Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up


Posting to the communities has been restored. Our technical team is still completing ongoing maintenance, and you may experience some technical problems.Thank you for your continued support and patience, and if you have any further questions, please email

Yours in health,
WebMD Community Management

Includes Expert Content
less bleeding in periods
An_249061 posted:
Hi, I have been on contraceptive pills due to irregular periods for more than a year, I am neither married nor sexually active and i am 26, initially i had heavy and painful bleeding for few months when i started the pills and then it got normal, but for the past few months i bleed for about a week but very less and for 2-3 days its brownish spotting and i clot a lot, and its painful as well, i have weight issues and have been stressed for some time, and this this thing is really bothering me, what can i do? what could be the reasons? i had my ultrasound few months back to check for PCOS but it is fine but i had follicles a little more, but my doctor said it was fine. Kindly help.
Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear An: You are correct, the hormones in the birth control pills (BCPs) suppress follicle growth in the ovaries. So the small multiple follicles typical for PCOS should be fewer in number.

As you likely have read the hormones in the BCPs also prompt lighter flows. Simply stated, if the uterine lining is like grass or lawn, estrogen is like the fertilizer (causes a thickening of the lining ), and progesterone is like the lawnmower (keeps the lining thin by three different mechanisms). This is why DepoProvera (high dose synthetic progesterone) brings about a thin lining, and why birth control pills (relatively progesterone dominant) typically bring about shorter, lighter periods.

In terms of the brownish spotting, when the bleeding is brisk and heavy the blood flows quickly out of the uterus and vagina. When the bleeding is scant and slower it has a much longer time to be exposed to the oxygen in the air. This exposure will turn the blood color brownish.

It is very common for women using BCPs to have a "period" which looks more like dark motor oil sludge than bright red menstrual bleeding. The synthetic progesterone in BCPs creates a thinner lining inside the uterus. This creates a decreased amount of flow. This more scant flow will appear as a dark brown color, and thick consistency.

About the only symptom you have described that I would not anticipate is the continued severe menstrual cramps. Generally as the lining gets thinner the cramps tend to decrease. If you continue to have marked cramping I would urge you to return to your GYN for follow up.

Hope your stress starts lightening up, too!


Helpful Tips

birth control pills and gelatin-like clots
I started taking birth control pills because I had an ovarian cyst that made periods painful. Now when I'm on my periods, I will go to the ... More
Was this Helpful?
34 of 73 found this helpful

Expert Blog

Below the Belt: Women's Health - Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, RNP

From HPV to irregular periods to PMS to fibroids, Jane Harrison-Hohner, RN, is here to share her knowledge and insight...Read More

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.