What is Mid-Cycle Spotting?

What is Mid-Cycle Spotting?
What is Mid-Cycle Spotting? (Image: Robert Vitulano, Flickr)

Mid-cycle spotting is light bleeding that may occur during ovulation, usually around days 14 to 16 of a woman's menstrual cycle.

Why Mid-Cycle Spotting Occurs

During ovulation, estrogen levels peak. When progesterone levels are low (relative to estrogen levels), the endometrial lining may begin to shed and light spotting occurs.

Possible Causes

Light mid-cycle bleeding may be normal and is not necessarily indicative of a serious ailment. Other possible causes of mid-cycle spotting include oral contraceptives, estrogen creams, intra-uterine devices (IUDs), eating disorders, hypoactive thyroid or high levels of insulin. These affect hormone levels within the body and this imbalance causes spotting.


Treatment depends on the cause. When possible, eliminate the cause to prevent mid-cycle spotting. Otherwise, a physician may prescribe the lowest effective dose of progesterone or estrogen as a 2- or 3-day treatment.


Ovulation does not always occur on day 14. Adult menstrual cycles range from 21 to 35 days in length and ovulation usually occurs mid-cycle.


Ovulation spotting is not the only reason bleeding occurs. Other possible causes of abnormal bleeding include implantation bleeding, threatened miscarriage, uterine polyps, cervical cancer or uterine cancer. If mid-cycle bleeding becomes heavy or persists, contact a physician.

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