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Women’s Health: Can Stress Cause Spotting?

When John Gray said that "men are from mars, women are from venus," the American author and relationship counselor may have hit the nail on the head. Women are indeed wired differently from men, and this is especially evident when it comes to handling stress. This is because women tend to process events with emotions, whereas men are more likely to concentrate on planning, action, and problem-solving.

Women's hormonal makeup is mainly responsible for their emotional state, which manifests physically. Thus, it's no surprise that when your "stress thermostat" goes up, it comes with an entire bundle of symptoms, such as drowsiness, headaches, palpitations, skin problems, even upset stomach. 

These physical and mental tensions may also lead to menstrual changes, causing shifts in our period schedules. When faced with anxiety-causing situations, women can experience early or delayed menstruation. Menstrual volume can also be affected, going from very thin trickles to extremely heavy flows. Some women may even find themselves totally skipping their periods. 

And sometimes, when you're particularly stressed out and about to lose your marbles, you receive yet another reminder of your feminine response to stress. You may notice it on your underwear or on your tissue just when you wipe right after peeing. It's called spotting.

What is spotting? 

Spotting is light vaginal bleeding that isn't related to one's period. Compared to light menstrual bleeding, which typically happens before the onset of menstruation or on the days leading to the end of your schedule, spotting can sporadically occur outside your cycle.

How is spotting different from a light menstrual flow? 

Aside from bleeding outside a woman's expected period date, other indicators can help distinguish between a simple light-flow period and actual spotting. If you're like most women, you can generally predict when your period will arrive. You can also tell, more or less, if your flow will be light, moderate, or heavy. Changes to your regular menstrual patterns may signify that something unusual or unexpected is happening within your body. 

Also, a period on average will generally require a menstrual product, such as a pad, tampon, or menstrual cup, to absorb the bleeding. On the other hand, spotting produces little blood, which, although noticeable, will not warrant the use of any heavy-duty menstrual paraphernalia. A pantyliner or some period underwear designed for light periods will work just fine if you want to feel more secure. 

Because it's nonperiod-related, spotting also doesn't have to come with the usual PMS package of bloating, stomach cramps, sore breasts, and so on.

Can stress cause spotting

Although there are several causes, such as unusual but mostly benign growths (like polyps and fibroids), birth control pills, reproductive infections, perimenopause, and pregnancy, one significant factor that can lead to spotting is stress. It's important to remember that women's bodies work based on the delicate balancing act of hormones. When disrupted by stress, these hormones can wreak havoc on our physical systems and trigger spotting.

Can spotting be managed?

While most causes of spotting may require a visit to the doctor, stress is one area that’s reasonably within our control. So, for average spotting issues, the solution is simple, right? Just get rid of stress to do away with spotting, and you'll be just fine. Easier said than done, you might say. 

But do you know that there are many proven ways to minimize stress? Here are a few tips that can be beneficial in alleviating your spotting concerns by helping you manage stress better.

Eat a healthful diet

First, let's talk about your diet. Of course, we already know that consuming nutritious and well-balanced meals rich in vitamins and minerals can positively impact our overall health. But did you know that a specific mineral in vegetables can fight stress? Studies show that magnesium deficiency can increase the body's susceptibility to stress and vice versa. 

Too much cortisol in our bodies is the culprit for those regrettable mood swings, those moments when we just "let it all out." By lowering the stress hormone cortisol and fighting inflammation, this mind mineral can boost our immune system's capability to handle mild sleep disorders, irritability, muscle weakness, and other symptoms of stress. 

So better start enjoying magnesium-rich foods like kale, spinach, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and—surprise—dark chocolates! What a deliciously fun way to fight stress!


Next on the list of tension busters is exercise. Consistent physical movement, be it running, dancing, playing your favorite sport, or a simple 20-minute walk a day, can pump up your supply of endorphins or happy hormones. These hormones trigger a positive feeling in your body, improving your general well-being. As a result, your mood is improved, tension is released, and voila—you may perhaps discover that your stress-induced spotting is gone for good!

Breathe away stress 

Let's not forget about breathwork. Deep breathing techniques can be effective in reducing stress. One example is box breathing or square breathing. This stress management technique creates a rhythmic pace that lowers blood pressure and heart palpitations. First, simply inhale to the count of 4. Then hold your breath for another 4. The third step is to slowly exhale through your mouth, making sure to release air from the lungs. Lastly, repeat steps 1 to 3 for as long as you need to. Usually, this will last for a minute or two.

Save your strength

How often have we heard the line "Don't sweat the small stuff"? A gazillion times perhaps, but we find it challenging to heed this advice. We know life can be difficult. Every day, we are tugged in every direction, which can quickly burn us out mentally and emotionally. Although we generally cannot pick our circumstances, we can always choose our responses.

Ask yourself if the situation you're facing merits an emotional upheaval. And more often than not, your pretty little head will give you the correct answer: It's all small stuff. So keep this in mind, and maybe, down the road, a couple of years from today, your more relaxed, less stressed, and less "spotty" self will thank you for choosing your battles well.

How else can you get a good grip on things? Choose Ruby Love underwear that can help bring down stress levels, whether or not you're on your period. Our period underwear, swimwear, loungewear, and activewear are designed with the Ruby Love Proprietary Super Absorbent Layer to help fight odor and keep you dry, relieving you of anxiety from feminine stains and leaks. With Ruby Love period apparel, you can stay fresh and confident all day, every day!
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