Causes of Breakthrough Bleeding
Breakthrough bleeding is common in some women that are taking birth control pills. This type of bleeding usually subsides by the third month and disappears by the fourth cycle. Breakthrough bleeding is characterized by spotting or light bleeding that is usually not accompanied by any other pains. However, some women may have different experiences during an occurrence of breakthrough bleeding and bothersome symptoms; heavy and prolonged bleeding that lasts more than seven days should be brought to a doctor's knowledge.
Here are the common causes of breakthrough bleeding:
Hormone balance in the pill
The hormone balance in each birth control pills varies; the difference in the amount of hormones contained in each pill can cause different effects to the person taking it. If the hormone balance does not suit the person (e.g., estrogen content is too low), breakthrough bleeding may occur.
Illness such as vomiting or diarrhea
A patient that experiences chronic vomiting or diarrhea fails to absorb the medication. Thus, the pills do not take effect, which causes the endometrium to continue to slough.
Smoking prevents the absorption and effectiveness of the hormones in each pill. Thus, the potency of the pill is lost as it is not properly absorbed by the body. Smoking also has anti-estrogenic effects, decreasing the body's supply of estrogen. This decrease can also cause breakthrough bleeding.
Missing a pill
Daily ingestion of the pill causes the endometrium to thicken and its consistency is built up, that is why shedding stops. However, missing a pill or taking a pill at a different time each day causes the lining to go back to how it was before taking the pills. The sloughing of the endometrium allows some pieces to come out as blood spots, or breakthrough bleeding.
Antacids, antibiotics, antifungal and anti-tuberculosis medications may interfere with the potency of the birth control pills which can result in breakthrough bleeding.
Presence of infection
Sometimes, the bleeding may not be pill-related at all, and it could be caused by infections or abnormal growths in the tissues such as uterine fibroids, polyps or tumor in the cervix and chlamydia infection.