Break-through bleeding


This refers to any spotting or bleeding that occurs between menstrual cycles and whilst pregnant.

Possible causes

Generally though, we use this term to describe break-through bleeding that occurs while on hormonal contraception. It is more common when you miss taking pills, or are unwell (vomiting, diarrhoea) and the oral hormones are poorly absorbed. It is relatively common in the first six months after a mirena is placed, or with a copper IUD.

Other causes include genital tract infections, cervical ectropion, or as part of early pregnancy.

How we can help

If you are experiencing break-through bleeding and would like to talk to us about how we can help, please feel free to contact us. You can also request an appointment online.

Further information


Contraceptive side-effects

Side effects of contraception are common. They can be annoying and often debilitating and can include break-through bleeding, nausea, breast tenderness, headaches, mood changes and reduced libido. Find out more


An ectropion is when the inside of the cervix (endocervix) becomes everted on to the outside of the cervix. The endocervix is more fragile, and can bleed with contact. Find out more


An infection is the invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites that are not normally present within the body. An infection is a cause that is always considered in women with abnormal bleeding. Find out more


Most pregnancies happily need care, attention and support only. The role of a midwife and obstetrician is to guide through the routine and normal parts of pregnancy, labour and postnatal care. Also importantly to recognise when intervention is required, when normal has become or is becoming abnormal. Find out more


Treatment for contraceptive side-effects

There are many options to ameliorate symptoms and you should see your GP or a specialist.

Ectropion treatment

Ectropion is common, and treatment is generally not required. When bleeding is persistent and troubling, women may consider ablative treatment such as cautery (electrosurgery). Colposcopy may also be used to diagnose and treat this area.

Treatment for infections

If an infection is the cause, treatment with antibiotics is required. This is generally given orally, but if an infection is severe, antibiotics given intravenously may be required.


Aceso provides private obstetric services for those women having a planned elective caesarean section. We also offer Down syndrome screening, vaccination(s) during pregnancy, and ultrasound scanning. Find out more