Ortho-cycline and brown mucus spotting


I am 23 y.o. and am currently taking ortho-cycline. I have been taking birth control for 8 years or so. I have always had irregular periods….usually the story is is that my periods are normal, and then i will have a light period for like 2-3 mos. I have been on several different birth controls…ortho-tricycline, seasonale, ect….the same thing happened with these bc too. Currently, with the ortho-cycline i am skipping the last week of pills and just starting a new pack to avoid a period. This will work for about 2 mos (i won’t have a period), then i’ll have brown-mucus spotting for about a month or so. I have no cramping or any other s/s. On the other bc’s, when I took them normally (not skipping the last week), it was still like this. My periods have never been bad at all….no heavy bleeding, no cramping ever! It’s just they are so inconvenient and annoying. Also, when I have the brown-mucus spotting, I normally don’t even have to wear a pad at night because nothing happens. It’s only during the day when I am up and around. Also, the spotting is very minimal…I only need 1-2 panty liners a day….but, still this is not normal and it is very annoying!! Could there be something wrong? I’m getting a little concerned. I probably will make an appt with my gyn, but wanted to know what you thought before I made my appt. Thanks for your time!


The most important thing you can do is make your appointment with your doctor and tell him/her how you have been taking the pills. While I don’t advocate the use of contraceptives, it is wrong and dangerous to take prescriptions differently than how they have been prescribed.

Most women will have much lighter menstrual periods while using birth control pills, Depo shots, the patch, and the latest IUD as it comes with a progesterone. With all of these products, women will experience spotting and bleeding at times. With the monthly products, women should have a period. With the other products, she may have a period. More likely, she will have the prolonged spotting and light bleeding.

This prolonged spotting and light bleeding is usually from the effects of the chemicals in the products acting on the endometrium (lining of the uterus or womb). The continued exposure to the products allows the lining of the uterus to build up but then shed or flow irregularly. By taking the pills without stopping, you are not allowing the lining to shed normally and so end up with irregular spotting and bleeding.

The presence of irregular bleeding also brings up other questions. First, is there also an infection causing the spotting and bleeding? Is there another hormonal disorder underlying the effects of the pills? Is there an undiagnosed pregnancy at this time? These need to be investigated.

Another question is why you were started with the pills. It sounds from your letter that you were experiencing irregular cycles at the age of 15 and started on the pill. It is not unusual for a 15 year old to have irregular cycles. It is usually due to your young age and the irregular sleeping and eating habits of that age group. However, it can be the sign of underlying health disorders such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, thyroid disorders, or other related disorders.

Unfortunately, I have seen too many young women put on contraceptives for “irregular periods” when actually they have an underlying disease. The key is in diagnosing the problem, not masking it. The best way is to go off the contraceptives and get with a Natural Family Planning teacher who will teach you how to accurately chart your cycles. You and your doctor will have a much more precise way of checking your cycles with chart analysis, lab tests, and possibly ultrasound or surgery. Additionally, you will have an excellent health record to help you know when your period is going to start.

This is a much more healthy way of managing your health and fertility.

I hope that this will be of some help to you and your health.

Dr. Marsh

Answered By:

Gretchen Marsh, D.O.
Dr. Marsh graduated from Western University of Health Sciences in 1987 in Pomona, CA and is board certified in Family Medicine by the American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians. She has been certified as a NaProTechnology® Medical Consultant (NaPro) and Creighton model Fertility Care System (CrMS) teacher since 2001. She and her husband, Jon, have 5 sons and live in the Reno region, where she sees patients in person, in addition to her telehealth services offered via MyCatholicDoctor.com

Read more related questions

If I Missed a Shot Could I Get Pregnant?

I didn’t go for my injection the 4th of May. Is it possible for me to get pregnant?

The Pill: Class One Carcinogen

Ever since I heard that the birth control pill and other contraceptives were declared Level One carcinogens by the WHO at the “Spirit and Law…

The Pill to Regulate Cycles—Why Not?

I’ve had irregular periods all my life. I went to several doctors who only told me to wait it out for a couple of years…

How Long to Get Back to Normal After Stopping the Pill

I was just wondering what are the normal processes after coming off the pill? I decided to come off the pill because I was getting…

What to Expect After 24 Years on the Pill

I am a 42 year old female and I have been on birth control since I was 18 years old. I recently stopped taking them…

Post Pill and Unexplained Weight Gain

I went off the birth control pill in April, five months ago. I had been on the pill since I was 15 years old. I…

Is Tubal Ligation Indicated

I am 28 years old and pregnant with my 4th child. I have chronic kidney stones and currently have one 1 cm in my right…

Birth Control Pill Rollercoaster

I have looked at the question(s) regarding stopping BCP and the side effects, but I guess my worries aren’t about the ovulation, but rather the…

No Birth Control Pill Has Worked For Me

I have been on birth control since I was like 16. Every birth control I have been on, works for like a month and then…

Worried About Long Term Effects of My Birth Control

I am 18 years of age and just recently started having sex. My boyfriend and I came to a consensus that I start the Pill.…

Disagree on Vasectomy

I am a 36 year old mother of four children, ages 12, 8, 5 and 18 months. My husband and I have been married for…

Regret Yesterday’s Depo Injection

Hi, I had a question. I just received my first shot and last shot of Depo-Provera yesterday afternoon, and I read up on it all…

Create An Account

This is not a membership, this is an account for our CANFP website. If you decide you would like to sign up for one of our memberships later, you can do so with or without this account.

CANFP conducts varied outreach programs to the community at large, in addition to serving our members (NFP users, teachers, and advocates).

CANFP provides education programs tailored to the audience, not only on Natural Family Planning, but on the wide variety of topics related to it.

Programs can be continuing education for NFP Professionals, introductory information for a lay audience of youth or adults new to the topic, or specifically tailored to the interests of a professional audience, such as educators, physicians, or clergy. Content is faith based or secular, whichever is suitable for situation.

CANFP offers a variety of resources for those just discovering Natural Family Planning, as well as to meet the varied needs of our CANFP Members. Most resources are available to any visitors to our site. Some resources do ask you to register as a site user in order to access them, others are available only to CANFP Members.

CANFP statewide conferences, regional events offered in collaboration with local partners, events featuring CANFP speakers, or exhbit, as well as other events throughout the state of interest to our NFP community.  Come meet one of our experts at one of these events or book a speaker for your own upcoming event.

CANFP depends on the gifts, talents, and generosity of our members and supporters. The success of our mission depends on the collaboration of our members. Please consider contributing your time treasure and talent through CANFP to share the good news of NFP with the world! Both volunteer and contracted positions available.

Stay informed by joining our email list

* indicates required
Which role(s) best describes you?