The simplest explanation of breakthrough bleeding is bleeding that happens in between a menstrual cycle. Many women suffer from it and often do not know how to explain it or when to seek help from the doctor.
Therefore, we spoke to Dr Ritambhara Bhalla, Associate Director - Gynaecologist and Obstetrician, Cloudnine Group of Hospitals, Chandigarh on the subject, its causes and cures.
What Causes Breakthrough Bleeding?
In most cases, gynaecologists prescribe low doses of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs). However, if the body requires a high dose, it will lead to breakthrough bleeding.
This is a signal, and in such a case, a woman must consult her gynaecologist. The doctor will do a checkup and adjust the dosages.
Another reason for breakthrough bleeding is intrauterine, endometrial, or vaginal infection. In such a case, spotting between periods must not be taken lightly. “The patient must immediately seek a consultation from the gynaecologist,” Dr Bhalla added.
A menstruator can also experience breakthrough bleeding if they are taking hormonal pills, including OCPs, for contraception, heavy bleeding, fibroids, etc. This will also be the case if you have recently got a copper-T or a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD or IUCD) installed inside the uterus. Breakthrough bleeding is the way the uterus reacts.
What should you do if breakthrough bleeding does not stop? It should resolve within the first three to six months of insertion of an IUD. In any case, you should visit a doctor to ensure it is not a result of an infection.
What Are The Symptoms Of Breakthrough Bleeding?
Apart from bleeding in between the menstrual cycle, there are mild period-like symptoms associated with the condition. However, if you experience severe cramps, back pain or anything else, you should immediately consult the doctor.
In most cases, a person experiences spotting. Heavy bleeding is the rarest case.
How long should breakthrough bleeding last? The answer to this query depends on the cause of it. For example, if you have taken an i-Pill mid-cycle, the breakthrough bleeding might last a few days. It resembles scanty periods.
When should you be worried about breakthrough bleeding? If the bleeding lasts for more than seven days or comes and goes frequently, there can be an underlying medical condition that would need the doctor’s attention.
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Does Breakthrough Bleeding Mean Pregnancy?
No, on the contrary, breakthrough bleeding implies that your contraception method is inadequate. Dr Bhalla says that a break in a controlled bleeding cycle refers to the fact that the hormonal pills or IUD are not working efficiently to prevent an unwanted pregnancy. Frequent breakthrough bleeding is one of the symptoms to judge if your contraception method is actually working or not.
This can be worrisome if you are not planning a family in the near future.
What Are The Treatments For Breakthrough Bleeding?
There are a few things that can help with breakthrough bleeding. However, the course of treatment must be prescribed by the doctor.
Dr Bhalla said that first, the doctor identifies the reason for spotting. If it is due to the low dosage of oral contraceptive pills, they will increase the dosage, change the timing of medication or treat the infection.
In case of an infection, the doctor will run tests, including a transvaginal examination, pelvic examination or pap smear exam. It will allow the doctor to understand the type of infection and decide on the course of treatment.
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