temp is still low..
I had unprotected sex 7/10 days ago too, does this sound like implementation bleeding? I know it’s meant to be more brown, but mine started brownish pink, now dark red. Not sure what to think!!

Annabelle February 19, 2021

I saw my period on the 1st -4th of January, so from 23-26 and 29th I had sex. Usually I ought to see my period for February on Feb 3rd or 4th but today this afternoon I felt a light drop on my panties and when I checked it was a light blood without cloth and before the blood since 27 th I have been vomiting and having soreness of breast, eating anyhow and sleeping a lot.am confused.

Levis Onorume February 01, 2021

Hi, Joyce! If you’re concerned about pregnancy we recommend taking an at home pregnancy test. If the vaginal itching doesn’t clear in a few days we recommend contacting a doctor so they can test/treat you for a yeast infection. :)
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor January 07, 2021

Hello, so I had unprotected sex on 3rd Nov but I received my period on 27th same month. So I expected my periods on December and the flow was normal that took 5days but it didn’t flow and now am 8 days late….. Am having vaginal itching and sore breast also some pain in the abdomen… Am I pregnant or what is the problem?

Joyce January 07, 2021

Hi, Agyemang Esther! Some changes to your cycle and period are normal and can be caused by lifestyle changes like a new diet or medications. If you’re feeling concerned about the changes it is best to contact a doctor.
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor December 11, 2020

Hi, Sandhya! If you’re concerned about pregnancy we recommend taking an at home pregnancy test. If you’re experiencing anything else of concern it’s best to contact a doctor. As we are not medical professionals we unfortunately cannot offer diagnosis.
-Team Lunette

Lunette Menstrual Mentor December 11, 2020

My menses was two days late and it has come but I can see some clotting of blood and is brown wish when it come but now is becoming red,what does it mean

Agyemang Esther December 11, 2020

I had unprotected sex after 11th day of my periods (Nov 23rd 2020). I had taken i pill on Thursday (Nov 26th 2020) . I constantly feel like vomting , I again had uprotected sex on Dec 3rd 2020 . On Dec 4th & 5th I had Spotting Its not like my periods (my last periods ends on Nov 13th ), But this spotiing is not like my normal periods , i Fell tired & dizzy and craving also AM i pregnant, pls help.

sandhya December 11, 2020

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