What Does Spotting Look Like?

Vaginal spotting can occur anytime during your reproductive and postreproductive years. It can be the sign of a medical problem, but in some cases the cause may be benign or unknown.


Vaginal spotting is a light amount of bleeding that occurs for various reasons in a woman's cycle. This spotting is sometimes referred to as "old blood" or "in-between bleeding."

Colour and Consistency

Vaginal spotting is normally pink, red or brown in colour. The consistency can be sticky or pasty (usually the case when mixed with vaginal discharge) or watery like blood.


Blood in the form of spotting can be as light as a pin prick or heavy enough to wear panty liners. Bleeding any heavier than this is considered irregular bleeding.

Time Frame

Spotting lasts anywhere from a day to a few days. In some cases, spotting may last longer than this or become a regular occurrence.


Some causes of vaginal spotting are pregnancy, vaginal dryness, hormonal imbalances, use of birth control pills, vaginal injuries and miscarriage.

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About the Author

April Khan is a medical journalist who began writing in 2005. She has contributed to publications such as "BBC Focus." In 2012, Khan received her Doctor of Public Health from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She also holds an Associate of Arts from the Art Institute of Dallas and a Master of Science in international health from University College London.