I have an issue that has been an issue for a long time, but yeah, I'm finally trying to understand it better.
I have a lot of "breakthrough bleeding": spotting during my luteal phase. Some months it starts within days of ovulation, other months it waits till about a week into my luteal phase, but it always starts. It's mostly brownish, but some red, especially during bowel movements.
This month was one of those "started within days of ovulation" ones.
It started out really light, just a few drops a day. i wasn't even staining my undies or needing a liner. Over the weekend it was heavier, but still mostly brown. Yesterday I was having some intestinal issues, and there was a significant amount of red menstrual blood every time I went to the bathroom when I wiped, but I was still only having a few drops between trips to the loo, and my liner barely got stained at all. Today so far there has hardly been any.
My temp dropped .7 of a degree yesterday, and went below my coverline today, so I'm expecting a full-fledged period to start. But my question is when I'm having as much bleeding as I had yesterday, how do I distinguish between pre-menstrual spotting and the beginning of actual menstruation? Yesterday seemed like period bleeding, but today I'm back to barely spotting, so maybe yesterday's extra blood was just caused by the [sorry tmi] excessive amount of bearing down I was having to do, and my "period" will start later today or tomorrow?
BTW, just for the record, I'm trying to conceive, so I'd rather avoid the pill. My luteal phase is about 12 days from ovulation to the first day of heavy flow, which is what I usually count as day one, though with all the spotting sometimes it's hard to know since it just sorta fades in, iykwim. I'm undergoing acupuncture--which has succeeded in lengthening my LP by about a day or 2, but hasn't done a lot for the spotting. I'm also taking a prenatal, B6, iron, garlic [sinus issues], and Omega Complete 3*6*9. I just started taking Maca root powder [1T=10g/day] in hopes that it will help level things out. I've thought about using a progesterone creme, but the thought that if I forget to do it might cause a MC scares me.
I occasionally drink some Dong Quai women's tonic tea, but probably not enough to actually "help".
ETA: I just went to the toilet, and there was actual flow, ie, AF "fell" into the bowl. So was that the start, or was the abundant red blood that I was having yesterday but that wasn't "flowing" the start?