Ovulation Bleeding: What It Looks Like & Is It Serious

October 2022

Ovulation bleeding is often a scant amount of spotting that occurs during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle. It occurs due to hormonal changes that happen during this time and is considered to be normal and not a reason for concern. 

Ovulation bleeding can last for about 2 days and many times is not very visible. Any bleeding is very scant and it may only be noted when wiping or on the underwear.

However, if you notice large amounts of blood or if discharge lasts for over 2 days, you should see your doctor for assessment. He or she will identify the cause of the bleeding and indicate the most appropriate treatment. 

What it looks like 

Ovulation discharge occurs during the ovulation phase of the menstrual cycle, which is about halfway through. It occurs due to changes in estrogen levels, which can cause a pink, red or brown discharge. You may notice it on your underwear or when wiping with toilet paper. 

In addition to discharge changes, some women may notice other symptoms during ovulation, like an increase in temperature, appetite and libido. Some women may also experience light cramping. See what other symptoms can occur during ovulation

See when you are ovulating by entering your cycle dates below:

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You may also notice pink discharge following ovulation. Read more about what pink discharge after ovulation means. 

What is the difference between ovulation bleeding and breakthrough bleeding? 

Breakthrough bleeding is a type of bleeding that occurs outside of menstruation. This bleeding can happen following a gynecological procedure (e.g. a pap test), after changing birth control, or after a vaginal infection. Ovulation bleeding occurs during specific dates and is related by the release of eggs from the ovaries.   

Learn more about what different colors of vaginal discharge can mean. 

When to go to the doctor

Ovulation bleeding is considered to be normal and does not require any treatment. The hormone changes that cause ovulation bleeding are normal and expected, and may even go unnoticed by some women. 

If you have intense bleeding, if discharge lasts for over 2 days, or if you have other symptoms like abdominal discomfort or intense cramping pain, you should see your doctor or gynecologist. He or she may order testing to help identify the cause of bleeding. 

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Updated by Tua Saude editing team, on October of 2022.

References

  • REPRODUCTIVE FACTS. Fact Sheet Intermenstrual bleeding [IMB] . 2017. Available on: <https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/abnormal-uterine-bleeding/>. Access in 03 May 2021
  • AMERICAN SOCIETY FO REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE. Abnormal Uterine Bleeding - A Guide for Patients. 2012. Available on: <https://www.reproductivefacts.org/globalassets/rf/news-and-publications/bookletsfact-sheets/english-fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/Abnormal_Uterine_Bleeding.pdf>. Access in 03 May 2021
Show more references
  • DASHARATHY, Sonya S.; MUMFORD, Sunni L.; POLLACK, Anna Z. et al. Menstrual Bleeding Patterns Among Regularly Menstruating Women. Am J Epidemiol. Vol 175. 6 ed; 536-545, 2012
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