How long does Breakthrough Bleeding Last – Should You be Worried?

Taking birth control pills is one of the safest recommended ways of preventing unwanted pregnancies in women of childbearing age like me. Sometimes when you are on contraceptives, you might experience some mild vaginal bleeding outside your regular menstruation time. Have you ever experienced such?

Well, the good news is that you should not get worried since most women have experienced this, especially those taking contraceptives. Sometimes when it happens to you, you might start asking questions. “How long does breakthrough bleeding last?” You might ask yourself that since it is important to make sure that it is just a breakthrough bleeding and not as a result of some underlying health issues.

It usually occurs in the first three cycles while a woman is on contraceptives. The amount of blood is usually very little; sometimes it can just be a spot of blood in which case it would be referred to as spotting.

Breakthrough Bleeding Las

Research shows that up to 30% of women experience breakthrough bleeding when they are using birth control pills hence if you are on contraceptive and it is happening to you, there is no need to get worried.

What Causes Breakthrough Bleeding?

When a woman takes contraceptives which always contain hormonal dosages, the body will try to such. Before the body gets used to the hormonal fluctuations as a result of the hormonal dosages, the uterine wall will start bleeding leading to what we call breakthrough bleeding.

hormonal - breakthrough bleeding

Since it is a result of hormonal fluctuation, it is caused by the following:

• Irregular dosage of oral contraceptives

Irregular dosage of oral contraceptives

• Dietary changes

Dietary changes

• Decrease in thyroid levels

Decrease in thyroid levels

• Stress


• Miscarriage


• Smoking while on contraceptives


Should I be Worried?

You should not be worried when it happens to you while you are on contraceptives. However, should you experience vaginal bleeding for more than three weeks, then there is a reason to be worried hence you need to see a doctor.

How Long Should It Last?

Usually, the body takes 2 to 3 months to adapt to changes in hormonal levels as a result of using contraceptives. Breakthrough bleeding will, therefore, occur during this period. Therefore, it should be considered normal if the bleeding occurs within three cycles.

During every cycle, the bleeding should always last for 2 to three days. If you bleed for more than a week during a circle, then this should not be considered normal therefore you will be required to see a doctor.

see a doctor

Does It Happen to Every Woman?

No, breakthrough bleeding only occurs in women that are either on contraceptives or women that are pregnant.

Reasons Why It Occurs During Pregnancy?

During pregnancy, a woman’s hormonal level changes. As a result of this, the body will try to respond to such changes, and as a result, a little bleeding from the vagina will be experienced.

Usually, this should last between 2 to 3 days from the moment you start experiencing it.

If the bleeding occurs beyond this period, you should report it immediately to your doctor as there might be an underlying problem that needs to be detected early.

When this bleeding during pregnancy persists, it may mean a lot. It may be as a result of ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy or as a result of bleeding from the placenta.

How You Can Reduce Breakthrough Bleeding

  • Continue taking your pills regularly: Most of the time if this occurs to a woman who is on birth control pills, she might get worried, and panic hence may opt out of taking the pills. This should not be the case since things will only be made worse as a result of this. The best thing to do is to ensure that you continue with your dosage as this bleeding will stop once your body gets used to it.
  • Avoid smoking: While you are on contraceptives, you should not smoke at all since this increases chances of breakthrough bleeding plus other health complications that may be dangerous to you.
  • Eat a balanced diet: It is important that you eat a well-balanced diet so that your hormone levels stay balanced.
  • Minimize stress: Stress will lead to hormonal imbalance which is the main cause of breakthrough bleeding. It is, therefore, important to try and minimize stress so as to keep your hormonal level in check. You can do a lot of exercises or take stress management classes if you are leading the stressful life.

Breakthrough bleeding can also be caused by sexually transmitted diseases, cervical cancer or as a result of polycystic ovarian syndrome. Hence if the bleeding occurs beyond the average interval, then testing must be done to ensure that the underlying problem is detected early in case of any.

In recap, breakthrough bleeding should not get any woman worried as it is normal and only ceases to be normal if the bleeding persists.

To know more about breakthrough bleeding below is a video link that will be of help to you.

Kristi Cathey

Hi everyone! My name is Kristi Cathey and I’m glad you found your way to my blog. I am a mother of 3 beautiful angels. This blog was created in order to share my personal experiences in baby care and general health care for pregnant women. If you'd like to get in touch with me, please contact me by sending me an email via [email protected] Welcome to

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