Jump to content. Top of the page Check Your Symptoms. Many women experience abnormal vaginal bleeding or spotting between periods sometime in their lives.
Your birth control should be like a bodyguard, keeping threats such as unintended pregnancy, heavy bleeding, and painful periods as far from you as possible. But sometimes that very birth control is the cause of vaginal bleeding that happens outside of your period, which can completely take you and your underwear by surprise. The estrogen in combined forms of birth control prevents your ovaries from releasing eggs each month, while the progestin in BC thins out the lining of your uterus and thickens your cervical mucus to make it hard for sperm to swim to and fertilize an egg.
This is particularly common during the first three months of taking a contraceptive pill, during which your body adjusts to the hormones. View Contraceptive Pills. Press for menu. Testosterone Test Kit.
These hormones also affect the uterine lining, and can lead to some spotting in between periods, and they do reduce your menstrual bleeding. How will my birth control affect my bleeding? When should I see my doctor about irregular bleeding associated with birth control?
Birth control pills, patches, implants, injections and rings that contain hormones can cause abnormal vaginal bleeding as a side effect. This can occur:. It is important to check with a health care provider to determine the cause of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
Breakthrough bleeding is any unscheduled bleeding you experience while taking oral contraceptives. Breakthrough bleeding is a common side effect of birth control pills. It may also happen after you switch to a different type of contraceptive or to a pill with a different estrogen dose.
In general, anytime you experience unexpected vaginal bleeding, consult your doctor. Whether or not vaginal bleeding is normal depends on your age and the circumstances. Mayo Clinic does not endorse companies or products. Advertising revenue supports our not-for-profit mission.
Patient Information Handout. Millions of women in the United States use some type of hormonal contraception: combination oral contraceptive pills OCPsprogestin-only pills, medroxyprogesterone acetate injections, or subdermal levonorgestrel implants. Abnormal uterine bleeding is a common but rarely dangerous side effect of hormonal contraception.