Birth Control Pills and Abnormal Bleeding
by Frederick R. Jelovsek MD
Break thru bleeding after a year on pills
I am 20 years old and have been on the pill - Desogen® for over a year. Recently I began bleeding between periods, sometimes light, sometimes heavy. I have been seeing my gynecologist annually and have had no other problems. Is this something to worry about, or something minor?
Probably minor. Breakthrough bleeding is not uncommon on pills. It can be from missing a pill or two or taking them at different times in the day, but it also occurs for no reason at all. My rule-of-thumb is to change the brand of the pill if it happens 3 cycles in a row.
Will long term pill use cause infertility or pregnancy problems?
Can remaining on birth control pills for a long time affect your chances of becoming pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to term in cases where there are no other identified risk factors?
No. Basically pills cover up whatever your body would have done over the time you took them, but they don't alter what your natural history is.
For example, if you take pills from age 20 to 35 and then stop, your chances of getting pregnant are the same as any 35 year old who just started trying. At 35 it may be slightly more difficult to get pregnant but the pills don't cause it; age or other intervening disease or circumstances does.
Click here for more information on infertility causes.