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Brown discharge & Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are known as the most popular modern contraception and there are already many well known side effects of the pills (short-term and long-term). Brown vaginal discharge can be one of side effects of birth control pills. Brown discharge caused by birth control is an unpleasant and embarrassing problem that many women deal with monthly. It should be mentioned that brown discharge is not always a sign of infection or any serious diseases – brown discharge could be just a signal of some hormonal changes developed by birth control pills. In most cases brown discharge is usually old blood.

Birth control pills’ users often complain of brown discharge which is considered as one of typical side effects of the birth control pills. Why pills’ users suffer from brown discharge? What are causes for brown discharge during birth control pills? Is brown discharge should be considered as the signal for changing pills? Are missed pills and brown discharge correlated?

Before giving any explanations and advices, it is important to understand how birth control pills are working.

It is well know that birth control pills are preventing pregnancy through few mechanisms including the following:


  • By blocking ovulation (release of an egg from the mature ovarian follicles) by blocking the action of the FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone), thus preventing pregnancy;
  • By altering mucus in the cervix, which makes it hard for sperm to travel further up to Fallopian tubes;
  • By changing the endometrium (internal lining of the uterus) so that it cannot support a fertilized egg;
  • By altering the fallopian tubes (the tubes through which eggs move from the ovaries to the uterus) so that they cannot effectively move eggs toward the uterus.

While birth control pills are insuring all above actions, they are changing the normal hormonal balance of the menstrual cycle through decreasing levels of FSH and LH. Low levels of both hormones (FSH and LH) are responsible for decreased concentrations of estrogens and progesterone – both responsible for endometrial normal development. As a result the lining of the uterus is becoming so thin that it sometimes sloughs off a little bit and appearing as unpleasant unexpected brown discharge.

Other reason for brown discharge during birth control pills could be missed pills. Missed pills are disturbing the whole hormonal mechanisms and “upsetting” the endometrium. Taking birth control pills at precisely the same time every day may help during brown discharge.

Most modern birth control pills contain two components – estrogen (mainly ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin. Different birth control pills have different combinations of both components – usually the concentration of the estrogen component can vary and several different types of progestin hormones could be used in birth control pills. The concentration and the strength of the estrogen, the type of progestin and the doses of hormones all play a role in determining which side effects a particular birth control pill is likely (or unlikely) to cause. This means brown discharge could appear in different women who are more sensitive to specific types of pills.

How to avoid brown discharge while using birth control pills:

  • Use birth control pills regularly every day at the same time as prescribed. Don’t miss pills and if you missed pills just follow instructions how to cover it up.
  • Women who failed to take birth control pills as prescribed can change the hormone levels in the body which can provoke brown vaginal discharge.
  • Use only prescribed birth control pills. Birth control dosages are prescribed based on the level of hormones needed to regulate the menstrual cycle of an individual client. Taking birth control pills that have not been prescribed for you could cause poor control of your monthly cycle.
  • Use enough liquids per day – stay hydrated and cleansed. Drinking at least six, eight-ounce glasses of water each day (along with a glass of cranberry juice at a meal) will help keep your system cleansed and hydrated. Staying completely hydrated and cleansed will often help prevent brown vaginal discharge while taking birth control pills.
  • Select the best birth control pills for your body. Sometimes taking birth control pills that is not strong enough to regulate your periods could cause brown discharge and irregular periods. If taking a stronger dose of your current birth control pill does not prevent brown vaginal discharge, discuss switching birth control medication. In many cases changing birth control medication will stop brown discharge from occurring.

Matched Links from Women Info Sites / Google

One Comment

  1. This was really helpful thank you

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