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Ovulation bleeding vs. Implantation bleeding: How long does it last?

The Ins-and-Outs of Ovulation Bleeding

You may never have heard of ovulation bleeding but, believe it or not, it’s a thing. Ovulation is the period where one of your ovaries bursts to release an egg. 

It is not unusual that some women experience ovulation bleeding or spotting when they begin ovulating. So you should know that this is pretty normal at some point in your cycle. 

Do you want to know more about ovulation bleeding? Read on to satisfy your curiosity and understand the difference between ovulation bleeding and implantation bleeding.

What Is Ovulation Bleeding and How does it look?

Light. Vaginal. Bleeding. Let’s keep it short and simple so you can identify it spot on!
Ovulation bleeding, commonly called ovulation spotting, is simply light vaginal bleeding that happens during ovulation. 

Ovulation is the dramatic scene where one of your ovaries drops an egg like a Humpty dumpty.

Although ovulation bleeding is pretty standard in women, it is not very common.

Let’s take a look at this 2012 study:

“Only about 2.8% of young women had mid-cycle bleeding”

Women may bleed for various reasons between their periods but not always during ovulation. However, more study is needed on people who may have irregularities or other health complications. 

Perhaps you’re wondering what this mysterious puddle in your panties is supposed to look like, right? 

So that’s how you can tell you’re spotting. Now, spotting or bleeding is usually light and comes from your vagina. 

You can bring out the inner Sherlock instincts you have to check if the bleeding is normal. And how do you do that? By looking at the colors. The color of the blood can point out the cause of the spotting. 

Typically, the color of your blood changes as the speed of the flow increases

Some women say their ovulation bleeding is light pink or even red. This happens because the blood mixes with the cervical mucus. The color change occurs when you produce more fluid during ovulation. 

When Does Ovulation Bleeding Occur?

Did you know that ovulation can happen at different times during a woman’s cycle?
Yes, you read that right!

This is because the first half of your cycle is not fixed. Whereas the second half of your cycle is fixed. This is the phase after your ovulation. 

You typically ovulate 12-14 days before your next period. So, if you have a 30-day cycle, you will ovulate 14 days before your next period, which is on day 16 of your cycle. 

Whereas if you have a 36-day cycle, you will ovulate on day 22 of your cycle. That is why tracking your ovulation is essential and it can boost your chances of getting pregnant. 

But that’s another conversation which you can find here.

So if you want to get pregnant, remember that light ovulation spotting might be the lucky sign you need, to know it’s time to make those babies!

Also, keep in mind that an egg is only fertile for 12–24 hours during ovulation. But, because sperm can survive inside you for three to five days, your fertile window is approximately six days monthly. 

Learn More: When are you most fertile?

Let’s break this down a bit further.

If you have sex about four days before ovulation, you have a higher chance of getting pregnant. But, if you have sex a day after you ovulate, you have a lower chance of getting pregnant. 

Why Am I Bleeding During Ovulation?

Why in the world wide web are you bleeding during your ovulation? The very question that brought you here. It’s about time we got to it.

Ovulation bleeding may be caused by rapid changes in your hormone levels as you ovulate. 

For instance, a study discovered that the levels of estrogen, progesterone, and luteinizing hormone (LH) around ovulation were higher in women who bled during their ovulation. 

How to tell the twins apart: Ovulation Bleeding and Implantation Spotting

The significant difference between ovulation bleeding and implantation spotting is that the former, ovulation bleeding, happens when your ovary releases an egg.

The latterimplantation spotting, occurs when a fertilized egg holds on tight to the lining of your womb. 

Like we said earlier, ovulation spotting can happen about 12-14 days before your next cycle and is usually outside your bleeding period. It is also lighter than a regular period and lasts for a day or two. 

 

Implantation spotting is one of the first signs of pregnancy that one-third of pregnant women experience. Implantation bleeding happens a few days before your next period begins.

It is not uncommon that you may mistake implantation bleeding for your actual period since it happens around the same time as your period. Hence, we have come with the significant differences between the two:

Implantation bleeding
You may also see the following symptoms:
  • Headaches
  • Light cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Low backache
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Mood swings

Implantation bleeding should not stress you as it is not dangerous to your growing baby.

Learn More : Implantation bleeding Vs Periods | What Does Implantation Bleeding Look Like?

Other causes of bleeding around your ovulation day

Let’s take a quick recap. We know that ovulation bleeding is harmless and normal. We also know that there are other types of vaginal bleeding that you may see in your cycle. 

Now, what we want to talk about are the other causes of bleeding around your ovulation day. 

Some of them could be:
  • Hormonal changes: Some hormonal imbalances like low production of progesterone can lead to the breakdown of the uterine wall and eventually cause bleeding.
  • Endometriosis: This is a condition where your endometrial tissue (uterine lining) grows in other parts of your reproductive system aside from the uterus. It can cause cramps, severe pain, and abnormal menstrual bleeding.
  • Fibroids or polyps: They are non-cancerous growths in the body that can cause irregular bleeding and difficulty in getting pregnant.
  • Ovarian cysts: These are sacs filled with fluid in your ovary. They cause a lot of pain and can lead to bleeding if they burst.
  • Trauma: This is common in the vaginal or cervical area. Any trauma or injury to the vagina or vulva can eventually cause bleeding and spotting. 
  • IUDs: Intrauterine devices are used to prevent conception and reduce your menstrual flow. Now, if there is a malfunction in the device, bleeding and spotting may happen. 
  • Ectopic pregnancy: If a fertilized egg grows outside your womb, it is called an ectopic pregnancy. This can be fatal and can lead to severe bleeding. 
  • Thyroid disorders: People with severe thyroid disease normally experience irregular periods and bleeding. 
  • Hormone-based pills: Some hormones contained in drugs like birth control pills can also cause you to bleed in between cycles. 
  • Sexually transmitted infections: STIs, like gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, may inflame your cervix leading to bleeding.

In some cases, cancers of the uterus, ovary, or cervix can cause bleeding.

And what’s the takeaway? People who have irregular cycles may find it difficult to tell apart abnormal bleeding from their menstrual period. Your best bet? Reach your doctor if you suspect things aren’t going well. 

When To See A Doctor

It is not so clear to tell ovulation bleeding from other causes of spotting. Hence, you should call your doctor if you note irregularities between your periods.  

And not just for ovulation bleeding. If you bleed after sex or after menopause, or even longer than usual during your period, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare professional. 

As the wise saying goes, “prevention is better than cure.” So don’t wait for an emergency situation. Start tracking your ovulation to know when something goes wrong so that you can notice when things go sideways and help your doctor find out what is wrong with you. 

Summary

  • Ovulation bleeding only happens in a handful of women globally and doesn’t last for more than a day, so be wary of signaling your doctor in complicated cases. 
  • If you want to get pregnant successfully, track your cycle and watch for signs of ovulation like mucus discharge and a change in basal body temperature.  
  • We say the change in body temperature because your body’s temperature typically increases after you ovulate. 
  • However, this method is not so accurate for predicting your fertile window. Instead, go for an ovulation tracking app or test.
  • The Inito ovulation tests work like pregnancy urine tests except they check your hormone levels and confirm your ovulation day.
  • With the knowledge of when you are ovulating, you can confirm that the spotting is due to ovulation bleeding.
 

Was this helpful?

  1. Sonya S. D., et al. (2012). Menstrual Bleeding Patterns Among Regularly Menstruating Women. American Journal of Epidemiology. Volume 175, Issue 6. Pages 536–545.
  2. Trying to conceive | office on women’s health.
  3. Clubb E. Natural methods of family planning. J R Soc Health. 1986;106(4):121-126.
  4. What is implantation bleeding? American Pregnancy Association.
  5. Long WN. Abnormal vaginal bleeding. In: Walker HK, Hall WD, Hurst JW, eds. Clinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd ed. Butterworths; 1990.
  6. What is Implantation Bleeding? ACOG

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