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Why am I spotting (red then brown) 5-7 days before my period? (see details below)

Posted by racholi

My husband and I have been TTC for 18 months.  All of the basic tests have come back normal (including progesterone level, which was slightly high), yet I spot red then brown for about a week before each cycle begins.  Two different doctors have said there's nothing to worry about, but it just doesn't sound right to me.  I've tried red raspberry leaf for several months--it didn't do anything.  Neither did several months of vit. B6.
Answers (39)
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As far as progesterone.... was that a CD3 test or a CD7/7DPO test?


Tell me how long your cycles are on average? 

Luteal Phase length?

What method do you use to determine your ovulation date?

We did a CD3 test for FSH (I think?) (that came out slightly high, too), and a CD19 test for the Progesterone.

My cycles range from 26-30 days.  Based on OPKs and temping for my ovulation date (between CD13-16), my luteal phase is usually right around 14 days until regular flow of AF.  HOWEVER (this is where my concern lies) I start spotting red around 6-10 dpo (enough to need several panty liners a day, and sometimes even a clot or 2 in the toilet).  After a couple days of that, it turns to brown stringy stuff until AF fully starts.  As I look back at my charts, it looks like it's been getting worse over the past year (from 3-4 days to now 5-7 days of it).

how old are you? (so I know where to frame your FSH).


and if they did a draw for progesterone on CD 19 then your progesterone should be elevated. 

My concern with the spotting is that your corpus lutem isn't producing enough progesterone to sustain your luteal phase...

I am wondering why they did a progesterone draw on you remember the number of your progesterone level?

I am 31.

That was my concern too.  But my doctor said it wasn't a problem at all.  She never told me the exact number.  I'll try to track that down today.

Thanks for all your consideration!

its no problem...  find the numbeR?
It's proving hard to get hold of the records dept. at the doctors...I'll update when I get them.

OK, finally got it!

My cd19 progesterone was a 10.5.

(I don't know if this helps at all, but they also checked my thyroid then, which was 1.036; and my estrodile was 102.)

(And earlier in the month I did a cd5 test for FSH, which was 8.6)

ok your progestrone number is right on target for a post ovulation testing and non-medicated cycle.

Anything over five indicates ovulation and ideal is to see over 10+ non-medicated and 15+ by CD21... since they did your draw a bit early things are right on track for a healthy ovulation.

Your FSH is considered to be normal.. anything below 9 by CD3 is such.

It appears that everything is good numbers wise so I am not entirely sure why the spotting is going on.  Maybe ask to get your p4/progesterone draw on CD21 (or if you know when your ovulation occurs-7DPO) to see what your numbers are at that point... which is more central in your luteal phase and might provide a better picture of what is going on.  If they don't have something available on your CD21 then make the appointment (if you can get your Dr to order the test you can call on the first day of your period to schedule the draw) later in the cycle rather than sooner 

OK, thanks.

(That's kind of what I was afraid of--everything looks normal...Oh well...)

really the worst thing is the diagnosis of "Unexplained Infertility" because there isn't anything that needs to be fixed.  I understand your fear and I wish you only success :)
Just curious if you ever got an answer to this problem.  I have the EXACT same symptoms and my doctor hasn't been able to offer any explanation.  I am also trying to conceive and had an ectopic pregnany in August 2009.  Thanks!

Nope!  No answers.  It's so frustrating.  However, for my annual pap two months ago, I saw a new dr. and asked her.  She said I had a "friable cervix" and prescribed some antibiotics and another check-up a month later.  I did some internet searching and found that friable cervixes are often the result of an STD, which is definitely not my problem, but you may want to look into it.  When I went back last month, she said the cervical inflammation was clearing up a little, but not all the way.  She asked when I went off of birth control (nearly 2 years ago) and said sometimes a side effect of bc pills is that the uterine tissue starts to grow outside of the cervix.  She called it ectopic tissue.  She said it usually clears up and didn't seem worried at all (they never are concerned about anything!).  So I asked if it would be worth seeing an ob/gyn about, and she said why not.  So, I have an appointment this week.  I'm not too hopeful, but I guess it can't hurt (except the wallet--insurance doesn't seem to think any of this is worth covering!).

All I know is, besides the part of being unable to conceive even though all our tests came back normal, this whole spotting thing is also extremely inconvenient--it seems like I'm bleeding or psuedo-bleeding for half of every month!

Did you have the spotting problem before your ectopic pregnancy?  If so, then that seems to be at least a little hope--at least you were able to conceive.  As I try to research all this, I wonder if I'm conceiving at all each month and just failing to implant effectively, or if something is keeping the egg/sperm from even meeting?

Let me know if you figure anything out. (If nothing else, it's nice to know I'm not alone! ;o))

Just to let you know, I went to a different OB/GYN, and for the first time got a thoughtful response to the spotting (rather than the normal "it's nothing to worry about").  She suggested it may be endometriosis or uterine polyps.  To check out the endo, she recommended a laparoscopy, and to check out the polyps, she recommended a hysteroscopy.  Both are pretty invasive, so I'm waiting to see if insurance will cover any of the costs before I decide.
Have you found any answers for this yet?  I have the EXACT same issure  going on and it is the most irritating thing.  It is taking a tremendous toll on me.  The spotting a week before period.  No answers from doctors, everything always looks "great".  We have been TTC for almost a year now and I feel like maybe the egg and sperm meet but just don't implant because of the spotting right around implantation time. The worst part is always being asked when we are going to have children.. Then watching people who get pregnant "accidentally" or on the first try.  I am happy for them but I just wonder what is wrong with me. It's good to know that I am not alone.  I am sorry for your disheartening experiences and I hope to know if you found any answers yet? Thank you..
I have the same problem- TTC for 2 years and all test results are 'normal'. Always have 5-7 days of spotting before my period. I'm surprised at the lack of info available. Have you decided whether to get the laparoscopic procedure(s)? A doctor at our Fertility clinic mentionned that it was a possibly for me too but recommended that we keep trying for a few more months because t's pretty invasive. I started fertility acupunture last week; the accupunturist said it sound like the uterine lining is shedding too soon. We'll see. Anyway, hopefully you're able to get some answers/results. :)

Good to know there's others out there with the same problems! I too can't believe the lack of info (especially from doctors!).

I'd love to hear how the acupunture goes. I'm going in for the laparoscopy at the end of the month. I'm kind of scared, but at least it's a possible solution. (If nothing happens, at least we can rule it out!)

good luck!

No answers yet...Let me know if you discover anything (or get pregnant! I'm curious to see if anyone ever does in spite of the spotting)
Hi guys, after suffering from the same thing and frustration because like you guys said there is not much info about it. I got a Holistic OB/GYN doctor and she explained to me that the discharge is due to some alteration in the progesterone levels. In our society we are being bombarding with foods that higly increment estrogents and at the same time reduce the regular levels of progesterone. So she suggested I use the Bio Identical progesterone cream, starting from the day 15 until you get the period. Careful: if you are TTC you must do it like that from day 15 or 16 of the cycle till the very firts day of your period, then rest and start again the next day 16 of the cycle. I got the progesteroen cream and exactlly the very firt month the discharge appeard only one day before the period, no more 5, or 7 day sbefore..just the day before. The cream made my luteal phase longer. After 4 months of using the cream, the discharge dissapeared. Now after 9 months, I found out I am pregnant!!  and all I did was using the cream!! You can get it at natural stores, you only need  20mg per day, the size of a bean and you can put it in the hands, feet, around the abdomen, insde of the arms, etc.

Thanks so much for your solution!!!

After my surgery led to no changes, I mentioned the progesterone thing again to my OB/GYN, and she FINALLY gave me a prescription for Progesterone suppositories (for use days 21-30). This is my first month using it...We'll see how it goes...

Another friend of mine just recommended Vitex, a supplement. She said it stops the bleeding when she uses it all month (but she's no longer trying to get pregnant...When she was, her doctor prescribed the progesterone suppositories, and she got pregnant the first month she used them.)


Unfortunately, I haven't had any luck yet:(.

It's difficult to say if the accupunture is working; the only way to know is if I get pregnant. The theory behind it is pretty logical- my accupunturist basically tries to maintain temperatures that are ideal for a perfect cycle. I'm going to continue with it for another couple of months.

I recently spoke with 2 different doctors at the fertility clinic and both said that spotting prior to your period does not affect fertility. One said that there was a time that doctors assumed a relationship between the two, but testing and clinical trials showed otherwise. Neither doctor could define a reason why it occurs but they were confident that it isn't the reason for infertility.

I'll keep you posted :)

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