During menstruation, the body secretes the uterine lining previously built up in preparation for a possible pregnancy. If fertilisation does not occur, the period starts and there is more or less heavy menstrual bleeding.
The contraceptive pill interferes with the hormone balance and thus prevents the normal menstrual cycle. Nevertheless, bleeding does occur during the pill break. We will explain why this is so and how you can avoid bleeding despite taking the pill.
The most important facts about periods despite taking the pill at a glance
- Women who take the pill do not have a real period, but what is known as withdrawal bleeding.
- Bleeding during the pill break is caused by the hormone levels dropping.
- By not taking the pill break, bleeding can be prevented if necessary.
- In the first weeks and months of taking the pill, spotting may occur.
- If bleeding continues, it may be necessary to switch to another pill.
- Although their cause is usually harmless, a gynaecological examination is usually advisable in the case of intermittent bleeding despite taking the pill.
Can I get my period despite taking the pill?
If you take the pill, you will not get your period. The bleeding that occurs during the pill break may give you a different impression. In fact, they are not real menstrual bleeding.
When you stop taking the pill, your hormone levels drop. This is your body's signal to reject the lining of the womb. Bleeding occurs. Bleeding during the pill break is also called withdrawal bleeding or cessation bleeding.
How does bleeding differ from normal menstrual bleeding?
Normally, during each menstrual cycle, the body builds up the lining of the uterus in preparation for the fertilised egg to implant.
If fertilisation does not occur, there is no pregnancy. The period begins. The body begins to shed the previously built-up mucous membrane and excretes it with the menstrual blood.
If you take the pill, this prevents the build-up of the uterine lining, among other things. The bleeding during the pill break is therefore usually shorter and weaker than the normal period.
Just as some women have a heavy menstrual bleed while others have a light period, individual differences are possible. How heavy your withdrawal bleeding is during the pill break therefore ultimately depends on your body.
Bleeding in spite of taking the pill
If you have just started taking the pill, spotting is not uncommon. This is called breakthrough bleeding.
They are quite annoying. However, they are not a reason to worry or an indication that the pill is not working. In most cases, the bleeding disappears by itself after a few months at the latest.
If they do not, you may have to change to a pill with a different hormone content. In this case, it is best to talk to your gynaecologist and ask her what she recommends with regard to your pill in order to counteract the annoying bleeding.
Other reasons for bleeding despite the pill
Unexpected bleeding despite taking the pill is not always due to the body having to adjust to hormonal contraception or to switching to a different contraceptive pill.
If you forget to take the pill, this leads to a drop in hormone levels. This can lead to intermittent bleeding outside the normal rhythm.
This is also true if you take certain medicines that interfere with the pill and can also cause bleeding. Remember that in both cases, the pill may not protect you and pregnancy is possible.
Other possible triggers for bleeding despite taking the pill are, for example:
- Benign growths such as polyps or fibroids
- Inflammation of the ovaries or uterus
- Cancer such as cervical cancer
- Small injuries, such as those that occur during sex
- An ectopic pregnancy
- Implantation bleeding, when a fertilised egg implants in the uterus
- Metabolic disorders like diabetes
- Kidney and liver disease
Bleeding in spite of the pill: When to see a doctor?
In most cases, intermittent bleeding despite taking the pill can be attributed to a harmless cause. Nevertheless, a visit to the gynaecologist is usually advisable to clarify the cause and have it treated if necessary.
Will I ovulate despite taking the pill?
The hormones in the pill prevent the eggs from maturing in the ovaries. If you take the pill regularly, you will not normally ovulate.
How can bleeding be prevented despite taking the pill?
If you want to take the pill and stop bleeding at the same time, it is possible. There are now birth control pills that do not have a seven-day break once a month.
Instead, you can take the pill for three months and not have any abortion bleeding during that time. It is usually enough for the female body to shed the lining of the uterus once or twice a year.
Do you find the bleeding that you have been getting every month despite taking the pill annoying and would like to avoid it? Then switching to a pill like this is definitely an alternative that you should discuss with your gynaecologist.
When can I get pregnant after stopping the pill?
If you stop taking the pill, your cycle and ovulation will return to normal. In theory, you can get pregnant again quite quickly after you stop taking the pill.
But if it takes a while for you and your partner to fulfil your desire to have a child, that's not unusual.
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