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How to tell the difference between a period and ectopic pregnancy bleeding?

By Anonymous November 8, 2016 - 7:09am
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When ectopic pregnancy bleeding occurs is it anything similar to a period? How long does it start after a missed period? How long does it last? How can I tell the difference?

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EmpowHER Guest

I ovulated October 29th had sex with my husband and then my period came as expected on November 15th. The first two days was spotting and then the last three were medium, the last day there were clots during orgasm (sorry for tmi) now at November 22nd my breasts are still tender and certain foods make me nauseous, decided to take a test and BFP. I have had a ectopic 11 years ago and a miscarriage in January. I have no pains, but the period is throwing me off.. any insight???

November 23, 2017 - 12:12pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had my period on the scheduled date but it was very watery and pink and it lasted for 3 days instead of the normal 5 days. negative tests. Loss of appetite, tired, nauseas. Could it be ectopic?

November 20, 2017 - 3:51am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi! I'm having systems of tubal pregnancy. Like, sore breasts, abdominal pain, nausea, dizziness, from light to dark brown cycles lasting up to 2 weeks. My tubes been tied for almost 3 years. Could I be pregnant in my tubes?

September 3, 2017 - 4:04pm
EmpowHER Guest

I had sex (protected for the last 3/4 of the event) on June 13th. Around July 2nd, I started getting cramps and sore breasts. My period was due the 6th of July (and it came i think). It is a normal flow, bright red, but a little bit brown. Im currently having little sharp pains in my lower right side of my abdomen. I have a history of ovarian cysts. Is this what it is? Or could it be an ectopic pregnancy? I took a test and it came out negative, but I'm not sure if the bleeding I am having is menstrual or not.

July 7, 2017 - 11:02am
EmpowHER Guest

I had my "normal" period May 25th-May 31. I'm on birth control also. I started with light, brownish spotting on June 10th, it then turned into bright red on June 14th, back to purplish/brownish spotting again thought it was going away, but today I had a little heavier flow of purplish/brownish bleeding. I've noticed during working out shortness of breath, and well I have shoulder instability so pain is pretty much constant..any thoughts on ectopic pregnancy?

June 16, 2017 - 10:13am
EmpowHER Guest

Hi. i just feel like im pregnant, after i stop taking pills, weeks after my breast start to feel pain which last for 3 days then after 3 days my breast loooks bigger than the usual. then i feel little cramps in my abdomen, then there was mild bloods comming out for 1 day.. i had a period by the next 2 weeks which is the usual days of my period but it really hurts.. after my period, i have this feeling of cramps again. is it maybe ectopic pregnancy? or just a result of sudden untaking of pills?

May 31, 2017 - 8:59pm
EmpowHER Guest

Hi, My period came 2 weeks early after taking a plan B pill. It was little heavy the first 4 daysand I've now been having a light bleeding/ spotting for 11 days. For th last 7 days it has been a brown color with occasional fresh normal color period blood coming out. Should I be afraid this is an epitomic pregnancy?

May 25, 2017 - 1:05am
Guide (reply to Anonymous)

Hello Anonymous,

No. This early period is a result or side effect of taking Plan B. The pill will cause changes in the menstrual cycle, such as your next period starts earlier or later than expected.


May 25, 2017 - 9:17am

Hello Anonymous,

Welcome to EmpowHER. Thank you for reaching out to us about how to tell the difference between a period and ectopic pregnancy bleeding.

An ectopic pregnancy occurs when the fertilized egg attaches itself in a place other than inside the uterus. Almost all ectopic pregnancies occur in the fallopian tube and are thus sometimes called tubal pregnancies. The fallopian tubes are not designed to hold a growing embryo; thus, the fertilized egg in a tubal pregnancy cannot develop properly.

Signs and symptoms may vary from woman to woman, but the most common indicators are a missed period, abdominal pain, and vaginal bleeding. However, many women have no symptoms at all until the ectopic pregnancy ruptures.

The bleeding may look like the start of a light period. The blood may be red or brown, like the color of dried blood, and it may be continuous or intermittent, heavy, or light.

Symptoms typically develop around the sixth week of pregnancy. This is about two weeks after a missed period if you have regular periods. However, symptoms may develop at any time between 4 and 10 weeks of pregnancy.

Symptoms can also start about the time a period is due. At first you may think the symptoms are just a late period.

Abdominal or pelvic pain or tenderness may be felt only on one side, but the pain can be anywhere in your abdomen or pelvis. It may be mild and intermittent early on, but it can also be sudden, persistent, and severe. It may be dull or sharp, and you may also have nausea and vomiting. You may find that the pain gets worse when you're active or when you move your bowels or cough. If the fallopian tube has ruptured, your abdomen may be distended and swollen.

Pain in your shoulder, especially when you lie down, is a red flag for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, and it's critical to get medical attention immediately. The cause of the pain is internal bleeding, which irritates nerves that go to your shoulder area.

An ectopic pregnancy can be tricky to diagnose. Your obstetrician may suspect an ectopic pregnancy if you have pain during an abdominal or pelvic exam at your first prenatal visit, or if he/she detects a mass.

Anonymous, if a woman is having the above mentioned symptoms, she should go the emergency room of her local hospital immediately.


November 8, 2016 - 9:38am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Maryann Gromisch RN)

How are you suppose to know if you have missed a period if you get ectopic pregnancy bleeding? How can you tell the difference? I'm really confused

November 8, 2016 - 11:04am
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