Early Period on the Pill

early period on the pillThere’s nothing worse than getting your period when you’re not prepared for it. An unexpected period is something that can happen from time to time and for happens to every woman at some point in their life. An early period on the pill can seem like a worrying sign but for the most part, it is normal. We can all say we’ve been there.

There are a number of factors which could lead to an early period on the pill, and the bleeding itself can be categorized into either breakthrough or spotting bleeding, or menstrual bleeding.

Breakthrough / Spotting Bleeding

This is something that can common happen to women who take some form of birth control. The contraceptive pill, for example, injects hormones into the body that would normally be there anyway, just in different amounts. It is the manipulation of your hormones that stops you from getting pregnant. By injecting one or two hormones (progestin or estrogen), the hormone responsible for fertilizing and implanting your baby is reduced.

When you first start to take the pill, spotting or breakthrough bleeding is very common as your body adjust to the new balance. If it continues for a long time, it could be a sign that the contraceptive you’re using isn’t right for you but doctors would normally advice that you give it a shot for three or six months before making a decision, and in some women it can take even longer still.

If you miss your contraceptive dose, you can also experience breakthrough or spotting bleeding. The missed level of hormones causes a chain reaction in the body which can lead to some light bleeding. When you take your pill regularly again, you will usually find the problem goes away.

Menstrual Bleeding 

Birth control pills can have massive effects on your body and as well as preventing you from getting pregnant, they can also stop you from having periods, change the length of your cycle, give you a reduced flow, and some can even help with reducing and alleviating some of the symptoms such as cramps, headaches and even PMS.

Generally, with the contraceptive pill, you’ll take a course of around 21-23 tablets. You’ll then have a seven day break in which your period will come while your body has a break from the hormones.

Again, if you start taking a new pill, you can experience a change in your regular cycle. It could become longer or shorter which could lead to an early period on the pill. If you are sick, have an upset stomach, or haven’t taken your pill regularly, you can also experience changes to your cycle.

Early Period on Pill – When to Call a Doctor 

If you’re experiencing an early period on the pill, it is wise to give it a couple of days to see if it goes away. Usually it will manifest itself as light bleeding or spotting, but if you experience cramps or other symptoms alongside it, you should seek medical advice.

If you are losing a lot of blood, you should also seek medical attention. If you are going through sanitary towels or tampons much faster than you usually would, it could be an indication of something going wrong. The same can be said for bleeding that goes on for a long time, irrespective of how heavy the flow.



Early Period on the Pill – What Else Could It Be? 

As well as hormonal and natural changes to the contraceptive pill and other factors such as stress, periods of sickness, anxiety and depression, etc. there are a number of other more serious medical reasons why you could have an early period on the pill.

Sexually transmitted infections can often carry symptoms similar to an early period – bleeding, cramping and pain. Gonorrhea and Chlamydia are both STI’s which should be tested against if you have prolonged or excessive bleeding in between your period, and for women, the infections can lie dormant in the body without exposing itself in the form of symptoms for a very long time. It can also have an effect on your levels of fertility, dramatically reducing the chances of you getting pregnant if you leave the condition undiagnosed and untreated. This is why it is important to have regular sexual health tests if you are sexually active, and definitely if you do not have protected sex.

There are other causes to an early period on the pill and you cannot rule out conditions such as PCOS or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, endometriosis, fibroids, and even a tumor. If you are in any doubt or you have noticed ongoing or definitive changes to your body or your menstrual cycle, it is always a good idea to get it checked out. Sometimes a quick test and a chat could be all it takes to put your mind at ease.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I have been on birth control for almost two years. My last period was 12/24 and ended on 12/28. It is typical for my periods to be 4-6 days. I missed quite a few birth control pills this month and I had some light bleeding and spotting that started 6 days before my expected period. It lasted for 4 days. It started out with light bleeding and then turned into spotting and then stopped. I’m not sure if it was implantation bleeding or just an early period. My periods have always been right on time and are usually heavy then lighten up and stop with no spotting or anything. My boyfriend and I don’t use any other protection than my birth control. We have sex quite often and around the time I expect I would have ovulated. My period is supposed to start today and it hasn’t happened yet. I don’t feel like it will. For the last week I have had very mild cramping, sore/tender breasts, nausea and headaches. I have took 3 tests already and they were all negative. I don’t know if I’m just testing to early or if I should still be concerned with pregnancy.

    • Improperly using birth control can certainly lead to pregnancy. It is possible that you are experiencing implantation bleeding. Your body may be have unusual reactions due to the fact that you weren’t properly using your birth control. You may want to speak with your partner about other forms of birth control in the future. Continue to monitor your experiences as you move forward. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Best of luck, S!

  2. I have been on my birth control for almost 2 years. My last period was on 12/24 and ended 12/28. It’s typical for my periods to be 4-6 days. I missed quite a few birth control pills this month and I had some light bleeding and spotting that started 6 days before my expected period. It lasted 4 days. It started out with light bleeding and then went to spotting and stopped. I’m not sure if it was implantation bleeding or just an early period. My periods have always been right on time and are usually heavy and then just stop. My boyfriend and I don’t use any other protection other than my birth control. We have sex quite often and around the time I expect I would have ovulated. My period is supposed to start today 1/20 and it hasn’t happened and I don’t feel like it will. For the last week I have had cramping, sore/tender breasts, nausea, and headaches. I have took 3 tests already but they have all been negative. I don’t know if I am just testing to early or if I should still be concerned of being pregnant.

    • Improperly using birth control can certainly lead to pregnancy. It is possible that you are experiencing implantation bleeding. Your body may be have unusual reactions due to the fact that you weren’t properly using your birth control. You may want to speak with your partner about other forms of birth control in the future. Continue to monitor your experiences as you move forward. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Best of luck, S!

  3. I switched birth controls about 4-5 months ago and have been great at taking my pills. I missed a pill Sunday morning and Monday morning and remembered Monday at noon so i took both. (I last had unprotected sex the weekend before). This Missed pill was a week before my period (inactive pills). The very next day I experienced rather heavy spotting, red. The day after it was dark brown discharge. I spotted/bled for a week and it included red blood, clots, and brown discharge. I finally stopped spotting on what would have been my second day of my period. I can’t tell if I started my period during that time I was having breakthrough bleeding. It wasn’t as heavy. is it possible the missed pill just threw off my cycle? No symptoms associated with pregnancy.

    • Improperly using birth control one time can lead to pregnancy. It is certainly possible that the experiences that you are having are from missing your period. It is possible that you are pregnant. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having as you move forward. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. If you find that you are having a hard time remembering to properly use your birth control, then you may find a calendar to be a helpful tool. Best of luck, Christen!

  4. I have been on the pill for years. I am very good at taking my pill at the same time. I recently changed my diet and starting exercising. I am very regular. I know when I will get my period. However this month I am spotting two weeks before my period. I am sexual active; however, my husband never cums inside of me. Should I be worried. Please advise.

    • It is possible to become pregnant due to precum, but it is unlikely. You may be experiencing implantation bleeding or you may be having an unusual period. Continue to monitor your experiences. If you find that you are having other signs of pregnancy, then you may be pregnant. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. A doctor can confirm your results. Best of luck, Susan!

  5. I have been on the pill for many years. I usually take the pill at the same time every night. I got my period two weeks early. I am very very worried. I am usually very regular. Any comments

    • It is possible to become pregnant while on birth control, as nothing is 100% effective. Continue to monitor your experiences for other signs of pregnancy. You may simply be having an unusual period at this time. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date for results. You may want to speak with a medical professional about your concerns. Good luck, KTW!

      • It is KTW again. I changed my diet and have really been exercising the last couple of weeks. I am very confused you told someone if they take their pills regularly like I do, most likely you aren’t pregnant, but you are saying I could be pregnant.

          • If your partner never ejaculated during intercourse, then you are likely not pregnant. Precum has the potential to cause pregnancy, but it is unlikely. Have a great day, KTW!

        • Most likely you won’t be pregnant if you use birth control. It is possible that you may become pregnant if you use birth control. Nothing is completely effective. Best of luck, KTW!

  6. I have been on the same contraceptive pill for over a year. I never have had a problem with it until recently. Last month, my period came on time but lasted 8 days (rather than 4). This time, my period has come 5 days early, while I still have 2 active pills to take in my packet. Are these signs a concern? The last time I was sexually active was in November, before any of this started happening.

    • It is possible, though unlikely, to become pregnant while using birth control. If you have improperly used birth control during this month, then you may be pregnant. You may be experiencing implantation bleeding or perhaps you are having an unusual period. You may want to speak with your doctor about your questions. Best of luck, S!

  7. Its my first month using Lolo, On my 3rd week of pills 18th days using it my period came earlier than I expected. And i still got 3 active pills and 7 reminder pills. Is it normal? Should I start a new set of pills?

    Thanks

    • It is important to take your birth control properly at the intervals that were set. You should not be starting a new pack unless there were a mistake. Improper use of birth control will lead to unexpected pregnancies. You can start a new pack at this time, but you may want to speak with your medical professional for advice. Best of luck, G!

  8. Quick question, my girlfriend had her period for the week, which ended on a Thursday, missed about 4-5 pills after, then on the following Thursday, we had sex, where I was wearing a condom and came inside of her with the condom on, and I had her take plan b that same night, and then three days later on Sunday, she gets her period, which she still has today, Monday the 17th. She says it’s just her period, but could she be pregnant?

    • If you properly used the condom, then she should not be pregnant. She should have no reason to use a Plan B pill if you properly used birth control. She may be experiencing symptoms due to the Plan B pill. She should also properly use birth control. It seems as though the two of you need to have a discussion about researching the proper application of birth control. Have a great day, John!

  9. Hi,
    I have been on the pill for about a month and 3 weeks. The past three weeks i have been bad about taking the pill exactly on time, i try my best but sometimes i take it an hour to 3 hours late. I’ve been having unprotected sex but he never cums inside of me. Yesterday I started having really light brown bleeding which is still happening today. i am supossed to get my period on the 28th, should i be worried?

    • If you are not taking the pill at the same time every day then it is possible that you could become pregnant. However, if he is not ejaculating during intercourse, then it is unlikely that you are pregnant. Precum has the potential to cause pregnancy, though it is not very likely. Continue to monitor your experiences. Take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. Good luck, Sara!

  10. I had unprotected sex once then the next time I used protection. It was a little extra rough and I was bleeding after because of dryness. I’ve been spotting for a few days it hurt down there the first day because of the rough sex but I have been spotting. I take my pill at the same time everyday and I haven’t missed any yet. My periods still aren’t very regular and I have gotten my period very early before but should I be worried this time?

    • If you were properly using birth control when you had unprotected sex, then you are likely not pregnant. However, it is possible to become pregnant when using birth control. If you find that you are experiencing pain and bleeding from dryness, then you may want to speak with a medical professional. They may be able to give you advice. If you experience signs of pregnancy, then take a pregnancy test. Best of luck, A!

  11. This is my first time taking birth control pills. I started them the day I got my period in December. I have 3 more dark green pills left in my week 4 but I got my period a week early. Do I continue finishing the pack over the next couple of days or do I start on a new pack?

    • Continue to take the pills exactly in the order that you are supposed to. Your menstrual cycle may be off for the first month or two that you take birth control medication, so this is quite normal. For everything to balance out again, you have to take the medication exactly as it was given to you by your doctor. Finish your current pack before starting your next one.

  12. Hi am on the pill 7 months now and last month I was finished my packet I normal get my period 4 days after I stop taken the pills in my seven day break but I got it the next day it was light but lasted until I started my new packet I’ve 6 days left now on my packet but am really wondering could I be pregant I told my Dr about it and she suggested I waited to see what happens when I finish this pack

    • If you have properly used your birth control, then it is unlikely that you are pregnant. Though it is still possible. If you were not properly using birth control, then you may be pregnant. Continue to monitor the changes that you are experiencing. If you find that you want to take a pregnancy test, then take one five days after your normal period date. Best of luck, Shona!

  13. I just started taking the pill and have been taking it for two weeks now. My period has been very regular for the last two years (i’ve had it for a total of 3 years), lasting for about 5-6 days with a 29 day cycle. However, i just got my period today and i wasn’t scheduled for it for another 2 weeks or so. I got some light spotting yesterday and read this article and thought that was normal and that’d be it, but now it’s heavier and most definitely my period. Is this normal?

    • It is possible that you are having an unusual period or that you are having implantation bleeding. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having. If it is possible that you are pregnant, then take a pregnancy test five days after your normal period date. If you determine that you want to speak with a medical professional, then make an appointment. Remain positive and reduce stress in your life. Have a great day, Lilly!

  14. I’m on contraceptive pills, and I stopped because I missed it for three days, and on the fourth day my period came, which normally I’m left with about 1week and 2days before I see my period, and it’s heavy. Please I hope everything is right and I don’t have any issues.

    • Your body may be reacting to your decision to stop using birth control. Continue to monitor the experiences that you are having. You likely have nothing to worry about. If you find that you are experiencing great discomfort and you want to speak with a doctor, then make an appointment. Reduce stress in your life at this time. Have a great week, Titilope!

  15. I’m on month 5 of the pill and I keep having my period on no period weeks. I was checked last month by doctor and everything is fine with me. How can I get this to stop.

    • Speak with you doctor. If you doctor says that this is normal for your particular kind of birth control, then accept that. If you find that you want a new doctor, then try to speak with someone else. If you want to try another form a birth control that may suit you better, then explain that to your doctor. You have many options, so be clear about your needs and desires with your doctor. Best of luck, Stephanie!

  16. I took the last active pill in my pack and about 2 hours later had relations with my boyfriend (after being unusually inactive for a week) and I saw blood during intercourse and now it appears my period has began almost 4 days early. I’m also experiencing more intense cramps than usual. I’m hoping he kind of “jumpstarted” my period. Is that possible?

    • If you have been properly using your birth control, then you should not be pregnant. If you have been improperly using it, then you likely will have unusual periods. It would be wise for you to properly use or discontinue using birth control. As you may have had your period, it is likely that you are not pregnant. However, it would be wise for you to take a pregnancy test if you find that you are having pregnancy signs. Best of luck, Cheena!

  17. I’m regular on the pill and get my period on the 15th of every month (during my 7 days off the pill). Today is the 11th and I just got my period (although it is during my 7 day off cycle). Is that normal?

    • There can be some variance depending on your health, lifestyle and physical chemistry. If you are on your period now, then you probably do not have anything to worry about. If you are still concerned, there is no harm in going to your doctor to get checked out though. Good luck and stay safe, Saima!

  18. After an unprotected sex of 2days i took i pill. And within 10days i again had period which is light and not having heavy flow . Is this a sign of pregnancy? If yes, please suggest me to avoid this pregnancy.

    • It is probably not a pregnancy. If you just took a morning after pill, then it probably just changed the duration and intensity of your menstrual cycle. Just to be sure, take a pregnancy test to see. Relax though because you are probably not pregnant.

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