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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Withdrawal bleed..

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Author Topic: Withdrawal bleed..
throughbeingcool
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If you have sex a day or two before the withdrawal bleed is due, and the withdrawal bleed comes, can you be sure there is no pregnancy? Or does the fact that you had sex so close(a day or two before) to the withdrawal bleed change that?

Gracias.

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diamonds4lucy
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Hey there, throughbeingcool.

The term "withdrawl bleed" refers to the bleeding that occurs when stopping hormonal birth control (for example, the placebo pills in birth control pills cause a withdrawl bleed).

If a woman is taking hormonal birth control correctly, she is protected from pregnancy at any time.

If you meant a menstrual period: you cannot have a regular period and be pregnant.

Hope this has helped!

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throughbeingcool
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Thanks for the response. I know what a withdrawal bleed is and how birth control works. I was wondering that if there was somehow a failure in the birth control (missing/late pills), could the withdrawal bleed be used to indicate that there is no pregnancy, regardless of how soon after the risk occurred?

For example: if the risk occurred on Wednesday, and the bleed comes on Friday, can you be sure there is no pregnancy?

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Heather
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You can be pretty darn sure.

While pregnancy takes more than a couple of days to complete, it being able to complete once a period has begun would be pretty darn tricky, since the lining an egg needs to implant in is out the door. Make sense?

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throughbeingcool
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Haha, yeah that makes sense.

I'm assuming the word 'period' in your reply is interchangeable with 'withdrawal bleed'? Right?

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Heather
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Yep. Either way, you're shedding endometrial lining.

Understand, too, that why periods tend to be lighter with OCPs is that one of the ways it works is to keep that lining pretty thin in the first place. So, if the other two ways the pill works failed -- if it didn't suppress ovulation and didn't thicken mucus -- you'd have one more mode of protection even during the other time in your cycle since that lining should be too thin for implantation anyway.

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throughbeingcool
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I actually didn't know that. It is very reassuring. Are you saying that it stays that thin, even with a missed/late? Or did I mis-read?

To clarify, it's not my cycle - it's hers. No biggie, though.

One last question, since we both seem to be online at the same time: is there any need to worry about the sperm surviving in there until after the bleed? Or would they get flushed out with the lining?

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Heather
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Well, if someone takes pills late all the time and is missing them, any one or all of those modes of operation may not work. So, that's about how many missed pills we're talking about, and when and if they were made up for.

The sperm during a bleed are likely to get flushed out, yes. But even if they did not, they can only live in the vagina for a handful of days, and an egg isn't likely to be released within that period of time.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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throughbeingcool
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So her withdrawal bleed came on Friday night, like it was supposed to.

However, it is a bit lighter than usual. This is about her 5th or 6th month on the pill. Is this anything to be concerned about?

She is on loestrin 24 fe, if that matters.

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ASargent42
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One of the ways the pill works is to limit the amount of lining that is being built up. The less lining to begin with, the lighter the withdrawal bleed. So it sounds completely normal. [Smile]

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Amanda
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