Common Side Effects of Contraceptive Pills

Patient

Q: Hi, I am taking Trinessa, and have had no problems. I have regular periods and they are always on time. I am going to the beach next month with my boyfriend who will be home on leave from iraq. I wanted to skip my period so I dont have to worry about it with a swimsuit. I tried skipping it this month to get ready for next month and it worked. NO period, but now this week I have been spotting and having slight bleeding for 5 days. Is it even possible to skip my period? How long should I expect this spotting to continue? Is there anything I need to do to get back on track? Thank you so much for your time!

Doctor

A:   Breakthrough bleeding is a common side effect of contraceptive pills. Actually, I’m a bit confused with your question. What did you mean with “tried to skip a period”? What did you do exactly? As far as I know, most pharmaceutical companies recommend that when 2-3 pills are missed, a new pack should be started (it differs for each company so try checking the package insert). However, this is not recommended for recreational purposes (because you want to skip a period). The spotting may continue for 2 more days. If you want to get back on track, finish the pack you are on right now then continue with another pack. May I just remind you that for contraceptive pills to have maximum effectiveness, its perfect use should be emphasized. This means that it should be taken at the same time everyday (e.g. 9:00 PM everyday). I hope this helps.

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