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How to prevent spotting on birth control

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  2. How to Get Rid of IUD Odor
  3. Recommended Diet for PCOS
  4. Does Apple Cider Vinegar Unblock Fallopian Tubes?
  5. Causes of Constant Menstrual Bleeding
  • Determining the Cause
  • Treating Hormonal Problems
  • Spotting and Uterine Abnormalities
  • Spotting from Contraceptive Methods
  • When to See Your Doctor

Spotting between periods is a common —and often annoying — part of being female. As many as 9 to 14 percent of menstruating women deal with spotting, according to a January 2012 “American Family Physician” article. Because many factors can cause spotting, including hormonal imbalances and uterine problems only detected by imaging methods such as ultrasound, finding the cause is an essential part of treating spotting. Once you know the cause, your doctor can help you find a cure.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

Determining the Cause

Since spotting has numerous potential causes, diagnosing the cause is the first step to treatment. Blood tests determine whether you have a hormonal problem or bleeding disorder that is causing spotting between periods. Ultrasound imaging of your uterus and ovaries might find non-cancerous growths called polyps or uterine fibroids, both of which can cause spotting. Birth control methods such as IUDs (intrauterine device) or birth control pills can also cause spotting, in some cases.

  • Since spotting has numerous potential causes, diagnosing the cause is the first step to treatment.
  • Ultrasound imaging of your uterus and ovaries might find non-cancerous growths called polyps or uterine fibroids, both of which can cause spotting.

Treating Hormonal Problems

Chasteberry Extract for Fibroids

Polycystic ovary syndrome, (PCOS) is a hormonal problem characterized by abnormal androgen, or male hormone, levels. PCOS affects up to 10 percent of all women, according to “Reproductive Medicine: Challenges, Solutions and Breakthroughs.” Taking birth control pills can help correct androgen levels and reduce spotting 4. If you have a thyroid imbalance that’s causing spotting, thyroid medications can help restore normal thyroid function and reduce spotting between periods. Diabetes mellitus can also cause irregular menstrual periods and spotting; diet or medications might be required to reduce spotting.

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome, (PCOS) is a hormonal problem characterized by abnormal androgen, or male hormone, levels.
  • Taking birth control pills can help correct androgen levels and reduce spotting 4.

Spotting and Uterine Abnormalities

Polyps, fibroids and endometriosis, the growth of uterine tissue outside the uterus, can not only cause spotting between periods but can also impact fertility. During hysteroscopy, examination of the inside of the uterus with a lighted scope, your doctor can also remove small fibroids and polyps, small fleshy growths that can cause spotting. Surgical removal is the most effective way to remove growths such as endometriosis and larger fibroids, although they may recur.

Spotting from Contraceptive Methods

How to Get Rid of IUD Odor

While birth control pills can help prevent spotting in the case of some hormone imbalances, in some cases they can also cause spotting. Birth control pills contain different combinations and dosages of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. If you have spotting on one type of pill after 3 months of use, changing to a higher-dose pill might decrease or eliminate spotting. According to Bayer Health care, manufacturers of the IUD Mirena, up to 23.4 percent of women experience spotting after IUD insertion, especially during the first 3 to 6 months of use 5. If spotting persists, IUD removal may help.

  • While birth control pills can help prevent spotting in the case of some hormone imbalances, in some cases they can also cause spotting.
  • If you have spotting on one type of pill after 3 months of use, changing to a higher-dose pill might decrease or eliminate spotting.

When to See Your Doctor

Always check with your doctor if you have spotting between periods. Heavy bleeding between periods could cause low iron stores or anemia. In rare cases, spotting could indicate a potentially serious medical condition such as uterine cancer or a complication with an unrecognized pregnancy.

Before digging deep about spotting while on birth control pills and as well about the pregnancy, let’s understand about each individually. So, to begin with, what are birth control pills? Birth control pills or ‘The Pill’ is the medicine or a pill used to prevent or control pregnancy. Now, what is spotting? Spotting is a concern of irregular bleeding happening after using the birth control pills for 1 or 2 months. Now with that basic understanding, let’s move on to a detailed understanding about everything now.

Can Birth Control Pills Cause Spotting

Usually, regular periods are what is expected for everyone, but unlike the expectations, in reality many women face irregular menstrual cycles and also irregular bleeding. However, doctors at times prescribe birth control pills for women in different cases like to regularize periods, for controlling birth, etc.

There are many causes for spotting that include but may not be limited to;

  • Hormone imbalance
  • Pregnancy
  • Hormone and menopause replacement therapy
  • Thyroid problem
  • PCOS
  • Birth control pills, etc.

Now, to be more specific, birth control pills not only prevent pregnancy but also have a lot more to do. Breakthrough bleeding while on birth control pills is more commonly noticed with mini-pill, the progestin-only.

What Causes Spotting While On Birth Control Pills?

Spotting or breakthrough bleeding can happen in between periods for many women and can be due to various reasons. However, if spotting is occurring occasionally then there is no need to worry about but it is equally important to make a note of how frequently spotting is observed and how heavy is that happening.

The causes that are associated with sporadic spotting include but not limited to;

  • Use of birth control pills
  • Missing to take the pill
  • vomiting or diarrhea
  • Pregnancy cases, as the pill is not completely effective in stopping pregnancy.
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Infection or some other illness conditions
  • Cervical cancer
  • Smoking is also noticed as one of the causes of spotting. Smokers are more often observed with spotting problems compared to the non-smokers.

Types Of Birth Controls That Cause Spotting or Bleeding

There are a lot of types of birth controls available to meet the bodily and lifestyle needs of every individual. There are around 19 to numbers varying from hormonal to non-hormonal and one time use to long-lasting use. They are birth control implant, IUD, Birth control shot, Birth control vaginal ring, birth control patch, birth control pill, condom, internal condom, diaphragm, birth control sponge, cervical cap, spermicide, fertility awareness, withdrawal(pull out method), breastfeeding as birth control, outercourse and abstinence, sterilization, vasectomy, etc.

Birth control methods with hormones cause breakthrough bleeding or spotting. Some of those types of birth control that cause spotting are;

  • Birth Control pills
  • IUD
  • Birth Control Patches
  • Depo-Provera
  • Vaginal rings.

However, this spotting may not be seen in everyone using the above methods.

When Is Spotting A Cause Of Concern?

If spotting is noted and is observed as happening over several months, then it is of concern. With that said, if you notice spotting happening at the consistent frequency for quite some several months or for any given reason if you’re really worried about it then you better make a note of it to track the bleeding or your menstrual cycle.

Cramps and bleeding while on birth control pills is seen in many to most cases. Spotting between your periods usually happens because of various reasons. At times, spotting can be treated or dealt with easily. However, you should be concerned about it especially when spotting is happening frequently, spotting is accompanied by pain, spotting is overly happening, etc.

How To Prevent Spotting While On Birth Control Pills?

Breakthrough bleeding or Spotting is a common issue in many who are running on the pills, mainly in the initial days of using the pill. However, there are few ways to prevent or at least control spotting while on birth control pills like,

  • Make it a habit of taking the pill at the very same time daily.
  • Be regular in using the pills and don’t stop taking pills even when you observe spotting.
  • Keep an eye on other medications in case you’re using any.

When To See A Doctor

There are many cases where some women have been using the control pills for many decades and experience no concerns in any way while some other women face annoying side effects. This itself explains that not every woman has the same bodily condition and response to medications and thus at times turns out to be hard to understand when is spotting abnormal. So, here are a few suggestions or points to keep in mind about when it is needed to consult a doctor.

Take appointment with your doctor, if;

  • The bleeding lasts for around 7 days or more in a row
  • You’re severely bleeding
  • You sense any pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis
  • You’re pregnant
  • You feel feverish
  • You have severe headache
  • You experience chest, leg, groin or calf pain
  • Your arms or legs are paining or feeling weak or numb
  • There is shortness of breath suddenly
  • Your words are slurred

Your doctor can prescribe for a treatment or suggest a change in the birth control method that you’re following.

Bleeding while on birth control pills between periods is pre-informed by many doctors and need not be worried if in limits and goes off in a short span. Take an immediate consultation if you notice the severe health conditions like breathing difficulty, chest pain etc. Spotting while on birth control pills can be prevented by following the suggestions and maintaining a healthy and hygiene lifestyle.

Sudheendra is a passionate blogger for 8 years and holds a Degree in Journalism & Mass Communications. His writings particularly focus on health, medicine, diet & lifestyle. For him, everything that interlinks and relates to health & medical world entices him. His write-ups aim at educating people not by just giving facts but by infusing human touch.

Birth control pills are an effective, safe, and low-cost option for preventing pregnancy. As with any medication, you may experience some side effects while taking the pill.

Here’s more about why you may spot while on the pill and how to treat this side effect.

There are two main types of birth control pills. The first combines man-made versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone. These are called ethinyl estradiol and progestin.

The second type of birth control pill is a progestin-only pill. It’s also called “the minipill.” Your doctor can help you decide which pill is right for you.

The combination pill works by suppressing your pituitary gland so that the release of an egg from your ovaries, or ovulation, doesn’t occur.

This pill also thickens your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching any available eggs. The lining of your uterus is also altered to prevent implantation.

The minipill also alters cervical mucus and the uterine lining. The hormones can also suppress ovulation, but this is less reliable.

With perfect use, birth control pills are up to 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Perfect use means that you take the pill every day at the same time. It doesn’t account for any late, missed, or skipped doses of the medication.

With typical use, which allows for some error, the pill is about 91 percent effective. For the best results, you should aim to take your birth control pills at the same time every day.

It’s important to remember that birth control pills don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you should always use condoms. You should also keep up with annual well woman visits for screenings.

The pill is a popular birth control option partly because of it’s limited side effects. Even if you do experience side effects after starting the pill, these symptoms are usually temporary.

Spotting is one such symptom. Irregular bleeding or spotting is common in the first three to four months after you start taking the pill. This should subside once your body adjusts to the medication. You may experience spotting later on if you’ve missed or skipped a dose.

If this bleeding becomes heavy, don’t stop taking your medication. Continue taking your pill as prescribed and contact your doctor.

Other side effects may include:

  • irregular bleeding
  • spotting
  • nausea
  • headaches
  • mood changes
  • tender breasts
  • weight gain or loss

Many women find that their body adjusts to the pill after a few months and symptoms subside.

Many people experience some irregular bleeding, or spotting, when they first start taking birth control pills. Doctors also refer to it as breakthrough bleeding.

Spotting will often subside with the continued and regular use of birth control pills. Anyone who is still experiencing spotting after 6 months of taking the pill should speak to a doctor.

The doctor may recommend a different type of pill or investigate other possible causes of the bleeding.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Share on Pinterest Spotting is a common experience for women using birth control pills.

Spotting often occurs in the first 6 months of taking a new birth control pill. It may take time for the pills to regulate the menstrual cycle as the body needs to adjust to the new hormone levels. As a result, a person may still experience some irregular bleeding between periods initially.

Doctors do not fully understand why spotting occurs at this time. One possible reason is that an increase in progestin leads to changes in the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium.

Progestin may thin the endometrial lining, which can cause some bleeding initially. A thinner lining helps prevent pregnancy as a fertilized egg cannot implant as effectively.

Other potential causes of spotting while on the pill include:

  • Forgetting to take a pill for a day or more.
  • Vomiting or diarrhea. The body may not have had time to absorb the hormones in the pill before losing it.
  • Infection. Yeast infections or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) can lead to irritation and inflammation of the uterus or cervix.
  • Taking a new medication. Some drugs interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills, including the antibiotic rifampin. People with a new prescription should check with their doctor whether the medication could affect their birth control pills.
  • Pregnancy. The pill is not 100 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Therefore, it is possible that a woman could experience implantation bleeding or spotting as a result of the implantation of a fertilized egg in the uterus.

If a person has taken birth control pills for more than 6 months and still experiences spotting, it may indicate another underlying condition.

Some underlying conditions that can cause spotting include:

  • STIs, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
  • endometriosis
  • uterine fibroids

However, most of the time, spotting occurs because the levels of hormones in birth control pills are not high enough to prevent occasional bleeding. The body may require more estrogen, which thickens the uterine lining and may reduce the likelihood of bleeding and spotting.

Alternatively, the body may not respond as effectively to the synthetic progestin in the pills, allowing spotting to occur.

Neither of these issues is cause for concern, but both could indicate that the individual should try another pill type.

People should adopt habits that can maximize a pill’s effectiveness and help prevent spotting. These include:

  • Taking the pill at the same time every day, which can help maintain consistent hormone levels in the body.
  • Continuing to take birth control pills regularly, even if there is some spotting. If a person has been taking the pill for less than 6 months, this may not be long enough for the body to adjust to it fully.
  • Checking any other medications to ensure that they do not interfere with the effectiveness of the birth control pill.

If it has been longer than 6 months and spotting still occurs, switching to a different type of pill may help.

Spotting may be light enough that a person does not have to wear a pad or tampon. However, some people may wish to wear a thin panty liner to avoid staining clothing. A light or regular tampon can also help.

While some people take birth control pills for decades without any problems, others experience troublesome side effects. A person should call the doctor if any of the following occur:

  • spotting for more than 7 days after having taken the pill for longer than 6 months
  • heavy bleeding, such as soaking a pad or tampon hourly for more than 2 hours
  • symptoms that could be due to a blood clot, such as chest pain, dizziness, difficulty seeing, or severe leg pain

If a person is still spotting after taking the pill for 6 months, the doctor may wish to change the prescription. Several different types and brands of birth control pill are available.

The doctor may prescribe a pill with a higher estrogen dose or one with a different progestin formulation.

People should also look for possible signs and symptoms of an infection. In addition to spotting, these can include:

  • unusual discharge
  • fever
  • pelvic pain or discomfort

If a person has an infection, they are likely to require treatment, such as antibiotics.

Nicole Galan, RN, is a registered nurse and the author of “The Everything Fertility Book.”

Anita Sadaty, MD, is board-certified in obstetrics-gynecology. She is a clinical assistant professor at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine and founder of Redefining Health Medical.

Spotting between menstrual periods, also known as breakthrough bleeding, can occur under a number of circumstances. When it happens only occasionally, there usually is not reason to be concerned. That said, it’s important to keep track of when spotting happens and how heavy the bleeding is if it begins to occur frequently.

The most common cause of spotting is associated with being on birth control pills, particularly during the first few months of taking them or if a dose is missed.   Certain medical conditions can also make breakthrough bleeding more likely.

When spotting occurs during pregnancy, is accompanied by severe pain, or involves a large amount of blood, it is important that you discuss these issues and concerns with your doctor.

Symptoms

Breakthrough bleeding is any amount of vaginal bleeding that occurs between periods.   Some women see a tinge of blood once or twice during this time, while others may have bleeding for a day or longer.

Sometimes women have accompanying lower abdominal cramps (similar to menstrual cramps) a few days before or during the days when breakthrough bleeding is happening.

If you have breakthrough bleeding while taking birth control pills as prescribed, you may experience it one or two weeks before your period, and it should follow a consistent pattern. Typically, breakthrough bleeding recurs for no longer than a few months after starting a new oral contraceptive, and then it stops.  

Women also can have a persistent and/or irregular bleeding pattern when repeatedly skipping doses of their oral contraceptives.

Causes

Birth control pills prevent pregnancy because they contain estrogen and progesterone (some contain only progesterone). These hormones inhibit ovulation, change cervical mucus, and make the endometrium inhospitable.  

Adjusting to Oral Contraceptives

As your cycle is adjusting to an oral contraceptive, the changing hormone levels alter the endometrial lining in the uterus. This can cause the timing of your period to change and/or cause breakthrough bleeding.  

Skipping Doses

If you skip a dose or more of your birth control pill, your body may detect and respond to the fluctuating hormone levels. This can cause breakthrough bleeding due to premature shedding of some of your uterine lining before your period is due to occur.

Medical Conditions

Beyond the prevention of conception, birth control pills are prescribed to treat a wide variety of health conditions. Doing so may cause spotting and abnormal bleeding for different reasons. Among them:  

  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): This hormonal disorder produces small cysts in the ovaries and progesterone levels are invariably diminished. By taking a birth control pill, the sudden intake of progesterone can promote the shedding of the uterine lining and, with it, side effects like spotting and bleeding.  
  • Endometriosis: Uterine tissue grows outside of the uterus in endometriosis. Birth control pills mask the symptoms by suppressing ovulation and keeping the body in a steady hormonal state. Spotting and light bleeding are common in up to 50% of women during the first three to nine months of use until hormonal levels are stable.  
  • Uterine fibroids: These non-cancerous growths tend to develop during the child-bearing years. While birth control pills can reduce heavy vaginal bleeding, they don’t always change the size of fibroids and may even increase them, leading to occasional spotting and light bleeding.  
  • Perimenopause: Also known as the menopause transition, can precede menopause by several years. If you are in perimenopause, you may be predisposed to spotting and can experience breakthrough bleeding when taking birth control pills.  

Though birth control pills can help reduce abnormal vaginal bleeding in certain health conditions, the pills themselves can cause spotting even if you take them as directed.

When to See a Doctor

Talk to your doctor if you experience spotting during the first few months of taking a birth control pill. You may need to use another method of birth control, such as a condom, to prevent pregnancy as your body adjusts to your new cycle.

If you have missed a few pills or have been inconsistent in when and how you’ve been taking your pill, you may want to use a backup method of birth control until you start to consistently take your pills and resume a regular cycle again. In general, birth control pills are effective for preventing pregnancy, but missing doses diminishes their effectiveness.  

If you experience breakthrough bleeding while taking birth control pills, continue taking them as prescribed. If you have missed pills, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice on how to proceed safely. Your instructions will vary depending on the type of birth control pill you are taking, how many pills you missed, and what point you are in your cycle.

Persistent Bleeding

You may have persistent bleeding while using birth control pills. This can occur when the hormones are not at the right dose for you, when you have a medical issue, or if you aren’t able to take your pill every day.  

If you continue to experience spotting even after a few months of consistently using birth control pills, your doctor might prescribe you a different type of birth control pill to see if it can regulate your bleeding.  

There are other options for women who can’t take a pill every day due to a busy schedule, frequent travel, or any other reason. You might be a candidate for injectable hormones, which are scheduled at less frequent intervals than oral contraceptives.

Persistent or heavy vaginal bleeding should always be investigated by a physician.

It is important to consider whether the bleeding has anything to do with your birth control pills. Bleeding, particularly persistent bleeding may be a sign of a serious health concern, including PCOS, thyroid disorders, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), or cancer.

A Word From Verywell

Spotting is not usually problematic, but it can happen for a number of reasons, including perimenopause or health issues like PCOS. If you experience spotting while taking birth control pills, be sure to talk to your doctor.

You may need a change in your prescription to ensure that you are getting the intended effects of your birth control pills—whether it is the prevention of pregnancy or management of a medical condition.

Spotting or bleeding between periods can happen for many reasons. In most cases, those reasons are benign. But dealing with breakthrough bleeding is unpleasant and disruptive, and it’s important to speak to a doctor if this is happening, even though in most cases, breakthrough bleeding isn’t a major cause for concern. Starting a new form of contraceptive is a common reason for spotting between periods. But why does this happen, and when should a woman consider switching birth control if this is an issue for her? The following article will explore why breakthrough bleeding on birth control happens, and what to do about it.

Many women can use birth control to stabilize their hormones and regulate their periods. Pandia Health can help deliver your birth control to your mailbox or if you’re in CA/FL/TX our expert doctors can write you a prescription that best fits your needs. Sign up today! If you’re curious about how Pandia Health works, learn more about our services here.

Why do contraceptives cause spotting?

Breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods while on a new form of birth control happens to a lot of women. Breakthrough bleeding is most likely to occur within the first couple of months after starting the pill, or if a woman is late when taking the pill. Birth control pills need to be taken as close to the same time every day as possible; otherwise, spotting can occur. Skipping a dose, or being incredibly late on a dose can also cause ovulation. It’s crucial that women on the pill take it at roughly the same time every day without fail to prevent these issues.

Still, a woman can take the pill at the same time every day and still get breakthrough bleeding. Birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormones. These hormones stop ovulation from occurring. Also, they change the consistency of cervical mucus, and also make the endometrial or uterine lining hostile to implantation. Thinning the uterine lining to prevent implantation and also changing around estrogen levels can induce breakthrough bleeding.

After starting birth control pills, it takes a while for the body to get used to the new hormone levels, which is why breakthrough bleeding is most likely to occur in the first couple of months after starting the pill. Also, missing doses or changing the times a woman takes the dose can make hormones go a bit haywire and induce breakthrough bleeding. After a few months of consistent use of the pill, breakthrough bleeding should stop. But if it doesn’t, it’s best to speak to a doctor about it. Switching to a different form of birth control can stop breakthrough bleeding. Also, persistent breakthrough bleeding can be a sign of something else.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

What types of birth control are most likely to cause spotting?

Birth control comes in many different forms, including hormonal methods, barrier methods, natural contraceptives, intrauterine devices, and emergency contraceptives. Any birth control methods that contain hormones are the most likely to cause breakthrough bleeding.

  • Monthly packs of hormonal birth control pills.
  • Birth control pills that contain Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel, that prolong the time between menstruation.
  • Both hormonal and copper IUDs within the first three months after implantation.
  • Birth control patches
  • Depo-provera
  • Vaginal rings

Although all of these birth control methods can cause breakthrough bleeding, not every woman will experience spotting with each one. What works for one woman may not work for another one. For women who are experiencing disruptive and distressing breakthrough bleeding from birth control, their doctor can switch them to a different product. Some women may need to experiment with a few different forms of birth control before finding one that works for her.

When is breakthrough bleeding a cause for concern?

If birth control isn’t the reason for breakthrough bleeding, several other things could be causing spotting between periods. Not all of these reasons are cause for concern, but it is important to see a doctor regardless.

Adolescent girls are more likely to experience breakthrough bleeding soon after starting their periods. It can take several years of menstruation for the body to establish a cycle and balance hormones. Also, menopausal women are likely to experience breakthrough bleeding and irregular periods as they exit their reproductive years.

Some STIs can cause abnormal bleeding and spotting between periods. Chlamydia and gonorrhea can infect the cervix and cause bleeding and inflammation. Other signs of a sexually transmitted infection include pelvic pain, pain during sex, cloudy urine, and heavy periods.

Rarely, bleeding between periods, especially if spotting occurs after sexual intercourse, can be a sign of cervical cancer. It’s critical that women between the ages of 21 and 65 are screened for cervical cancer every 3 to 5 years.

Breakthrough bleeding can occur when a fertilized egg is implanting in the uterine lining. Some women will experience spotting throughout the early stages of pregnancy. Although this can be a sign of an impending miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy, that is not always the case. Pregnant women who experience bleeding should see a doctor.

Uterine fibroids and polyps are benign growths that can cause spotting in between periods, or even after a woman has gone through menopause. Fibroids and polyps that cause bleeding and discomfort can be surgically removed.

Endometriosis, where the endometrium grows outside of the uterus, can cause spotting along with other painful symptoms. Fortunately, there are different types of birth control can that alleviate endometriosis symptoms and prevent abnormal breakthrough bleeding.

In this condition, the uterine lining grows too thick and can cause breakthrough bleeding. Usually, the condition is benign, but it can be a precursor to cancer. Endometrial hyperplasia can be treated with hormone therapy and minor surgery.

Most of the time, breakthrough bleeding isn’t anything to worry about. But if it’s accompanied by pain, happens frequently, or is heavy, it’s important to rule out more serious issues such as STIs or an ectopic pregnancy. If spotting is caused by birth control, there are many different kinds of birth control methods a woman can try that won’t have breakthrough bleeding as a side effect. If you’re looking to switch or start a new form of birth control, Pandia Health offers quick, convenient birth control delivery services that are also affordable for women without health insurance coverage.

Disclaimer:The views expressed in this article intend to inform and induce conversation. They are the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Pandia Health, and are for informational purposes only, even if and to the extent that this article features the advice of physicians and medical practitioners. This article is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice.

Spotting and bleeding when on the birth control shot is a common side effect that is often experienced by users within the first six to twelve months of use. Depo-Provera, the birth control shot, delivers a high dose of progestin so women can prevent pregnancy. Progestin is a synthetic version of the sex hormone progesterone, which naturally occurs in the body. Depo-Provera shots have also been used to treat conditions linked to the reproductive system, including endometriosis.

How does the shot work to prevent pregnancy?

The shot works in multiple ways to help reduce your risk of becoming pregnant. It prevents the release of eggs from your ovaries so that fertilization does not occur. Progestin will also increase the production of mucus on your cervix. This will create a sticky buildup that makes it difficult for sperm to travel to the uterus.

The final way in which the shot prevents pregnancy is by thinning the lining of the tissue on your uterus. This action works as a fail-safe. In the off-chance that you ovulate and a sperm fertilizes it, the egg will have a difficult time implanting on the uterus. With the birth control shot, you will experience a 99% effectiveness rate if taken according to schedule. It is considered one of the most effective birth control methods available and the ideal option for women who have a harder time with a daily medication routine.

What kind of bleeding might you experience while on the birth control shot?

Irregular bleeding is one of the most common side effects reported by women when they first use the shot, but it is a symptom that often goes away over time. Women may experience three types of regular bleeding:

  • Breakthrough bleeding: When on the shot, you may have spotting or bleeding in between your regular periods. This usually occurs for as long as six months to the first year after treatment has started, though it will typically cease to occur if shots are obtained on a regular schedule.
  • Heavy periods: For some users, the hormone shot can make periods last longer and create a heavier flow. This is one of the least common types of irregular bleeding experienced with the shot and typically resolves within several months of use.
  • No periods, or lighter less frequent periods: A large percentage of women report having no periods after they have used the birth control shot for at least a year. For those who don’t have a cessation of their period, they are likely to start seeing much lighter periods after 12 months. Both lighter periods and the absence of periods are completely normal and safe.

What causes irregular bleeding with use?

Irregular bleeding and the other symptoms associated with the birth control shot are caused by the high dose of progestin that is delivered in each injection. Since a higher level of hormones has been introduced into your body, your body will need time to acclimate and adjust to these new levels. This is why the side effects are most pronounced in the first six months. By the third or fourth injection, your body is better prepared to accept the larger dose of progestin.

When should irregular bleeding be a cause for concern?

While heavy bleeding may be completely normal, if you seem to be bleeding heavily for more than two weeks, you should contact your healthcare provider. They will help you determine if this issue is problematic or just a normal part of your body’s reaction to the shot. They may also want to check your iron levels to make sure they are still sufficient.

Treatment for heavy bleeding while on the birth control shot

While there is no evidence of regular treatments to stop bleeding while on the shot, your healthcare provider may try a few medications to help lessen the symptoms. NSAID, such as ibuprofen, may be taken for five to seven days and may help the heavier bleeding to stop. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as Mefenamic acid may also be prescribed for short-term use in lieu of ibuprofen. This is not often used as a long-term solution because it can carry risk factors of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke with heavy use.

Another treatment that your healthcare provider may order is supplemental estrogen. This form of treatment is believed to be able to promote coagulation and tissue repair. While this will not reduce the effectiveness of the birth control shot, it can cause estrogen-related side effects.

Some doctors have also prescribed medications that have been approved by the FDA in the past decade. These are typical treatments that are used in the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding, such as Tranexamic acid. This medication sometimes will cause minor side effects such as back pain, headache, stomach cramping, sinusitis, anemia, fatigue, and muscle and joint pain.

Bleeding after birth control shot use

The hormones you receive from the Depo shot will be effective in your body for three months. After this time frame, you still may experience bleeding for several weeks or even months after terminating use. This is normal and will usually completely rectify within six months to a year after use has been discontinued.

Irregular bleeding when on the birth control shot is completely normal. If you are concerned about it, or other side effects, you should discuss with your health provider what you are experiencing. While it can take several months to a year for the side effects of the shot to subside, it is an extremely effective birth control method.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth control pills can sometimes cause abnormal vaginal bleeding or ‘spotting.’ Spotting is bleeding that is lighter than a period, and happens when you’re not expecting your period. The birth control methods that can lead to spotting are usually the ones that contain very little or no estrogen. Estrogen-free, progestin-only methods include progestin-only birth control pills (sometimes called mini-pills or POPs), the birth control shot, the birth control implant, and the hormonal IUD (Mirena).

Estrogen helps to stabilize the lining of the uterus (the endometrium). When there isn’t as much estrogen around, the endometrium can shed a little bit at a time, causing spotting. Spotting is more likely to happen if you have just started using a particular birth control method, while your body is adjusting. Try to ride it out for three months before stopping or switching methods.

Forgetting to take a birth control pill can also cause spotting, and you may also experience irregular bleeding if you have skipped periods by skipping the placebo week in your birth control pack, or are an taking extended cycle birth control pill like Seasonique.

Options for Stopping Spotting

  • Switch methods: If you’re on the pill, you can try a different brand with a higher dose of estrogen.
  • Take estrogen: If you’re on progestin-only birth control, taking low-dose estrogen pills for a few days can help. Talk to a healthcare provider for guidance.

Other Reasons for Spotting

Spotting while on birth control is usually nothing to worry about, but in some cases it can be a sign of a medical condition. Here are three things, aside from birth control that can lead to spotting:

  • Infection: If spotting occurs with other symptoms, like abdominal pain or with changes in vaginal discharge, you should check with your doctor.
  • Pregnancy: If you’re using the implant or hormonal IUD it is unlikely that you are pregnant. If you’re on the pill and missed one, or use the shot and were late for the next shot, you should take a pregnancy test. Pregnancy sometimes causes spotting.
  • Stress: Stress can cause an increase in cortisol, a hormone that interferes with the release of estrogen and progesterone, which can disrupt the menstrual cycle and lead to spotting.

Considering switching birth control methods? The Nurx medical team can help you find the right one for your body. Just request a birth control prescription now.

More posts that might be helpful:

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When you’re on the birth control pill, you usually assume your period will come exactly when scheduled during that window of placebo pills. So when you see some bleeding in the middle of the pack, it can be confusing. There are a number of reasons why you could be spotting on birth control, and although it can be a nuisance to deal with bleeding, it isn’t always necessarily cause for alarm. Although some spotting can indicate a health issue, other times, that breakthrough bleeding could just indicate some fluctuation in your hormones.

“Birth control pills or OCPs are a safe and effective form of contraception,” OB/GYN and reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Cynthia Murdock of RMA of Connecticut, tells Bustle. “But one common and annoying side effect is spotting in between normal menstrual cycles known as breakthrough bleeding. The good news is that in most cases breakthrough bleeding is a result of hormonal shifts and can be treated with time and a little patience.”

Spotting during the first few months of birth control as your body adjusts is perfectly common, but when in doubt, it’s best to see your OB/GYN, who can help you pinpoint the cause of your irregular bleeding. Here are seven reasons that could explain why you’re spotting while on birth control, according to experts.

The most common reason for spotting on birth control, especially if you just started taking the pill, is just your uterine lining adjusting to the new hormones. “Breakthrough bleeding is commonly seen during the first three months starting the pill,” says Dr. Murdock. “In this situation, it is best to just continue and give your body a chance to adjust to the hormones. If bleeding continues after three months, talk to you doctor about making a change.”

Bleeding can also indicate that your hormones are off for another reason, such as a greater health issue. “Hormonal imbalance in conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can also cause spotting if the dose in the pill is too low,” OB/GYN Dr. Adeeti Gupta, tells Bustle. “Sometimes it takes a while for us to get to the right dose to adjust to your hormonal rhythm.”

Bleeding can also be a sign of endometrial polyps, which are tissue growths in the uterine lining. “Polyps in the uterine cavity can lead to unpredictable spotting as well,” says Dr. Gupta. “Sometimes women can have spotting after sex as well, which can indicate a polyp.” In most cases these polyps are not cause for alarm, but in rare cases they may indicate cancer. If you have other symptoms like heavy bleeding, talk to your doctor about it.

Breakthrough bleeding can also indicate fibroids, another type of growth in the uterus, depending on where it is located. “Only if the fibroid is sitting in the uterine cavity then it can cause unpredictable bleeding or spotting,” says Dr. Gupta. “Not all fibroids cause spotting. In fact, birth control pills are the treatment for heavy bleeding from fibroids.” Fibroids are typically noncancerous as well, but if you notice pain in addition to the spotting, speak with your doctor.

Continuous spotting can occur as a result of an infection, such as an STI. “Sometimes cervical infection by chlamydia can also show up as spotting, so please get checked,” says Dr. Gupta. Infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea can cause inflammation in the uterus, which can lead to bleeding.

Sometimes, the reason for spotting is as simple as a missed pill or late pill. “Make sure you are taking your pills daily at the same time,” says Dr. Murdock. When you miss a pill, the uterine lining begins to shed, which could lead to breakthrough bleeding.

There are also certain medications that can interfere with birth control pills. “Make sure you discuss all the medications you are taking, including any vitamins, supplements, or herbs with your doctor,” says Dr. Murdock. Some medications that can mess with the pill include certain antibiotics, anti-HIV drugs, anti-fungal medications, anti-seizure drugs, and some herbal remedies.

Some breakthrough bleeding is common and can happen when on the pill, but see a doctor if you experience spotting that seems abnormal.

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained – and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently – set a reminder if you need to – and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

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Brown discharge caused by birth control is an embarrassing medical problem that many women deal with monthly. It is important to remember that brown discharge is not always a sign of infection or a serious medical problem. According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, brown discharge is usually old blood that is often a sign that you are ovulating, or a breakthrough of blood before the start of a menstrual period 1. If you are a woman who has experienced brown discharge before or during your monthly cycle, there are steps that you can take to stop the unwanted discharge.

Take all birth control medication as prescribed. Do not skip pills or take more pills than prescribed in an attempt to alter your monthly cycle. Failure to take birth control pills as prescribed can change the hormone levels in the body which can affect your monthly cycle.

How to Take Hydrochlorothiazide

Only take birth control that has been prescribed to you by a physician that you have seen personally. Birth control dosages are prescribed based on the level of hormones needed to regulate the menstrual cycle of an individual patient. Taking birth control pills that have not been prescribed for you could cause poor control of your monthly cycle.

Discuss increasing the strength of your birth control or switching birth control brands. In some situations, taking birth control that is not strong enough to regulate a woman’s period could cause brown discharge and irregular periods. If taking a stronger dose of your current birth control pill does not prevent brown discharge, discuss switching birth control medication. In many cases changing birth control medication will stop brown discharge from occurring.

Warnings

If brown discharge occurs instead of a regular menstrual period after having unprotected sex, consult your doctor about taking a pregnancy test.

Consult a doctor if discharge is accompanied by itching, burning, or a foul odor.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained — and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently — set a reminder if you need to — and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained – and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently – set a reminder if you need to – and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained — and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently — set a reminder if you need to — and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nina Brewster

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Whatever your reasons are for starting a new birth control method, it can be a seriously confusing time. Not only are you dealing with a completely new dose of hormones in your body, but you’re also faced with a whole crop of side effects you may or may not have seen coming — including changes in your skin.

There are two main types of hormonal contraceptives, and they have totally opposite effects. “Combination contraceptives” tend to make your face more dry, while “Progesterone-Only Contraceptives” make it more oily. Whatever birth control method you decide is right for you (and there are so, so many options out there), there are certain things you can do to make sure your skin is properly taken care of. Here are some small things you can do to cater your skincare routine to your birth control, whether it’s making your face feel dry, greasy, or somewhere in between.

How To Treat Your Skin On Combination Contraceptives (Or When It’s Feeling Extra Dry)

Combination Contraceptives are the most commonly prescribed type of birth control, and include most pills, the patch, the ring, and the implant. They contain estrogen and progesterone, which help balance the levels of testosterone in your body and decrease the production of an acne-causing oil called sebum. According to Dr. Ellen Marmur, founder of Marmur Medical, sebum is “like a delicious smoothie for bacteria,” which means… pimples. The combination pills get rid of the sebum, which can help curb hormonal acne. When you hear about someone going on birth control to help with pre-existing acne, they’re probably going on a combination method. Since the hormones in this method are basically getting rid of the oil in your skin, they can potentially really, really dry out your face, so there are a few steps you can take to make sure you’re getting the care and hydration you need.

Stick With Your Topical Treatments

While combination contraceptives can work miracles on your skin, they’re not a solo solution. Just because you’re on a seemingly magical acne pill it doesn’t mean you can skip out on your skincare routine. Your best bet is to stick with whatever topical solutions you may have already been using to treat your acne, like spot treatments, benzoyl peroxide, and salicylic acid.

Moisturize, Moisturize, Moisturize!

Because your skin is producing less oil on the pill than it would on its own, its important to keep it extra-hydrated. Opt for an oil-free moisturizer, like this one from Kiehl’s, which will hydrate your skin without adding any excess grease.

Consider Antibiotics

With any birth control method, the first three months are an adjustment period, so if you break out like crazy at the beginning Don’t. Freak. Out. It’s totally normal! It can definitely be scary, though, especially if you started the pill to fight acne you already had. “If you start your birth control and then immediately get a rebound reaction, like you’re totally breaking out, you might actually want to ask for antibiotics for a month,” says Dr. Marmur. This will help calm the madness that’s happening on the surface of your skin before it figures out how to subside on its own. Just remember that antibiotics make birth control pills less effective, so if you’re sexually active remember to use an additional contraceptive method (like a condom).

How To Treat Your Skin On Progesterone-Only Contraceptives (Or When It’s Feeling Extra Oily)

The alternative to combination contraceptives are Progesterone-Only Contraceptives, like the Mirena IUD, the mini-pill, and the Depo-Provera shot. These methods have only progesterone in them (so, no estrogen) and actually tend to make your skin more oily instead of drying it out. “Progesterone-only birth control methods can cause acne to flare by increasing oil production,” says dermatologist Dr. Mara Weinstein. Chances are, you wouldn’t take this type of birth control if you already had hormonal acne, but you may opt for a progesterone-only method for other reasons, like if you have really heavy periods or any sensitivities to estrogen. “It is unlikely I would prescribe a progesterone only birth control pill if acne was a concern as a side effect,” says Dr. Sheryl Ross, OBGYN and women’s health expert. “Progesterone only birth control pills are more likely to have acne as a side effect.” To combat the extra oil, try adding these few steps to your skincare routine.

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained – and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently – set a reminder if you need to – and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

Most of the time, using contraception correctly should prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills, for example, are between 95 percent and 99 percent effective. But if you are not careful, it is still possible to get pregnant while using hormonal contraceptives or other forms of birth control.

If You Don’t Want to Get Pregnant

Keep in mind that the effectiveness of all birth control methods will vary from person to person and that some types of birth control have higher rates of effectiveness than others 1. Be sure to talk with your doctor about the contraceptive choice that will best meet your needs, whether that’s birth control pills, patches or a barrier method.

Take the pill around the same time every day (if you are using the pill). Forgetting a single day is not likely to result in pregnancy, but if you make a habit of forgetting your pills, you are more likely to get pregnant on birth control. Use backup contraception if you have forgotten to take your pill to prevent pregnancy.

Be sure to follow the schedule recommended by the manufacturer if you are using a patch, Depo Provera injections, or any other form of hormonal contraception. Not changing your patches or other devices or not getting your injections on schedule could mean you don’t get the correct dose of hormones and this may increase the risk of pregnancy.

Avoid medications that interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal birth control 1. Certain herbs, such as St. John’s Wort, or pharmaceutical drugs in various categories can render hormonal birth control less effective. Your doctor or pharmacist should be able to give you more information about this. If you have been prescribed a medication that decreases the effectiveness of hormonal birth control, use a backup method of contraception or ask to be switched to another drug 1.

Don’t smoke. Smoking can interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal birth control 1.

If you are using a barrier method, use it every time you have intercourse. Having unprotected sex, even just once, could result in a pregnancy.

If You Do Want to Get Pregnant

Stop taking your birth control pills or birth control patches, if you are using them. If you are taking the birth control for a medical reason other than contraception, talk to your doctor about alternative ways to address the medical issue. Your fertility should return to normal within a few months after discontinuing the birth control pills.

Stop getting the injections if you have been using Depo Provera and wait for your first normal menstrual period as a sign that your fertility has returned. This may take three months or longer.

Schedule an appointment with your physician to remove your IUD, Norplant or other form of implanted birth control, if that’s what you’re using. After using implanted hormonal birth control, it may take a few weeks or months before your fertility returns.

Be intimate with your partner just prior to and during ovulation once you have discontinued your birth control and your cycle has resumed. Women who have a 28-day cycle usually ovulate on day 14. You can use an ovulation predictor kit to determine when you are ovulating if you are unsure.

Have patience. You might get pregnant right away after stopping your birth control, or it might take a while. If you have not become pregnant within a year, talk to your physician about testing for infertility. In general, using birth control should not impair your long-term fertility.

Some people might get pregnant after missing a single birth control pill, whereas others might be able to miss several pills in a month and still not get pregnant. When in doubt, use backup contraception if you do not want to get pregnant.

Warnings

Failure to use birth control properly can result in pregnancy.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained — and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently — set a reminder if you need to — and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nina Brewster

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodelling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained — and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently — set a reminder if you need to — and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Birth-control pills offer a number of benefits beyond contraception. The pill can help improve acne, regulate your cycle, and ease heavy, painful periods, Staci Tanouye, MD, FACOG, an ob-gyn in Florida, told POPSUGAR. But during the first few months of starting birth control, you might experience side effects, the most common being spotting. While this isn’t an immediate cause for concern, keep reading to learn why spotting occurs and what you can do to alleviate it.

Why Does Birth Control Cause Spotting?

Dr. Tanouye explained that spotting may occur when you first go on an oral contraceptive pill (OCP) because the pill alters the endometrium, or the inner layer of the uterus. “The endometrium is used to getting thicker throughout the cycle, but OCPs thin out the endometrium and eventually, it will maintain this thinness,” she said.

To get to that point, the endometrium goes through structural changes like the remodeling of its vasculature, glands, and tissues. Dr. Tanouye noted that these changes can contribute to an increase in sensitivity and cause areas of the uterus to be more prone to bleeding (this is called breakthrough bleeding). You might also experience bleeding if you’re not taking the pill consistently.

Should I Be Worried If I’m Spotting?

As the endometrium stabilizes with continued use of the pill, spotting will usually improve. Irregular bleeding is typically a harmless side effect of the pill, Dr. Tanouye explained — and it doesn’t mean the pill is any less effective, assuming you’re taking it consistently.

While breakthrough bleeding can usually be watched for three to six months to see if it resolves on its own, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor. Your ob-gyn may evaluate things further if the bleeding is heavier or it’s accompanied by other symptoms like significant pain and discharge. “We always have to be reasonably sure there isn’t something else going on such as pregnancy, infections, or structural abnormalities such as uterine fibroids, or in more advanced cases, cervical and endometrial cancers,” Dr. Tanouye said.

Likewise, if you’ve been taking the pill consistently for a longer period of time and you’re suddenly experiencing breakthrough bleeding, make an appointment with your doctor.

How Can I Prevent Spotting?

While spotting can’t necessarily be prevented, you can decrease your risk by taking the pill consistently — set a reminder if you need to — and not smoking. Dr. Tanouye explained that certain low-dose pills or types of progestin can have higher incidences of breakthrough bleeding, so if the spotting becomes bothersome, discuss your options with a doctor.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Nina Brewster

Brown spotting caused by birth control pills is an embarrassing medical problem that many women deal with monthly. Before you start birth control pills, you need to know all about it which will help you to prevent side effects including brown spotting. Actually brown spotting and birth control pills can be somehow connected.

Market is full of different types of birth control pills – they all have different combinations of estrogen and progestin. The concentration and the strength of the estrogen, the type of progestin and the doses of hormones all play a role in determining which side effects a particular birth control pill is likely (or unlikely) to cause. This means brown spotting could appear in different women who are more sensitive to specific types of pills.

Birth control pills are the most popular and effective contraception and there are already many well known side effects of the pills (short-term and long-term). Brown vaginal spotting can be one of side effects of birth control pills. Brown spotting caused by birth control is an unpleasant and embarrassing problem that many women deal with monthly – in these cases brown spotting could be just a signal of some hormonal changes developed by birth control pills. In most cases brown spotting is usually old blood.

Brown spotting and Birth Control Pills – how it happen

Birth control pills are preventing pregnancy through few mechanisms which are based on hormonal changes in women body. This is how birth control pills insure contraceptive effect:

  • By blocking ovulation through reducing levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone);
  • By altering mucus in the cervix through reducing levels of female hormones – this makes it hard for sperm to travel further up to Fallopian tubes;
  • By changing the internal lining of the uterus – so that it cannot support a fertilized egg;By altering the Fallopian tubes – so that they cannot effectively move eggs toward the uterus.

While birth control pills are insuring all above actions, they are changing the normal biological hormonal balance of the menstrual cycle through decreasing levels of FSH and LH. Low levels of both hormones (FSH and LH) are responsible for decreased concentrations of estrogens and progesterone – both responsible for endometrial normal development. As a result the lining of the uterus is becoming so thin that it sometimes sloughs off a little bit and appearing as unpleasant unexpected brown spotting.

Why pills’ users suffer from brown spotting? What are causes for brown spotting during birth control pills? Is brown spotting should be considered as the signal for changing pills? Are missed pills and brown spotting correlated?

Brown spotting and Birth Control Pills – missed pills

How to Prevent Spotting on Birth Control

Brown spotting and Birth Control Pills

Other reason for brown spotting during birth control pills could be missed pills. It is well known that birth control pills can insure contraceptive effect (98-99%) only if pills are used correctly – regularly, every day at the same time. As it was mentioned above, birth control pills already change your biological normal hormone productions and interaction. If you missed one or two or more pills, hormonal disturbances becoming “not controlled”, endometrium is “panicking” and responding with brown discharge or brown spotting. Actually missed pills are disturbing the whole hormonal mechanisms and “upsetting” the endometrium.

Brown spotting and Birth Control Pills – Important to know

  • Birth control pills should be used according to instructions;
  • Birth control pills should be taken in order mentioned on package;
  • Birth control pills should be taken every day at the approximately same time;
  • Missed pills should be immediately compensated and the following pull should be taken in time;
  • Failure to take birth control pills as prescribed can change the hormone levels in the body which can affect your monthly cycle and trigger brown spotting;
  • Birth control dosages are prescribed based on the level of hormones needed to regulate the menstrual cycle of an individual patient;
  • Taking birth control pills that have not been prescribed for you could cause poor control of your menstrual cycle.

Brown spotting and Birth Control Pills – solutions

  • Choose the best birth control pills for your body – without any side effects;
  • Check if you missed pills or not;
  • Take all birth control pills as recommended – every day at approximately same time;
  • If you missed one pill, then take the pill when you remember it – this will still provide protection in the cycle;
  • If you missed more than two pills in a single cycle, it means pills are not effective anymore during this cycle and you must use back up contraception;
  • Antibiotics could interfere with pills actions. If you are using antibiotics for any reason, most probably you should increase the dose of pills or use extra protection – better to discuss the problem with your doctor;
  • Discuss increasing the strength of your birth control or switching birth control brands;
  • In some situations, taking birth control that is not strong enough to regulate a woman’s period could cause brown spotting and irregular periods;
  • If taking a stronger dose of your current birth control pill does not prevent brown discharge, consider changing method of contraception (better avoiding hormonal contraception at all);
  • In many cases changing birth control medication will stop brown discharge from occurring;
  • Use enough liquids per day – stay hydrated and cleansed. Drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water each day (along with a glass of cranberry juice at a meal) will help keep your system cleansed and hydrated. Staying completely hydrated and cleansed will often help prevent brown spotting while taking birth control pills.

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