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Early period on birth control
An_196999 posted:
I have a few questions and I am hoping that I can get some help. I've been on my birth control for over a year now but have noticed some spotting before my period. It's dark brown in color and will stop after my period. Now I am a complete week early then when I usually start my period and haven't even started my "sugar pills". Is this normal?
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear Anon: Spotting before your flow begins is not uncommon. As soon as you take your last active pill the hormone levels begin to drop. Generally it takes about 72 hours for the levels to drop sufficiently to produce a "menstrual-like" flow, but some spotting can begin as the the levels are dropping. The dark brown color simply reflects the scant amount of flow. A slow, scant flow has a longer exposure to oxygen creating the darkened color.

Now, the birth control pill (BCP) period which starts a week early is a different issue. That would be considered BCP breakthrough bleeding--also known as poor cycle control. This is all too common among hormonal birth control users. Fortunately it does not impact your contraceptive protection, but it is a hassle. If you have several months of poor cycle control you can see your GYN or clinic for follow up. Sometimes a switch of BCP brand or formulation can be helpful. If it stays stable (eg bleed always arrives a week early) that would be OK, but if it is moving around all over the pill pack that would be inconvenient.

Lady123 replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
I have a simular problem. My problem is that my period is due in one week and ive recieved bownish discharge a week before my period. Ive missed 2 or 3 pills last week and once i remembered, i took my pill. When i missed my pills i did not bleed at all, when i remembered to take my pill i did not bleed, only after 3 or 4 days of remebering to take my pill, i started to bleed. what could be the problem?
lauralou555 replied to Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP's response:
So with this poor cycle control what would you recommend, continue taking your pills as normal or not take the sugar pills and start a new pack?

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