Break Through Bleeding On The Pill, Some New Scientific Facts

Gals hate break through bleeding. It’s a worry from the standpoint of clean clothes and feeling as fresh, and it’s often worrisome to patients who wonder what the cause is and if it signals something more major. Although your gyno will likely reassure you that this is common, I always encourage my patients to get that extra gyno visit in to discuss their individual case, and to see if they need adjustment to their pills. This Gyno Gab Gal worries about unintended pregnancy for those having unscheduled bleeding, patients my only worry about the sheer annoyance of it! Usually those first three months are the worse, but about 10% of the time as you go forward with pill use you may have some breakthrough bleeding.

Birth control pill users may experience breakthrough bleeding and failure. In the research world pill failure rates are less than 2% in the real world pill failure rates for pregnancy are about 8%. Lots of reasons have been proposed for this. Obesity, competing medications, smoking, inconsistent pill taking are just a few of the reasons you may experience break through bleeding. But your gyno would be looking for an explanation of the break through bleeding due to inconsistent pill use. Your birth control pill hormone levels are an important predictor of what is going on with your cycle control. In a study looking at the blood levels of your hormonal contraception published in the “Green Journal” called Obstetrics and Gynecology authors were able to measure the actual blood levels of levonorgesterel (a common progesterone in many birth control pills) in the blood stream of pill users that used pills with this progesterone. They measured these levels at the research laboratory of the University of Southern California. Very interesting reports came out of this study. The patients in the lower estrogen group (20 mcg, they were using Portia) had more spotting than the higher estrogen group (30 mcg, or the pill Lessina. This was not related to the thickness of the lining of the uterus. So the lining thickness is not why most women have break through bleeding.

Another reason for break through bleeding It has also been known for a long time due to research by Drs. Wiebe and Trussell done about a decade ago and reported in Contraception that some women are metabolize their hormone more rapidly and seem to clear the steroid hormones out of their blood stream very quickly. So lots to gab about with your gyno. Are you having BTB on the pill? How was it solved?


The information provided on is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between a patient/site visitor and his/her health professional. This information is solely for informational and educational purposes. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Neither the owners or employees of nor the author(s) of site content take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading this site. Always speak with your primary health care provider before engaging in any form of self treatment. See our Legal Statement for more details.

Fertility Clinics Directory

Find a Fertility Clinic

If you or a loved one is suffering from infertility and needs help conceiving then we are here to offer help in any way we can. We have over 450 Fertility Clinics listed on our Directory. Click here to search for a Fertility Clinic that is right for you.