False Menstruation: What Are They? Associated Causes and Symptoms

, during the implantation in the uterus of the fertilized egg. Compared to actual menstruation, these blood losses are generally darker in color and have a shorter duration. In case the bleeding becomes abundant or unusual for other reasons, it is good contact your gynecologist to understand the causes and decide, if necessary, how to intervene.

vaginal discharge that occur in the early stage of pregnancy and, for this reason, can be confused with the appearance of the usual flow.

Unlike real menstruation, however, false ones show up with some blood droplets, so the losses are minor. False menstruation is also distinguished by the color - usually darker and tending to brown, but can also be pink or reddish - and the shorter duration.

These droplets of blood are found in some cases, after about one or two weeks after the fertilization of the egg (just when menstrual discharge would be expected), when the embryo begins its nesting process in the endometrium, that is the inner lining. of the uterus.

False menstruation: synonyms

False menstruation can also be referred to as:

  • Implantation losses (or embryo implantation spotting);
  • Losses from nesting;
  • Catamenial losses (so called for their tendency not to last more than a couple of days);
  • Pregnancy with cycle.
of the uterus;
  • Mild trauma to the tissues of the cervix which are changing to accommodate the fetus.
  • How and When Can Pregnancy Begin?

    Conception takes place after sexual intercourse, when the spermatozoa, going up the uterus, reach the mature egg cell, released from the ovary during ovulation and available for fertilization. The fertilized egg is transported by the movement of the hair cells of the tube. in the direction of the uterine cavity, where it nestles in the endometrium, that is the internal mucosa of the uterus, approximately 6-7 days after unprotected sexual intercourse (therefore around the 21st day of a regular 28-day menstrual cycle, if fertilization took place on the fourteenth day) At this point, the production of chorionic gonadotropin also begins, the "beta" subunit of which is important for the functioning of the pregnancy test.

    The period in which it is possible for the egg to be fertilized starts 4-5 days before ovulation and ends 1-2 days later. This is possible in consideration of the fact that the mature egg cell, when expelled from the ovary, manages to survive for about 24 hours, while the spermatozoa can remain viable in the female genital system for up to 72-96 hours. Therefore, unprotected intercourse even 3 or 4 days before ovulation can lead to fertilization.

    False menstruation: what do they depend on?

    False menstruation can occur in the first weeks of gestation, due to the implantation of the fertilized egg in the uterus, a physiological event that causes the rupture of some small blood vessels. The invasion of the endometrial cavity by the blastocyst, in fact, causes a injury to local tissues and blood vessels, resulting in a small blood loss. The blood that does not enter the lacunae of the endometrium flows into the uterine cavity, making false menstruation evident.

    The origin of false menstruation is therefore completely physiological (benign), since it depends on the implantation of the ovum in the uterus. This phase is very important: once nested, the embryo will create the right environment to reproduce and develop during the nine months of gestation.

    When a pregnancy has just begun, a small amount of blood loss can also occur for other causes, such as the rupture of capillaries in the neck of the uterus (this organ is in fact richer in blood in the months of waiting) after sexual intercourse.

    False menstruation: can they depend on pathological causes?

    In general, blood losses during pregnancy should never be underestimated, as they could signal the presence of pathologies capable of compromising the evolution of the same gestation. It should be noted that, in the event of a threat of abortion or spontaneous interruption of the pregnancy, the bleeding is quite abundant and preceded and / or accompanied by severe pain in the lower quadrants of the abdomen.

    Repeated episodes of brown discharge, similar to false menstruation, can also be an indication of an ectopic pregnancy. Even in these cases, however, the cramping pains and the extent of the bleeding usually allow a correct diagnosis from the earliest stages.

    False menstruation can be related to the use of the morning after pill. Other times, these losses depend on the possible presence of uterine cysts or possible other disturbances of the internal physiology of the female genital system.

    For some characteristics, then, false menstruation can be similar to intermenstrual spotting, i.e. slight losses that can also occur for reasons independent of pregnancy (eg transient hormonal imbalances, inflammation or vaginal, cervical or uterine infections).

    , which can occur early in pregnancy. Like other early conception disorders, not all pregnant women experience this symptom.

    Characteristics of False Menstruation: how are they recognized and what differentiates them from menstrual losses?

    False menstruation is minor bleeding.

    Compared to menstrual flow, these present:

    • More limited duration: false menstruation can be irregular (ie they do not recur with a specific periodicity) or occur only for a limited number of days (approximately two or three);
    • Almost pinkish or brownish red color: the spillage of blood that characterizes false menstruation is scarce; during actual menstruation, however, the flow is abundant and of an intense red color. In implantation losses, the color approaches a red to brownish color. On some occasions, false menstruation can be limited to pinkish mucous secretions; rarely, however, they appear bright red. Usually, the clearer the false menstruation, the more recent the nesting of the fertilized egg.

    Sometimes, false menstruation is associated with crampy abdominal pain that is generally milder than with common menstrual flow. The consistency of the losses, on the other hand, is similar; only in some cases, the blood of false menstruation will be decidedly more fluid, viscous and less dense due to the absence of clots and residues inside.


    False menstruation: when does it occur?

    If present, false menstruation appears about four weeks after the last menstruation. For this reason, implantation losses can be confused with the actual menstrual flow. any cramps associated with false menstruation are not of a magnitude comparable to that of actual menstruation.

    False menstruation: how long do they last?

    Another difference that allows us to understand if the blood losses do not depend on the menstrual cycle is found in the duration.

    False menstruation occurs over a period ranging from a few hours to a couple of days. If the color becomes darker and the flow does not decrease, it probably means that it is menstruation.

    Symptoms associated with False Menstruation

    In some cases, false menstruation can manifest itself with some symptoms, not particularly painful or annoying, such as small uterine contractions often confused with those of PMS. Other times, the losses can be totally asymptomatic.

    False menstruation is one of the symptoms of the first weeks of pregnancy, so it can occur in combination with other ailments typical of this period, such as:

    • Feeling of vague malaise;
    • Menstrual delay (absence of menstruation in the expected days);
    • Soreness and enlargement of the breasts;
    • Change in the color of the nipples
    • Pollakiuria (more frequent urge to urinate);
    • Nausea and vomit;
    • Stomach pain or bloated feeling
    • Backache;
    • Tiredness and increased desire to sleep;
    • Mood swings (irritability, euphoria, tendency to cry, anxiety, etc.);
    • Headache;
    • Mild pain in the lower abdomen;
    • Increased sensitivity to certain smells and changes in taste;
    • Constipation.

    False menstruation: when to worry?

    During pregnancy, bleeding episodes, more or less intense, can occur for various reasons. Occasionally, heavy blood loss signals a serious problem, such as an ectopic pregnancy or placental abnormalities; at other times, this manifestation is transient and does not indicate anything pathologically significant.

    In any case, it is always advisable to contact your gynecologist or treating doctor, especially if the blood loss during pregnancy, similar or not to false menstruation, should recur with a certain frequency or for a continuous period, to exclude or identify any pathological conditions who are responsible for it.

    general (anamnestic analysis and physical examination of the patient);
  • Pelvic or transvaginal ultrasound to study the endometrium, uterus and ovaries;
  • Blood tests: dosage of sex and thyroid hormones, complete blood count, sideremia, coagulation factors, etc.
  • False menstruation: when to take the pregnancy test

    When false menstruation is not associated with particular alarm signals (ie they do not have pathological characteristics in terms of entity and duration), it is possible to exclude the doubt that their appearance may be related to the beginning of a pregnancy, by carrying out a test for home use. .

    If a woman has a regular menstrual cycle of 28 days, this can be done from the first day of delayed menstruation, that is, approximately 7 days after the implantation of the fertilized egg and 14 days after the presumed conception. In general, these tools are able to identify the beta-hCG hormone 8 to 11 days after ovulation.

    However, since not all tests are able to detect the lowest concentrations of the hormone in the urine and it is not always possible to establish the exact moment when the ovulatory phase occurs, especially when the cycles are irregular, it is best to perform the test after four or five days of menstrual delay.In any case, if the test has been performed correctly, you can wait a few days and repeat the test to confirm the result (often, the package contains two sticks).

    • When the home pregnancy test is positive, it is practically certain that the pregnancy has begun, but it is advisable to confirm the result through a blood sample (plasma test) and to arrange a first gynecological visit.
    • If the outcome is doubtful or negative and the menstrual delay continues, it is good to talk to the treating doctor or your gynecologist.

    Giulia Bertelli

    Graduated in Medical-Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, she worked as a Research and Development Officer in Food Supplements and Dietary Food companies
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