Which Birth Control Method Is Most Effective
The most effective birth control method is abstinence however, this may not be the preferred method for many. Alternatively, the most effective birth control options are the implant and IUDs , especially when paired with a condom.
The implant is a small device that is inserted into your arm and slowly releases the hormone progestin into your body. It lasts for up to four years.
Non-hormonal and hormonal IUDs are available as small devices. The IUD is placed into your uterus, lasting up to 12 years.
Implants and IUDs are considered more effective than the pill as there is no human error in remembering to take your medication. If taken perfectly, the contraceptive pill , shot , vaginal ring , and patch can all be highly effective. Speak to your doctor about which method will work with your medical history and lifestyle.
Remember that birth control pills only protect from pregnancy. They do not protect against sexually transmitted infections or diseases. Thats why its always recommended to use them in conjunction with condoms.
Abnormal Uterine Bleeding Associated With Hormonal Contraception
SARINA SCHRAGER, M.D., University of Wisconsin Medical School, Madison, Wisconsin
Am Fam Physician. 2002 May 15 65:2073-2081.
Abnormal uterine bleeding is a common side effect of all forms of hormonal contraception. Although this bleeding is rarely dangerous, many women find it worrisome. In fact, women frequently discontinue hormonal contraception because of irregular bleeding and other side effects.13 One study4 found that 32 percent of 1,657 women who started taking oral contraceptive pills discontinued them within six months 46 percent of the discontinuations were due to side effects.
Most women who discontinue hormonal contraception do not use another contraceptive method and are therefore at high risk for unintended pregnancy. An estimated one third of the 3 million unintended pregnancies in the United States each year are related to the misuse or discontinuation of OCPs.5
Birth Control Options To Regulate Periods
There is no exact method to choosing a birth control option to regulate periods. Some are better for women with heavy bleeding, and they are specified below, but in general, use of a specific type is generally based on personal preference and what you and your doctor decide is best for your reproductive health.
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Irregular Is Different For Everyone
The most important thing for patients to understand is your period and your regularity is different from other peoples, says Dr. Ying Zhang, a family medicine doctor who sees patients at the UW Neighborhood Northgate Clinic and the Family Medicine Clinic at Harborview Medical Center.
Maybe youve heard that a normal cycle is between 28 and 30 days. Or that your period should last four or five days max.
This may be true for some people, but in reality periods can vary a lot more and still be considered normal.
Cycles that last as few as 21 days or as long as 40 days are possible, Zhang says.
In terms of length, a normal period usually lasts between two and seven days.
So if you occasionally skip a period or your period comes late some months, theres probably nothing to be worried about. Still, if youre thrown off by your periods irregularity and want to get a better sense for any patterns well, theres an app for that.
A lot of people use period tracking apps, which is helpful to understand what is happening with their cycle and the duration, Zhang says.
Your Period Can Change Over Time
Maybe you used to get a heavy flow during your periods, but now theyre lighter. Or maybe some periods are lighter and others are a little heavier. This is pretty normal, Zhang says.
It depends on whats going on with the lining in your uterus, she says.
The time between each cycle can also vary: Maybe one month its 28 days, then the next its 30 days.
Your PMS symptoms can vary each cycle, too, depending on hormone fluctuations, Zhang says.
Its not uncommon for your period to become shorter as you get older, too. In adolescence, periods tend to be longer and a little heavier, then ease up after a few years. Menstruation changes in the years before menopause and can be more irregular after pregnancy.
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Number : Because Of Physical Or Emotional Stress
So there’s this thing called the hypothalamus, which is a gland in your brain. If something’s wrong, your hypothalamus can’t kick off the menstrual cycle, and you won’t ovulate.
Characteristics that can affect your hypothalamus and lead to missing your period include:
Emotional and mental stress
Weight loss and low body weight
Deficient intake of food/eating disorders
Too much exercise
Researchers often see this happening in adolescent girls, where the common triggers are stress, weight loss, and excessive exercise. Girls at this time of their lives can undergo common life events that bring a lot of emotional and mental toll, like changing schools or becoming sexually active. Disordered eating during adolescence is also common.
What Health Problems Can Irregular Periods Indicate
Two of the health problems mentioned above, thyroid disease and polycystic ovary syndrome , can cause irregular periods.
Another health problem that can cause irregular periods is uterine fibroids, which are benign lumps that grow on the uterus. Some of the symptoms of this illness are heavy periods, cramping, painful sex, and an urge to urinate.
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Number : Is It Normal To Bleed At All While On Birth Control Pills
The answer is yes scientists designed the pill so you’d bleed during the placebo week. This was the one feature of combined oral contraceptives that scientists let remain unchanged over the decades.
That said, you will probably have unpredictable bleeding patterns during the first few months of taking any birth control method. The National Institutes of Health says that irregular bleeding can happen when you take hormonal birth control like birth control pills or IUDs.
Here are 3 ways to describe how unpredictable periods can be on birth control pills:
You may have your period on birth control during active pills .
You may have spotting, also called breakthrough bleeding, during the first few months. Doctors say this is the most common symptom when taking any brand.
You may have a missed period on birth control. But that doesn’t automatically mean your pregnant.
This unpredictability is usually not forever. As your body adjusts to birth control pills, you’ll probably just have bleeding during the regularly scheduled programming when you take those “sugar pills” that have no hormones in them. But if you’re unsure, it’s always a good idea to check with your health care provider about it.
But get this. It’s not medically necessary for you to have this scheduled week of bleeding. We’ll explain more later.
Birth Control Pills And Mini
Birth control pills are hormonal contraceptives. They contain either a combination of estrogen and progestin , or just progestin .
Women whose main reason for taking birth control pills is to manage heavy periods often choose to take the mini-pill. The low-dose progestin-only mini-pill is taken every day, without any breaks. This usually causes menstrual bleeding to become irregular, and sometimes women may even stop getting their period.
Combination pills are mainly used as contraceptives. Most women take the combination pill for 21 days per cycle. The bleeding starts during the seven-day break that follows. Low-dose combination pills can be taken continuously too. Then the woman usually stops getting her period completely, and only has light spotting at the most.
But combination pills have not yet been approved for continuous use in Germany. So if they are used in this way it is considered to be off-label use . Its important to discuss the possible consequences of this type of use with your doctor.
The possible side effects of birth control pills include fluid retention, headaches and breast tenderness. The combination pill in particular increases the likelihood of blood clots , so women who have a greater risk of thrombosis are advised not to take it.
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Using The Pill To Regulate Periods: How It Works
More than half of all birth control pill users in the U.S. take the pill for purposes other than or in addition to contraception. Doctors often prescribe hormonal contraceptives to manage menstrual cramps or regulate periods.
Lets look at the science behind these uses of hormonal contraception, together with the European Board and College of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Number : What’s Normal For A Period On Birth Control
The UK National Health Service says that irregular bleeding, like bleeding between periods, is common when you first start to take hormonal contraception like birth control pills, the patch, or the shot (Depo-Proveraâ¢.
Here are some facts about bleeding irregularities when you take birth control pills:
Overall, birth control pills should decrease how much you bleed.
Irregular bleeding is a common side effect during the first 3 to 6 months of taking the pill. It’s so common that 30-50% of women experience it.
The good news is that irregular bleeding will lessen or go away with time, usually after 3 months, when only 10-30% of women experience unscheduled bleeding.
It may be helpful to describe what bothersome bleeding can look like when you’re on birth control:
Unscheduled bleeding when you’re bleeding between periods or while taking active pills
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Combined Birth Control Pill
This contraceptive pill combines estrogen and progesterone and is taken for cycles of 21 days. During the following seven-day break, menstruation will occur. The pill manipulates your natural hormones to prevent ovulation, and any bleeding during the pill break is withdrawal bleeding induced by the removal of synthetic hormones. Likewise, with low-dose combination pills, which are taken continuously, a woman usually stops getting a period and only has light spotting at most.
Can Hormonal Contraceptives Be Part Of A Menorrhagia Treatment Plan
Hormonal contraceptives help to lower overall bleeding episodes. Because of this, hormonal contraception may be especially helpful as part of menorrhagia treatment.
Plus, these birth control methods are a reversible and have less serious side effects than other treatment options. The alternative menorrhagia treatment is a surgical procedure called endometrial ablation. This procedure leads to sterilization.
You may have chosen to use hormonal birth control methods because it is effective and easy of use. But hormonal birth control has non-contraceptive benefits as well, one of which is that certain formulations can be part of a menorrhagia treatment plan.
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How To Choose Birth Control For Irregular Periods
Irregular periods are characterized by infrequent or too frequent periods missed periods painful periods or a change in blood flow. Many people treat irregular periods with birth control, but what type of birth control is right for you?
Continue reading to discover various birth control options to regulate periods so that you can have a more predictable menstrual cycle from here on.
The Birth Control Pill
One of the most common treatments for period related issues is birth control pills. If you have an irregular period, the pill is your best bet for regulating it. It can also help with lightening very heavy periods because the amount of hormones in the pill is so low. This will also help you avoid the risk of getting anemia.\
Plus, for a lot of women, birth control pills allow the for the option to control when you have your period. Have a fun beach weekend planned and are about to get your period? No problem.
The pill can help you postpone that period until next month.
The pill is also used for curing those super painful cramps and alleviating some PMS symptoms, which is the reason most doctors prescribe it. The pill has also been known to be helpful in treating acne . You may still experience some irregular spotting during the first few months, which is more common if youre taking progestin-only pills.
Warning: Spotting can also result from forgetting to take the pill, even if youre only a few hours late taking it. So, if youre a forgetful person, this might not be the best option for you.
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Recap: Your Period On Birth Control
We get it: We’ve been taught that getting your period is a natural sign of femininity and means that everything is working normally for having babies. But the truth is that having your period on birth control is not the same thing as natural menstruation. Instead, it’s a different beast altogether.
*Editor’s Note: If you’re having irregular periods or spotting and you’re NOT taking birth control, then you should follow up with your doctor.
You should know that:
Changes to your periods are typical when you’re taking birth control pills. Make sure you’re taking your pills as directed.
Unless you have other concerning symptoms, not having your period while taking the placebo birth control pills does not automatically mean you’re pregnant. However, you can check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Once you stop using birth control, then your periods should go back to normal, and your chances of getting pregnant will return to normal.
As always, if you have bothersome irregular bleeding, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. There may be a way to change your method, or they can let you know if it’s something that will go away anytime soon. It’s super helpful to track what’s going so you can present that to your doctor. Believe us, they like data, so record the dates it’s happening and what it looks/feels like. You’ve got this!
Can I Use Birth Control Pills If I Have Heavy Periods
Generally, yes. Birth control pills should not have an adverse effect on heavy periods and can help, as described above. However, when you initially have a heavy period, you should consult with your doctor to determine the cause. Your physician may advise you to alter the kind of birth control pill you are taking to help address the heavy period.
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Tracking Ovulation And Irregular Cycles
Ovulation can be a tricky thing to track and predict. Some methods, like the rhythm method, use a calculation that places ovulation day in the middle of a 28-day-cycle, predicting that we are most fertile around day 14. Since most women do not have a 28-day cycle and we all have irregularities in our cycles to some degree, this static ovulation day isnt going to be very helpful in finding the fertile window.
So what about tracking cervical mucus? This secretion is no secret to those following fertility, but relying on cervical mucus to find the fertile window is a difficult science. Discharge is open to interpretation and varies from woman to woman. Without clinical training, predicting fertility from mucus alone can be extremely difficult.
Another option when it comes to finding the fertile window is the basal body temperature method. The hormone progesterone causes a slight increase in body temperature after ovulation. This can only be measured with a special basal thermometer. However, the rise in BBT is only visible after the fertile window has closed. This is where ovulation prediction comes in.
Natural Cycles uses an algorithm that learns the pattern of your BBT throughout your cycle and can predict when ovulation will happen and allocate green days and red days based on this prediction. Knowing this fertile window allows the user to either plan or prevent pregnancy depending on her goal.