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Could I still be pregnant despite a negative pregnancy test if I’m experiencing brown discharge?

Gynaecology Sexual Health Hormonal Conditions

Hi Doctor,

I am 20 years old and am sexually active with my boyfriend. I have PCOS, and last week had 5 days of brown discharge and 2 days of red blood discharge, but after that it has been 2 days and I am not seeing any blood discharge.

I am worried I might be pregnant, though I took a pregnancy test yesterday and it was negative. Please advice. Could I be pregnant?

DOCTOR’S ANSWER (2)

If you suspect there is a high chance of pregnancy, I would suggest repeating the urine pregnancy test in a week’s time. If it still negative then it is unlikely you are pregnant.

Irregular bleeding like what you describe is not uncommon in PCOS even in the absence of pregnancy.

I would recommend using contraception if you are sexually active.

In addition to preventing pregnancy, contraception like the oral contraceptive pill (OCP) will make your periods regular and light, and prevent endometrial hyperplasia (build up of womb lining) which is very common in PCOS.

The contraceptive pill will improve some of the other symptoms of PCOS like hirsutism or acne.

An alternative to the OCP would be the levonorgestrel releasing intrauterine device (Mirena), which:

  1. Prevents pregnancy,
  2. Prevents the development of endometrial hyperplasia
  3. Reduces menstrual irregularity commonly seen in PCOS

Dr Jasmine Mohd
MBBS, MMed, MRCOG, FAMS

W C CHENG & ASSOCIATES

339 THOMSON ROAD
THOMSON MEDICAL CENTRE BUILDING
#01-01 Singapore 307677


938 views 26 Jan 2018

In this instance, doctors would typically advise for you to repeat the pregnancy test 1 week later.

As long as you are sexually active (and especially if you had unprotected sex), there’s always a chance that you could be pregnant – pregnancy tests have a high false negative rate.

If the pregnancy test is done more than 2 weeks after the last time you had sex, and the test is repeated 1 week later, you are almost certainly NOT pregnant – assuming you performed the test correctly.

FYI: OTC pregnancy tests have a high rate of false negatives (telling you that you are not pregnant, when you are) because it can take a while for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) hormone (produced when you are pregnant) to reach measurable levels in your urine.

There are many causes of brown discharge (including STDs potentially, if accompanied with other symptoms like pain on peeing, bad smells etc), but the most common cause is old blood that took some time to be expelled.

PCOS exacerbates the likelihood of brown-looking discharge (old blood), as your periods are irregular to begin with.

Do follow up with a doctor/gynae for your PCOS, as there are effective treatment methods to address the symptoms of your PCOS, such as irregular periods, acne, excess hair, and elevated blood sugar.

Cheers


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922 views 26 Jan 2018
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