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Ask Dr. Norm S. Your Own Question
Dr. Norm S.
Dr. Norm S., Board Certified OB/GYN
Category: OB GYN
Satisfied Customers: 11235
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in OB/GYN practice, including teaching students. Fellow of American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
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I have PCOS and have had light bleeding. Its brownish color

Customer Question

I have PCOS and have had light bleeding. Its brownish color and not heavy enough for a period. I get my periods every 3 months and this is my thrid month. The light bleeding started Sunday and has been followed by backache and mild cramping. What can this be? Can it be my PCOS acting up?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: OB GYN
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
With PCOS ovulation may or may not occur. When you don't ovulate, the uterine lining doesn't clean itself off when you have a period, so further bleeding or spotting can occur. That's probably what's happened. Or else the natural buildup of the uterine lining can result in spotting when it goes on for 2-3 months, even if you do ovulate every 3 months. Since your periods only come every 3 months, it may be better to bring on a period about every 2 months using some progesterone pills. That would prevent excess buildup of the uterine lining and keep you from having the light bleeding like you're having now. An alternative is taking birth control pills, which bring on a period each month, plus prevent any excess male hormones coming from your ovaries. Best wishes.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

But when I do get my periods it is heavier than what it is now. This is light enough that I don't have to wear a pad or tampon and I do. Also when I do have my period its reddish in color and not brown. This is the first time in 12 years that I have had tis kind of bleeding. I know my periods and this is not a normal one.

Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
I'm not saying this is a period. I'm saying that it's from a buildup of the uterine lining due to infrequent ovulation. It's brown because blood turns brown when it comes out slowly. This type of bleeding/spotting can go off and on for some time, and signifies that the uterine lining has gotten too thick.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
then its not that I am pregnant? Or should I keep that as an option seeing as my fiance and I are trying to conceive.
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
Pregnancy is an option, but it's probably not likely. A pregnancy test will usually be positive 2 weeks after conception, so that should tell you. Since you'd like to conceive I would see your doctor for some help. With periods only every 3 months, your chances aren't very good unless you know exactly when you're ovulating. Your doctor can give your Clomid pills, which would help you to ovulate each month. That will greatly increase your chances of getting pregnant. Your doctor could also do a blood test to be sure this isn't a pregnancy, since if it were a threatened miscarriage, occasionally a pregnancy test may be negative.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I am in between OB's because my last OB told me to lose weight and that I NEVER ovulate because of my PCOS. If I do not ovulate how do I have periods? Does that mean that women with PCOS do not ovulate unless they take clomid or some kind of ovulation inducing drug? That we can not get pregnant unless we take those?
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
Women with PCOS tend to not ovulate, but some will ovulate, at least at times. Women often will have periods even though they don't ovulate. Usually a period after ovulation will be different (more cramps, more PMS, more controlled), but often it's hard to know if ovulation preceded a period, without doing tests to check for ovulation. Most women with PCOS will ovulate with Clomid, and some will ovulate on their own. There's a lot of variation in PCOS. Many women with PCOS have gotten pregnant on their own, although the odds are against it.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

So why is this the first time that I have had this light bleeding? I an used to the backaches and cramps. But the light bleeding is what is getting me. Normally I have a heavy cycle.

Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
I'm sure it won't be the last time. Perhaps you have been ovulating every 3 months up to now. This isn't a period. It's bleeding from an overbuilt uterine lining.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I was on birth control and I have had bleeding from an overbuilt uterine wall and it was heavy. I bled for 4 months straight. That is the reason why I am not on brith control now. I was on Yaz. Is there another birth control pill that is different or are they all the same?
Expert:  Dr. Norm S. replied 7 years ago.
There are differences between the pills, although they are similar. Sometimes one pill works well for a particular woman when others have caused problems. It's rare to have heavy bleeding after being on the pill for a while (any combination pill). Since you want to get pregnant, you probably wouldn't want to use the pill anyway.