Why am I bleeding on the pill?

Different types of bleeding can mean different things

The contraceptive pill is a popular method of contraception. When taken correctly, it is up to 99% effective, and many women find it convenient and easy to use. It works by releasing the hormones oestrogen and progesterone into the womb and preventing the ovaries from producing an egg each month.

 

Will I still get my period on the pill?

Your menstrual cycle will depend on which type of pill you are taking. The combined pill is usually taken every day for 21 days, after which you have a 7 day break to allow you to have your period. The progesterone-only, or mini pill as it is often called, is taken every day without a break. With this pill, your periods may be more irregular and can sometimes stop altogether.

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Why am I bleeding in between my periods on the pill?

When you first start taking the pill it’s common to experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding. Breakthrough bleeding is where you experience either random patches of bleeding or continuous bleeding through to your next period. If this happens it is completely normal and nothing to worry about. While inconvenient, it should clear up in the first 2-3 months. If it doesn’t, then you might want to try switching to a different pill.

 

Can you use the pill to stop your period?

If you are using a combined pill, such as Microgynon, then it is possible to take two packs back to back and skip the seven-day break. This means that you won’t have your period. It’s not recommended to do this regularly, and if you miss two periods or more, this increases the chance of experiencing spotting (i.e. bleeding between your periods.) It’s a useful option if you have an event or holiday coming up where menstruation would be a hindrance.

 

Is bleeding on the pill cause for concern?

While spotting and breakthrough bleeding is common in the first couple of months, if you experience heavy bleeding, pain, or unexplained bleeding during sex, you should report these symptoms to your doctor. These could be a sign of an untreated infection or STI.

 

What if my period stops while I’m taking the pill?

If you are taking the progesterone-only pill correctly and your period stops, this is not a cause concern. While on the combined pill, your period will happen during the seven-day break. If it doesn’t, then see your doctor for advice. One missed period might not be anything to worry about, but if you miss a second period, this could be a sign that you are pregnant.

 

Sources

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/the-pill-progestogen-only

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/combined-contraceptive-pill/

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