Is prolonged bleeding normal after starting birth control?

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Q: Is it natural to have prolonged periods after just starting birth control? I started taking the pill when I started my period and it still persists.

A: Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of birth control pills.  It is especially common during the first three months as your body adjusts to the hormones in the medication.  However, other things (like sexually transmitted infections) can cause prolonged bleeding too.  If the bleeding is especially heavy (more than a normal period), persists throughout the whole month or occurs only with intercourse – especially if you’ve stopped using condoms – you should see your women’s health care provider to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

The most common cause of irregular bleeding is missed pills, so make sure you are taking the pill every day, and at the same time every day.

Birth control pills can cause a lot of other side effects, especially bloating, nausea and breast tenderness.  Most side effects resolve after a few months, but the clinicians in our Women’s Services Department usually recommend that you check in with your health care provider after your first 3 months on the pill to make sure everything is going OK.  If you have any questions or concerns about birth control, they’re happy to answer them for you.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

106 thoughts on “Is prolonged bleeding normal after starting birth control?

  1. I know this is a comment box but I’ve got a question! I started taking the pill almost a month ago. First time through a whole pack I haven’t stopped having a normal period since. It’s been a month and 2 packs of pads of bleeding. I’ve had a cervical surgery just recently in the past summer for some white spots at 12 and 5 o’clock on the cervix I also have a 9 cm sold mass in the right axium of my uterus or on the ovary doc doesn’t know exactly where we just know by ultra sound that it is there. What should I do my doctors telling me this is normal??!!

  2. So, i just started Orysthia on my first dleedingay of my period, and continuing to bleed and im not the best with taking the pills so do you think that’s why I keep bleeding? Also how long is it going to take before my body gets used to it, and also will the bleeding stop with the placebo pills?

  3. I took a pill everyday until my prescription ran out. When it Was refilled the doctor gave me a different pill. I’ve taken about half of this new pill when my cycle started, that was 8 days ago. It has bounced between light and heavy for the past 8 days, normally it’s light. Is it the pill that is making my cycle longer? Should I stop taking the new pill?

  4. Hello! I have a question. My girlfriend has been experiencing bleeding irregularly now. I’m not sure if it is because she missed the first 2 pills (missed 2, then took 2 asap then the 3rd one in her scheduled time) last cycle, now she’s still bleeding, we didn’t even know when did her cycle start this month because of the frequent bleeding.

  5. Question here: I started the pill & now it’s made my period last 9 days so far. If I just stop taking the pill & never take it again will my period end & go back to the way it was before the pill?

    • In i want to know that too because i stopped taking the pills i missed aloy and i finished my period last week and I’m why im bleeding again its really heavy , heavier than my normal period

  6. I have the same question as the last commentator Daniel: I just got on the pills for the first time and my period that is usually 5-6 days is on the 8th day so far and show no sign of stopping. I have had unprotected sex around the time of my ovulation but we made sure that he pulled out (stupid idea, I know) then I have went to my doctor and he put me ons the pill and told me a side effect is that my period will be shorter and less painful. Now my period wont stop. And for someone with very light flow, this period is heavy all day long. Could I be miscarrying? Is this a normal side effect? If I stop the pill, would the bleeding stop?

    • Well just so you know you may be pregnant cuz yes he may have pulled out but guys have something called pre ejalculation which is lil bits of cum or whatever you’d like to call it before the actual ejalculation that usually doesnt carry live sperm most of the time its dead or there is none but you still have a risk.

  7. I started nor Qd last month when I started my period it was nor map 3 days and it was over this month it’s been 10 days and non stop I don’t know what to do I’m highly confused/scared pharmacy says its normal to have a heavy period but i don’t think so

  8. I have a question for anyone that might be able to answer or give an opinion!

    I was off my birth control for May & June due to insurance reasons. My BC prescription was renewed and I picked it up on 7/6/2015. Started it with a Saturday start on Saturday, 7/10/2015, even though I was expecting my period (Its been irregular and not on time for the couple of months I was off birth control). Started taking the pills at the same time every day as usual but started my period on the following Tuesday 7/14/15. Usually, my period would have stopped on Friday or Saturday but it has continued without letting up. I thought it was slowing down a bit but then came back full force on Sunday. So its been a total of almost 8 full days. Prior to this I was on birth control for a year with no issues.

    I am curious as to if my body is just going through the regulating process again? Also, if I continue taking it and at the end of this pack I reach the inactive (sugar) pills, do you think I will start another period?

  9. I got on the pill 9 days ago, I started my period the next day at first it was light now it gets Heavier everyday. My periods usually last 3-4 days so you know I’m not feeling the 7 day long period that doesn’t look like it’s going to end anytime soon. If I stop taking the pill will my period stop, any recommendations to something else?

  10. I am 16 and I have been on my period for 12 days. I just started taking birth control to regulate it and I don’t understand why I’m still on my period. It’s light sometimes and heavy sometimes. How long should it be lasting? Help would be greatly appreciated!

  11. I have just started taking the pill (monofeme), I started taking the active pills the first day of my period as directed to do so by my doctor, my period generally lasts 3-4 days, it’s the 4th day of my period today and it doesn’t seem to be getting any lighter (like it normally would be by day 4) or like it will be ending in the next day or so. It is about the same as normal or maybe slightly heavier. Any idea how much longer it will last? Thanks!

  12. I started taking the combined pill (levlen) last Saturday. I was not on my period. I started on an active pill in the red section of the pack which says, start here. A few hours later I started a period bleed. It is now Monday and I am still bleeding. I’ve been bleeding for nine days on the active pills. This is my first time taking any contraception. Is this normal or is it a serious problem?

  13. Thank goodness I was born a boy. I see my wife with all sorts of feminine problems and I thank goodness everyday for my blessing. I also want you women to know that we truly appreciate your struggles and we empathize with you as you go through so much crap with your hormones and bodies in general. I mean giving birth is a prime example of what I’m talking about. We may have the bigger muscles but you have miraclous strength and endurance. So BIG props to all mothers out there. God bless you and us all.

  14. Hi i had my implant taking out and started the pill and was spotting before they took the imant out and hasnt stop bleeding since even when i started the pill its been three weeks is it normal

  15. I started my period Friday Jan1,2016 it’s usually on 3 days once I start my new pack of pills.. Well I had to double up because I missed my Sunday pill. But I’ve been on my period now for a total of 6 days(n with heavy clotting) I’m really worried because this is the first time this has ever happened. I’ve been on (necon) for 11 months.. Please give me a sigh of relief because this is making me so weak.

  16. Hiii
    I have a question i hope someone can help me by replying to my question i got abortion and then after 2 mnths i got my periods on 23 dec to 29 dec then on 8 January i got periods again
    But inbetween 1-8 jan i got contraceptive pill i think may be its due to that pill but still stressed
    Please reply if anyone also face this problem

    • Hi I am with you!i had an abortion on 25 April and spotted on and off till about last week where my blood got heavy so I started my birth control pack on Sunday and now it’s been 8 days and I’m flowing so heavy and clothing I don’t know what to do ? Did you figure anything out ? Do let me know thanks

  17. I recently went back on a birth control pill (after few years off). I’m currently on my second pill pack and I have been bleeding (spotting at first but now breakthrough to heavy) since second week of my first pack. It’s been a lil over a month now. With occasional day or 2 day break the bleeding has never stopped. I’m quite frustrated at this point and I’m not sure what should I do about it. Would switching to a different pill (I’m on yaz which I’ve never used in the pass) help?
    Spoke to my ob/gyn and she said it is normal side effect in the first 3 months. However, I’ve been on a different pill in the past and never experienced any of it so I’m just wondering if yaz is a cause and switching to something else would help. I can’t possibly imagine bleeding for 3 months straight – especially when in a new relationship with a guy. Kinda lost here. Any suggestions? Experiences?

    • Same thing is happening to me. It sucks but if your partner really likes you they should be supportive. It’s totally normal but still frustrating as hell.

    • Im on yaz too. Started my first pill for the first time ever the day I started my period. My period ended and then 2 weeks into my pack I start having light bleeding and spotting for over a week. My dr said the same thing. Ugh I started bc to NOT have periods. I have no idea how long this lasts. In about a week I’m due for my normal period. It’s likr a light period before your period. Greeeeeeaaaat smh

    • Hello girls! Did you find a solution? Please tell me your experience since it’s been some months you’ve passed through it. Im afraid it will never get better in my case. My best, Ana.

  18. I just got on birth control about a week or so well when i was on my period, so my boyfriend an I waited the 7 days to have unprotected sex which we did and he cummed in me and now i am bleeding and getting cramps is that normal?

  19. My ob made me take birth control pills 3 montha ago to regulate or correct my irregular period, extreme cramps & headache. I only finished 1 pack as prescribed and it did its wonders, my period lasts only for 3-4 days from the usual 7-8 and the cramps are tolerable, but I want to continue using bcp to completely stop my period, I bought 2 packs already (without prescription). Any advice?

    • Get back with your doctor and explain what it is you are looking for. There are options that will limit or stop your period. Best to work with your doctor to ensure you are taking appropriate doses and taking it correctly to ensure there are no long term side effects.

  20. Um so I have a question, I’m on the pill but I’ve had my period for 72 DAYS STRAIGHT!!!!!!! My Gyno said at day 45 that it was normal and I haven’t called her yet to tell her I still have it, is this normal?

    • Hi Lizzy! I am in the same situation and my gyn said the same thing. I think here in Brazil they won’t care for this kind of problem, I’ve been to more than 5 doctors and they alll asked me to wait for my body to get used to hormones. Did you find a solution? Please tell me. My best, Ana.

  21. My gyn had me start back up on birth control pills last month. The first month went perfect, no spotting or anything. I’m on the 2nd pack now and have had not just spotting, but pretty much a full on period for the past 3 weeks straight, no days of nothing in between, and should be starting my “normal” time within the next couple of days. I know that within the first 3 months irregularities can be expected, but this seems a bit excessive. Any suggestions?

  22. I have been bleeding nearly every single day for the past 5 months and I have tried the pill, injection and now have the implant. Nothing is stopping it besides two prescriptions of tranexamic acid the doctors gave me which stopped my periods taking 2 tablets 3 times a day for 4 days but it only stopped for only a couple of days and they came right back and about a week ago I ordered some myself and unfortunately only got 3 days worth which didn’t stop my periods! I’m scared to go to my doctors as im worried they’ll tell me it’s normal and I really really don’t think it’s normal, there is something going on with my body and I haven’t got a slight clue as to what it is besides the fact I’ve maybe been given too many hormones in the cont receptions. I can’t go on with them any longer it doesn’t only effect me it also effects my boyfriend it can sometime interfere with my relationship and this is definitely no good!! I need help

    • I recommend that you start back with your doctor. Really impress upon him/her the severity of your symptoms and how they are impacting your life. Do not let them brush you off. If you do not believe that your doctor is treating your symptoms appropriately, then find another doctor and get a second opinion.

    • JUST A QUESTION GUYS I HOOE ANYONE COULD HELP ME, LAST MARCH 25 I GOT MY FIRST DAY OF MENSTRUATION AND SO I STARTED MY FIRST PILL ON THAT DAY , USUALLY MY MENSTRUATION ONKY LAST 5DAYS BUT AFTER TAKING PILL IT REACHES 10 DAYS MY MENSTRUATION AND ITS NOT JUST A SPOTTING ITS REAL BLEEDING AND I KIND A WORRIED THAT MAYBE THE PILL ISNT GOOD TO ME SO I DECIDED TO STOPPED TAKING IT ON APRIL 4 BUT I STILL HAVE MY MENSTRUATION UNTIL APRIL 7 , I HAD UNPROTECTED SEX WITH MY HUSBAND APRIL 19 QUESTION IS THAT DAY IS MY FERTIKE DAYS ? Or ovulation day??

  23. I been off depo for 7 months and been bleeding but this month I had sex and I stop bleeding and haven’t been bleeding for 15 days , what should I do ?

  24. Hi
    I started pill for first time on my first day of periods its three weeks now nd its still bleeding
    In the middle of my bleeding it stoped for a day nd then i had pain nd a dark brown discharge with some watery discharge plz help me nd tell me is this normal or a infection or im preg plz reply

  25. Hi I have a question, we just had a pregnancy test wch gave us positive result, so she took tablet, within 2 days her periods started, after a week there was a break, later it started again, and she has stomach pain it’s almost 15days, did anyone experienced, do we have any solutions for dis as we both are staying too far, can’t take her to doctor

  26. Hi, i had injectable last week of October,2015 during the three months under that injectable, i had spotting everyday. I finished the three-month period of injectable on January this year. Then i took Diane 35 this month when i got my period.. The pharmacist told me to take the pills on the 5th day of my period so i took it. Now, i still have period but not that heavy flow. Today is my 9th day of my period but i’m still taking the pills.. I’m kind of worried about my prolonged period because it is the first time i experienced this.. I need some advise about my situation..

  27. Hi my girlfriend has been on the pill for 3 months now and has been bleeding for Nearly 3 weeks she has been doctors had test for stds and came back clean doctors have said that she dossent need to see them but she is getting dizzy a lot and I am worry about the amount of blood she is losing thanks

  28. I’m in my mid twenties and a vigin. I found out I have PCOS so my gyne prescribed pills. She prescribed Yasmin. I started taking it on the first day of my period. The flow was normal but after my normal 5 day period, I noticed I am still bleeding. Not so much and a thin panty liner can still accomodate per day. Now I am on the 14th pill and I am still bleeding. And to describe the bleeding, it is not actually liquid but like brown stretchy skin lining. Should I be worried? Or is it too early to tell?

    • Call your doctor, tell them what is occurring, and get their opinion. They best know your medical situation and can provide you with appropriate advice.

  29. I took 3 bc pills and got off it cause it was making me crazy nausous, and iv been bleeding for over a month now.. Is it normal? Should I be concerned

  30. i started new birth control 2/1/16 i got my period that whole month 2/4/16 until 2/27/16. its now 3/24/16 and i haven’t got my period again for this month. i usually get my period when i start my last row of the pills i only have 3 more of my last row pills. is it normal for my period to be late or so out of order when starting new bc? i am sexually active so, i don’t know if i should worry. is this normal? i am taking sandoz

  31. Question Here: I’ve started using Estarylla BC to help regulate my period. My gyn put me on this because I hadn’t had a period since September. He said that I should bleed lightly when taking week 4 green pills. I have now finished the first pack and been on my period for 11 days and clotting and bleeding really bad. What should I do?

  32. I started bc 2 months ago. ..this month thou iv been bleeding for 15 days…doctor changed bc said my period would stop in two days. ..that was 5 days ago…I’m ready to stop taking bc because I keep bleeding ..this doesn’t seem normal. .when will this stop?

  33. I have a desperate question!! So I’ve been on birth control for about 3-4 months and last month I decided to run two packs together so now I’m halfway through the 2nd run-through pack, suddenly I’m having a period and it still hasn’t gone away after a week? It’s not heavy, rather light but isn’t the pill supposed to stop my period especially if I run two packs together? There’s no pain or anything it just feels like a normal period with no cramps whatsoever, and light bleeding. I really wanna know what’s going on because I don’t understand!

  34. So I started my. About 4 months ago it’s already been a regular maybe go a few weeks and then stop and then come back a few weeks and then stop so my doctor prescribed me with birth control pills which seem to have made it very much heavy and very crampy It Has since been Lighter but it has continued to flow what can I do about this it is driving me crazy it’s driving my boyfriend crazy with a dog and it’s making my life miserable I can’t go on like this what should I do

  35. I have been on birth control for a while now and like on my most recent period I started early and I have been on it for almost 2 weeks why is this?

  36. So I started my birth control pill on Sunday like my doctor told me & haven’t missed a day but I’ve had my period for 7 days straight is that normal? Like its lighter bleeding but then it stops all day & then at night it’s like heavy as all get out, is that normal?

  37. so i wanted to skip my period on birth control for a certain week. I have been taking birth control yasmin for a long time now. I had started a new pack last week because i just had finished my period. then i had realized i wanted to skip an upcoming week of my period. so i stopped taking the pack of pills after the first week. i only skipped 2 days of not taking it and then today my period started. my periods are super painful and i didn’t want to have my period 2 weeks in a row. Plus I realized I have an event tonight so i didn’t want to be on my period. So not even thinking I started taking a new pack of pills after only 2 or 3 days of skipping the pills. i wanted to know if that is ok or if i totally just messed everything up. i Have had really weird periods before and last summer i had tried something different to stop my period and ended up having my period for 45 days. I don’t want that to happen again. Help!

  38. Hello I’ve been taking bc pills for about a year…..I’ve gotten to the point of being lazy and skipping every other day and doubled them to catch up…I’ve been bleeding for two weeks now…is that the reason for the prolonged cycle??

  39. This really driving me crazy. I never have irregular periods.mso I skipped 2months. Then I got it.but is non stop and it’s bleeding heavy?went to doctor and took a pregnancy test its negative. Sho she gave me a microgestin pill to take? Will your period stop even you’ve been having for 2 weeks now.

  40. Ive been on the pill over 6 years and never had irregular spotting. Im 23 years old. This month about a week after my period ended i began to spot. I am now on day 9 or 10. I took a home pregnancy test and that was negative. My activity level has increased the last few months as i have lost 45 lbs the last 4.5 months. I cant figure out why this is happening. I have no other period symptoms (cramping, headaches or bloating)

    Any advice is appreciated! I do have an appointment with a doctor next week. My doctor said i didnt need to worry and to make an appointment if it continues into next month. That didnt sit well with me so i called another womens health clinic.
    Thank you in advance.

  41. I started taking birth control not to long ago and 3 days after Warped Tour my period happened because I took the pill 4 hours late and it use to be really heavy to the point where I felt like my back would break in half but now since I started my period has been very light but it won’t stop its been 10 days! and I’m getting very concerned about this cause now its getting back to being short of heavy again and people say it lasts 10 days to a month and I’m going to a concert in a few days and another one in September/October and convention’s too as well I just don’t want to have to carry around tampons with me to these upcoming events someone please help… I’m so confused and lost…

  42. Hi everyone!
    I’m extremely upset and scared.
    Had unprotected sex with my partner. But took a contraceptive pill after 2 days which is alright. But idk what’s wrong I’m experiencing 7 days of bleeding for the first time. I have very light flow with brown and red coloured blood.
    I’m extremely worried what should I do?

  43. Hey everyone
    Me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex but I took a contraceptive pill after two days which is alright but for the first time I’m experiencing 7 days of flow red and brownish coloured.
    What should I do? What is happening to Me? I’m extremely worried

  44. Is it normal to have irregular spotting the day after starting the pill? Had 3 days of protected sex but am nervous it could be something else. Just took pill number four and the spotting has almost stopped. No other signs of pregnancy, but the sex was 2/3 days before spotting and during early ovulation. He is also 3 years into chemo and may possibly be infertile so idk what to think or if I’m over thinking. Contacted my doc and her nurse told me she thinks I’m fine but to wait a few days and take a test. Nervous wreck

  45. I got my period while I was suppose to take my sugar pills but I skipped them and carried on active?
    So me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex on the friday, he came in me. I was supposed to start taking my sugar pills on the Saturday but I skipped them and went straight to active pills. I have just started third pack of pills. On the monday I got my period but I was on active pills. Its now sunday, and I still have blood! But I haven’t taken any sugar pills! I have cramps, everything like a period! Please help. Is this normal?

  46. Hey everyone! Does anyone actually had a REAL solution for continous bleeding? I tried different BCP but since 2013 no one has workerd for me. I live in Brazil and the last one I tried was Elani Ciclo. I was really rigorous on taking the pill, never missed anyone and took it always at the same time. During 6 months I always bled during the acive pills and bled havier on my period.
    For 8 months I stopped taking any hormone, but I couldn’t stand the fear of getting pregnant even though I use condoms, and I also had a lot of acne, cramps and 8-days-lasting periods…
    It’s been 12 days I’m back on BCP, with Qlaira and 12 days i’ve been bleeding. I’m so afraid it will never stop!! I don’t wanna hear I need to go to another doctor, because I’ve been to more that 5 and they always give one of these two solutions: wait for my body to get used or changing BCP.
    Seriously, does anyone who had this problem discovered a solution or simply accepted to live with bleeding or gave up hormonal methods? Obs: my health exams are great and the don’t show any irregularity.

    • Ana I know this thread is old but did you ever find a solution? I’m on Qlaira and have been bleeding for 11 days. I don’t know whether I should persevere or not. Thanks.

      • Hi Michaela! No i didn’t. Bleeding has been reduced, but I still got spots every month. I gave up minding about it and keep on taking Qlaira. I wish you good luck!

  47. I have a question. I started taking birth controll a while back in 2015. I recently had a problem with getting my pills from the pharmacy because the pharmasist told me i ran out of refills. However, i was prescribed a new pack of pills that i wasn’t familiar with. Instead of the white pills being on the last row of the pack, they were at the top. Keep in mind that i begin the pack during the week my period was about to end and i missed a day of taking my pills so i took the first 2 white pills but i thought they were only sugar pills which aren’t effective. I usually throw the pack away once i get to the white pills but since these were a new pack and they were at the top, & wasn’t sure if they were effective so i then took 2 of the blue pills on the second row. After my mom told me that i was supposed to only take the white pills, i continued to take the white pills as i usually would. Friday, i woke up with a headache and by the end of the day, it had gotten so bad that i couldn’t bare the pain. My mom believed the headache came from me taking the birth control pills so i then stopped taking them. Today is Wednesday & now my period has came on again. My mom told me that it probably would but i am very mad because my period just ended last week. I only stopped taking the pills until i start my new pack of pills that i usually take. How long will my period stay on and what seems to be my problem ?

  48. I was on birth control three years ago to regulate heavy menstrual bleeding. After 2-3 months my period cycle has been 23-30 days! Pretty normal thank god. Now this year my cycle has been irregular and I would miss months. I was put on birth control pills this monthand I am on my third week of the pill, after the first week of using BC my period came and now my period is on its 2nd week. I am concern it’s been 14/15 days! And I am still bleeding. I did an ultrasound and everything came back normal!

  49. i started using birth control pills two weeks back and now my periods cant stop…i have stopped taking them.what will happen and for how long will it take to stop?

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