What should I do if I have mid-cycle (breakthrough) bleeding?

Last updated on August 31, 2020

Even though the pill can eventually make your periods shorter, lighter, and less painful, some mid-cycle breakthrough bleeding (aka spotting) is normal. It it especially common if it’s your first few months on birth control or if you’re taking the progestin-only pill. 

The longer and more regularly you take your birth control, the less mid-cycle bleeding you’ll experience. If you don’t take your pill regularly or if you switch your patch or ring irregularly (not at the scheduled time or on the scheduled day), you’re more likely to have mid-cycle bleeding. 

Mid-cycle bleeding is also common for people who skip the placebo pills in order to skip periods because your body needs time to adjust to the new cycle. Expect to see some spotting during the first three months.

You can read more about mid-cycle bleeding on our blog.

If you ever experience extremely heavy bleeding, whether its during your period or mid-cycle, you should visit a doctor right away. Extremely heavy bleeding means you are soaking through a tampon or pad every hour for 2-3 hours in a row. If your bleeding isn’t this heavy but you’re also feeling dizzy or lightheaded, you should still see a doctor right away.

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