OB GYN

Ob-Gyn questions? Ask a gynecologist online.

Ask a Doctor,
Get an Answer ASAP!

OB GYN
This answer was rated:

I have a question about unusual spotting in between periods.

I have a question about...
I have a question about unusual brown spotting in between periods. I've been to see the doctor (I was seen by a nurse practitioner) and was examined, but she wasn't very reassuring and I'm left with more questions than answers.
JA: Are you in any pain? How regular are your periods?
Customer: No pain. I'm 40 years old. My periods have always been a little inconsistent, with my cycles spanning from 30-36 days. I am not on birth control. The spotting begins approximately 5-6 days after I think my period ends, and comes in the form of brown mixed in with my normal discharge for that time of the month. I first noticed this happening in September. I was seen for a routine GYN visit in December and my pap was normal. I was told at the time it could just be my body adjusting to a new phase in life, or just shedding of remaining blood. My periods vary from month to month in terms of how heavy they are. The heavier the month, the longer this second round of spotting seems to be. The nurse did a full exam yesterday and said she could not see or feel anything irregular (except the discharge). They took blood to check for thyroid function and hormone levels, and they took cultures to check for infections. They did a pregnancy test which was negative.
JA: Anything else in your medical history you think the doctor should know?
Customer: My mother had breast cancer at 38. My last mammo five months ago was normal.
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
She said it could range from anything from my body "resetting" to fibroids, to polyps, to cancer (that's when I freaked out). Then she said that they look for the easy things first, and then worry about testing for the bad stuff later. They want me to come in one week after my next period when my lining is thinner to check for fibroids or polyps by ultrasound. I'm freaking out and have convinced myself I have uterine cancer. I don't know if she was truly alarmed or just had bad bedside manner, but I'm looking for any medical opinion to reassure me its likely nothing serious.
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
I do not yet know the results of the blood test or culture they took.
Answered in 7 minutes by:
6/2/2017
Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11,268
Experience: Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Verified

How many months has the spotting between periods been going on? Thank you.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
The first time it happened was Sept. 2016... it has not been every month since, but has happened probably half the time since then.

I think that cancer is quite unlikely, and the spotting is more likely due to the hormonal changes that are not unusual at age 40.

However, just to be sure that you're not developing any pre-cancerous changes inside the uterus (which can also occur related to the hormonal changes), we would usually recommend an endometrial biopsy, where a thin tube is inserted through the cervix to sample the uterine lining. It's a procedure not often done by nurse practitioners, but very commonly done by OB/GYN doctors. Assuming that was normal or only showed mild changes, then usually we can resolve the bleeding between periods and changes by using some progesterone pills.

Fibroids and polyps are also possible causes, but I think less likely. Best wishes.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
what would I be experiencing if there were a stronger chance of cancer that I am not seeing now?

There would be a stronger chance of cancer if the bleeding between periods had been going on for a longer period of time, such as more than a year.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If your suspicion is correct, will I get those answers once the bloodwork comes back, or do I have to suffer with not knowing all the way till I can have the ultrasound? What makes you suspect hormones instead of fibroids or polyps?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Sorry -- our answers got crossed -- If your suspicion is correct, will I get those answers once the bloodwork comes back, or do I have to suffer with not knowing all the way till I can have the ultrasound? What makes you suspect hormones instead of fibroids or polyps? So if my hormone levels come back as off and they recommend progesterone, and the bleeding resolves, then that would be a good sign?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
spotting... not bleeding... also - is it a good sign that it is brown and not red, or is that irrelevant?

Hormonal changes are so common at age 40. Fibroids are common also, but are more likely to cause heavier periods rather than bleeding between periods.

I'm afraid the blood work won't really give any answers. Your hormone levels may be normal on any given day, but that doesn't mean that the bleeding is not due to hormonal changes. And the ultrasound likely won't either. It may show fibroids, but won't be able to say that the fibroids are the cause of the spotting.

I don't think you really need to suffer. Cancer is quite unlikely.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
then the progesterone would just be a shot in the dark? If I did nothing at all (presuming it's hormone related), would this become the new normal, or would this subside soon?

The progesterone would likely resolve the spotting, assuming that it is due to hormonal changes. If the spotting disappeared after progesterone, that would be quite reassuring.

If you took progesterone and the spotting did not resolve, that would be a little more worrisome, and then a biopsy would be needed.

I would not recommend doing nothing, since this has been going on off and on since September.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
If you had to "guess" the percentage of chance that this is cancer, what would you say?
What percentage of women need this kind of treatment as they pass Age 40?
Is there any reassurance in the type of spotting it is (brown vs. red), or the fact that it seems to fluctuate based on how heavy the period is? Or that it hasn't happened every month?

i would guess you have 2-3% chance of cancer, but it's only a guess.

Many women need this kind of treatment in the late 30's and 40's.

The type of spotting is not helpful, nor the fact that it fluctuates based on how heavy the period is.

It's a good sign that it hasn't happened every month.

Please click the rating stars. Thank you.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
You've been very patient thank you.
Why does this only happen in the time after my period? Is that what is leading you to think it's likely hormone related?

Any bleeding between periods at age 40 is likely to be due to hormonal changes. That it happens in the time after your period makes it more likely to be hormonal.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question

I have to leave for a while. If you have further questions, I'll be back in a couple of hours. Sorry.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
is the progesterone a forever thing, or temporary? How long would I be on it?

It's temporary. There are various ways to take it, but perhaps you would take it for 2 weeks, off 2 weeks, then again for 2 weeks. Each time you stop, you'd have a period. That would help any extra buildup of the uterine lining to clean off. Most likely there is some build up of the lining due to insufficient progesterone. Then I think the spotting would stop.

Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11,268
Experience: Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Verified
Dr. Norm S. and 87 other OB GYN Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
The spotting I wrote you about stopped after about five days. I've had over 2 weeks of no unusual discharge. Today I woke up to what looks like the start of my period. It is Day 34 (I have always been in 30-36 range, so for me this is normal). Under any other circumstances I would think this is perfectly normal -- but I realized I didn't have any of the normal telltale signs (specifically sore breasts) that I usually get in the week or so before my period. I know in my lifetime this has probably happened before, but I find myself questioning everything now. I know from my doctor that fluctuating btwn heavy and light months is normal at my age. But Is it normal to get a period on time without any noticeable PMS symptoms?
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Basically I'm asking if this is my period or another "irregular bleeding episode".

I suspect that this is more irregular bleeding. It might turn into a normal period, but probably not.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Why else would I get bleeding exactly when my period is due? What would likely be the cause? Still hormones? (The bloodwork revealed nothing alarming. Waiting for period to schedule ultrasound). I do have a history of having months where I don't ovulate, but can't remember if those months were with or without symptoms. I don't understand why my body is behaving so strangely all of a sudden, but it's really unnerving.

It may be coincidence. Cause is always hormones, whether normal or abnormal.

Women's bodies and hormones often behave strangely when they get past age 40.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Customer reply replied 7 months ago
Still unlikely cancer?

Yes.

Ask Your Own OB GYN Question
Ask Dr. Norm S. Your Own Question
Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11,268
11,268 Satisfied Customers
Experience: Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Dr. Norm S. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I feel so much better today, and upon further investigation believe that there is a chance that the responses I got saved me from a serious, even life threatening situation. I am very grateful to the experts who answered me.

Susan O.USA

I can go as far as to say it could have resulted in saving my sons life and our entire family now knows what bipolar is and how to assist and understand my most wonderful son, brother and friend to all who loves him dearly. Thank you very much

Corrie MollPretoria, South Africa

I thank-you so much! It really helped to have this information and confirmation. We will watch her carefully and get her in for the examination and US right away if things do not improve. God bless you as well!

ClaudiaAlbuquerque, NM

Outstanding response time less than 6 minutes. Answered the question professionally and with a great deal of compassion.

KevinBeaverton, OR

Suggested diagnosis was what I hoped and will take this info to my doctor's appointment next week.
I feel better already! Thank you.

ElanorTracy, CA

Thank you to the Physician who answered my question today. The answer was far more informative than what I got from the Physicians I saw in person for my problem.

JulieLockesburg, AR

You have been more help than you know. I seriously don't know what my sisters situation would be today if you had not gone above and beyond just answering my questions.

John and StefanieTucson, AZ

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

Dr. C.

Dr. C.

Board Certified

2,537 satisfied customers

30 years of experience and an award-winning educator.

Monika Hearne, M.D.

Monika Hearne, M.D.

Board Certified OB/GYN

5,752 satisfied customers

With experience and compassion, I treat my patients like family.

Dr. Charles

Dr. Charles

OB/GYN (Doctor)

142 satisfied customers

Board Certified. Solo practice for 8 years; delivered more than 1300 infants and performed more than 800 surgeries.

Dr. K.

Dr. K.

MD

2,351 satisfied customers

Board certified OB/GYN with 20 years of experience.

DR PRABIR KUMAR DAS

DR PRABIR KUMAR DAS

CONSULTANT GYNAECOLOGIST

1,651 satisfied customers

MBBS(CAL)MD(G&O)

Dr.JBB

Dr.JBB

Board Certified OB/GYN

1,293 satisfied customers

15 yrs experience in Women's Health, Pelvic reconstruction and Incontinence

Dr. Lawrence

Dr. Lawrence

OB/GYN

822 satisfied customers

Board Certified OB/GYN and accomplished educator

< Previous | Next >

Related OB GYN Questions
I'm on the birth control nuvaring and I'm currently not
Hi, I'm on the birth control nuvaring and I'm currently not having sex. I did mistakenly take it out this past Saturday thinking it was my period week and realized today, since I had put the ring in o… read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
I started my birth control for the first time on december
i started my birth control for the first time on december 19, 2017 the first day of my period. now i am taking the inactive pills of the pack, but i am not on my period yet. is it safe to have sex wit… read more
Dr. D. Love
Dr. D. Love
Doctoral Degree
10,394 satisfied customers
If you are pregnant on birth control would there still be
If you are pregnant on birth control would there still be cramping on the second month you were suppose to have your period? Last month I had my period/light 8 days early and then only had cramping du… read more
Dr. Mo
Dr. Mo
Board Certified Physician
MD
1,775 satisfied customers
I'm thinking I am pregnant but no positive pregnancy test as
Hi! I'm thinking I am pregnant but no positive pregnancy test as of yet. Conception date 12/4/17. I was on birth control and ended my pack of pills that month too. I thought i started a period around … read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
I went off birth control a few months ago (mid-october)
I went off birth control a few months ago (mid-october) because i ran out while waiting for my MD appointment... I decided to stay off because we want to have kids sooner rather than later & I didn't … read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
My daughter takes birth control. She just went and got her
My daughter takes birth control. She just went and got her prescription and it is a genetic for her birth control, she has taken it before and it makes her hair fall out. She is suppose to start it to… read more
Dr. David
Dr. David
Radiation Oncology Attending Director
Post-Doctoral Degree
13,091 satisfied customers
I have two uterus and one cervix. I am fourteen weeks and I
Hi! I have two uterus and one cervix. I am fourteen weeks and I can almost put the tip of my finger up my cervix. This is my first pregnancy, should I be worried? … read more
Dr. David
Dr. David
Radiation Oncology Attending Director
Post-Doctoral Degree
13,091 satisfied customers
I currently am on birth control, and on the 7th day of
i currently am on birth control, and on the 7th day of starting birth control ( Dec. 3) I had sex with my boyfriend and the condom broke. I took next choice within the 72 hours ( on dec. 5 at 1 pm) an… read more
Dr Josh
Dr Josh
Doctor
B.A.M.S.
6,458 satisfied customers
Iam a 40 year old women and I starting taking birth control
Iam a 40 year old women and I starting taking birth control ( the pill) and was having a lot of brown discharge but my doctor keep me on it for 3 months before switching. It was very low dose. He then… read more
Dr Stan
Dr Stan
DO
2,553 satisfied customers
Im 45 and I take birth control continuously for several
Hi..im 45 and I take birth control continuously for several years..a few days ago I started to have severe lower pelvic pain..i thought it was gas or diverticulitis ( which I have been diagnosed with)… read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
I've been on birth control for sometime now and had
I've been on birth control for sometime now and had unprotected sex last Tuesday with my boyfriend. This morning I woke up to find a small amount of brown blood. I'm worried I could be pregnant. I tak… read more
Dr Josh
Dr Josh
Doctor
B.A.M.S.
6,458 satisfied customers
Please. I was on birth control but stop using it on
Hello, yes please. I was on birth control but stop using it on september, my period came 5 days later than usual, from october 25th to octover 31st and it came again on november 8th to the 11th. I wen… read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
The birth control I'm on is continuous, meaning I don't
the birth control I'm on is continuous, meaning I don't usually get my period. But I was spotting so I suspended the usage for a week (which is what my doctor usually recommends me doing). That was Fr… read more
Dr. J
Dr. J
Physician, Partner
Doctoral Degree
367 satisfied customers
I received this back from my endometrial biopsy as i have
Hi -i received this back from my endometrial biopsy as i have irregular bleeding.. Proliferative endometrium. Scant endocervix with microglandular hyperplasia and acute and chronic inflammation. what … read more
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Consultant Surgeon and Sports Medicine
Post-Doctoral Degree
32,901 satisfied customers
I had a endometrial biopsy yesterday & had sex last night
I had a endometrial biopsy yesterday & had sex last night without even thinking that maybe I shouldn't have....should I be worried?… read more
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Dr. Arun Phophalia
Consultant Surgeon and Sports Medicine
Post-Doctoral Degree
32,901 satisfied customers
I was scheduled to have an endometrial biopsy of my uterus
I was scheduled to have an endometrial biopsy of my uterus this week due to pain and a hemorrhagic cyst in my uterus along with free fluid. The doctor was unable to complete the biopsy due to there be… read more
Gaurav Gupta
Gaurav Gupta
MD, CEO
Post-Doctoral Degree
22 satisfied customers
I have a question about a endometrial biopsy. So today I had
I have a question about a endometrial biopsy. So today I had my annual checkup with my ob/gyn. I have been having spotting frequently and not a full period. I am 52 and perimenopausal. I also have fib… read more
Dr Ted Manos
Dr Ted Manos
Self Employed
MD
794 satisfied customers
I received this result from an endometrial biopsy and am
Hello, I received this result from an endometrial biopsy and am trying to understand it: BENIGN ENDOCERVICAL GLANDULAR EPITHELIUM.BENIGN SQUAMOUS EPITHELIUM.NO … read more
Dr. David
Dr. David
Radiation Oncology Attending Director
Post-Doctoral Degree
13,091 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x