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Light bleeding
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bg093 posted:
I am on the Nuva Ring. I got over my period 5 days ago. Yesterday i had some light brown discharge and today i have a little more redish discharge. I have a little bit of abdominal cramping. I am not quite sure what is going on? I have been on the ring for about 2 years.
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Jane Harrison Hohner, RN, RNP responded:
Dear bg: My best GUESS would be that you are experiencing breakthrough bleed or spotting due to the hormones in your NuvaRing. Alas, breakthrough bleeding (BTB) can be a common side effect of most types of hormonal birth control (eg pills/patch/ring/shot/Mirena IUD). More remotely, BTB in a pill user can arise if she has gotten a chlamydia infection. Yet, if you both are monogamous this is not going to apply.

When a woman uses hormonal birth control it can make the lining of the uterus more unstable--so it is easier to have some of it begin to shed. Sometimes the lining is less stable because the hormones make the lining much thinner (actually this is good as a thin lining is a healthy lining). This is the more common reason in longer term users like yourself. Sometimes the lining is unstable because the hormones can make parts of the lining out of synch. This is more likely to occur in the initial months of use.

Abdominal cramping can arise if there is a pelvic infection (eg chlamydia). Again this would be unlikely if you have no risks for a sexually transmitted infection. Cramping can occur if there is spotting or flow---this would be my best GUESS in your case. Finally cramping can come from the bowel as well as GYN conditions.

Bottom line, BTB on hormonal methods of birth control is a nuisance side effect. The protection from pregnancy is still in effect. If your poor cycle control persists or worsens you should return to your GYN or clinic.

Yours,
Jane


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