Blood discharge in the middle of the menstrual cycle can be a cause of concern for any woman. If you are trying to conceive or have had unprotected sex, the mystery could deepen even further. Let's try to ascertain whether you are experiencing implantation bleeding or periods, by learning about their differences. During the menstrual cycle, when ovulation takes place, the ovary releases eggs. A definite egg fertilizes with a viable sperm. This fertilized egg travels to the uterus and implants itself in the uterus lining. Since the uterus lining is very rich in blood and nutrients, so it passes out blood when the egg implants itself in it. This discharge of blood is known as implantation bleeding. One-third of women experience it during pregnancy, so it is pretty common.
Implantation Bleeding Vs. Period
Nature of Discharge
During periods the bleeding is very heavy and normally lasts for at least three days. Bleeding during implantation is scanty, almost like spotting. Although the time period of implantation bleeding varies from woman to woman, normally it gets over in a day or two. But some rare cases have also been seen wherein women have experienced bleeding which lasted up to 12 days!
Color of Discharge
You can differentiate whether it is implantation bleeding or menstruation by looking at the color of the discharge. The blood discharge during implantation bleeding is pinkish or brownish in color. The reason for this is that the implantation blood takes time to come out of the body and hence, loses its freshness. The blood discharge during normal periods is bright red in color and has lots of clots in it. The two kinds of bleeding are easily distinguishable.
Time of Occurrence
Another way of finding out whether it is periods or implantation bleeding is by calculating and finding out when does implantation bleeding occur. If we assume it is a 28 day menstrual cycle, ovulation will start on the 14th day. It occurs, on an average, 9 days after ovulation i.e. around the 23rd day of the cycle in this case. Although menstrual cycles of women vary from a 24 day cycle to a 32 day cycle, implantation bleeding will normally occur a week before the periods. If the spotting you are experiencing is immediately succeeded by heavy bleeding, then most probably it is menstruation.
During periods, women may experience cramps, pain in abdomen and legs, headaches and breast discomfort. But all these symptoms don't last beyond the menses. The signs and symptoms of implantation bleeding include light cramping, breast tenderness and bloated stomach. Cramping in pregnant women may continue through the first few months or may even last the whole nine months. Other symptoms include nausea, vomiting, mood swings, sensitive breasts, tiredness, cravings for a specific food and a raise in the basal body temperature for more than 14 days. The best time to take a pregnancy test is 3 - 4 days after implantation bleeding.
Though some symptoms of implantation bleeding may vary from woman to woman, mostly they remain the same. If during a confirmed pregnancy, heavy bleeding takes place and you do not know whether it is due to implantation or some pregnancy related complication, do not waste time and go to a doctor immediately as this could be a sign of miscarriage. So if you are experiencing any kind of bleeding, unrelated to your menstrual cycle, get it checked by a health care professional, as it could also be a sign of some undiagnosed health problem.