You Could Lose Some Vitamin D
A recent study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism found that many women experience a drop in vitamin D levels when they stop taking birth control pills. This is especially problematic for women who are trying to conceive, since vitamin D helps support the fetal skeleton in pregnancy. When talking to your doctor about going off birth control, ask about ways to increase your daily vitamin D intake.
How Much Does It Cost
When budgeting for birth control, be sure to factor in the cost of the drug or device, along with any related doctors appointments.
You might be able to get your birth control for a lot less or even for free depending on:
- where you live
- whether you have health insurance
- if you qualify for Medicaid or another government program
Will My Daughter Start Having Sex If She Goes On Birth Control Pills For Acne Or Any Other Medical Reason
Your daughter will most likely not start having sex if she goes on the Pill for reasons other than birth control. If she goes on the Pill for one of the medical reasons, she is probably just thinking about treating whatever the problem is. Her decision to have sex will likely be completely independent from her decision to go on the Pill at this time. Your daughter will choose to start having sex when she is ready, which involves much more than just when birth control is available.
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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.
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.
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What You Should Know About Breakthrough Bleeding With Birth Control
Breakthrough bleeding rarely signals a health problem. But your ob-gyn can help.
Breakthrough bleeding is a common concern among women using hormonal birth control. Its usually a small amount of spotting at a time when youre not expecting your period, though some women have heavier bleeding. Most often, my patients come in saying they feel fine, but are noticing a little spotting when they use the bathroom. Should they be worried?
I reassure them that breakthrough bleeding rarely signals a health problem. And it doesnt mean your birth control isnt effective at preventing pregnancy. But there are ways we can try to fix it.
Heres what I tell my patients about birth control and breakthrough bleeding.
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.
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Delayed Return To Ovulation
Hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, implants, intrauterine devices , and injections, work to prevent pregnancy in several ways. One of the ways they work is by making ovulation less likely. Ovulation is the release of an egg from the ovaries.
When a person is not using hormonal contraception, ovulation typically happens once per menstrual cycle. If a sperm does not fertilize the egg, shifts in hormone levels trigger a period.
Because people using hormonal birth control typically do not ovulate, it may take time for regular ovulation to return. Until this happens, a person may have no periods at all.
The Choice To Use Birth Control Is Yours
We want our readers to have the best, most up-to-date information so they can make decisions that work well for them.
Whether you choose to stay on the Pill or to come off it, supporting your body through optimal nutrition and lifestyle should be high on your list. The better you treat yourself while on the Pill, the easier your transition will be when you do inevitably come off it. Plus, you will already have the positive health measures in place to help you overcome hormonal imbalance symptoms in perimenopause and beyond.
Cibula, D., et al. 2010. Hormonal contraception and risk of cancer. Hum. Reprod. Update, 16 , 631650. URL : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20543200 .
Figueiredo, J., et al. 2010. Oral contraceptives and postmenopausal hormones and risk of contralateral breast cancer among BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutation carriers and noncarriers: The WECARE Study. Breast Cancer Res. Treat., 120 , 175183. URL: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2835545/?tool=pubmed .
Rosenberg, L., et al. 2009. A case-control study of oral contraceptive use and incident breast cancer. Am. J. Epidemiol., 169 , 473479. URL: http://aje.oxfordjournals.org/content/169/4/473.long .
Lee, E., et al. 2007. Effect of reproductive factors and oral contraceptives on breast cancer risk in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and noncarriers: Results from a population-based study. Cancer Epidemiol. Biomarkers Prev., 17 , 31703178. URL: http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/17/11/3170.long .
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Some Women Are More Likely To Experience It
Breakthrough bleeding happens more often in women who smoke cigarettes and in women who dont take their birth control pills consistently. Some medications, like emergency contraception pills, also can cause irregular bleeding. Having certain infections, such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, also can increase risk.
Its also more common when women who use birth control pills or the ring take a continuous dose of hormones to skip their periods altogether. One more factor: Benign growths such as uterine fibroids can cause irregular bleeding thats unrelated to birth control.
Some Methods Might Require A Pelvic Exam
Some birth control methods require a pelvic exam, including intrauterine devices . These are often prescribed to people with heavy or prolonged periods.
Pelvic exams can be traumatic for survivors of sexual abuse or triggergender dysphoria in transgender people. This may affect your decision when reviewing different methods and any associated prerequisites.
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What Is Abnormal Menstruation
Most women have menstrual periods that last four to seven days. A woman’s period usually occurs every 28 days, but normal menstrual cycles can range from 21 days to 35 days.
Examples of menstrual problems include:
- Periods that occur less than 21 days or more than 35 days apart
- Missing three or more periods in a row
- Menstrual flow that is much heavier or lighter than usual
- Periods that last longer than seven days
- Periods that are accompanied by pain, cramping, nausea or vomiting
- Bleeding or spotting that happens between periods, after menopause or following sex
Examples of abnormal menstruation include the following:
- Amenorrhea is a condition in which a womans periods have stopped completely. The absence of a period for 90 days or more is considered abnormal unless a woman is pregnant, breastfeeding, or going through menopause . Young women who haven’t started menstruating by age 15 or 16 or within three years after their breasts begin to develop are also considered to have amenorrhea.
- Oligomenorrhea refers to periods that occur infrequently.
- Dysmenorrhea refers to painful periods and severe menstrual cramps. Some discomfort during the cycle is normal for most women.
- Abnormal uterine bleeding may apply to a variety of menstrual irregularities, including: a heavier menstrual flow a period that lasts longer than seven days or bleeding or spotting between periods, after sex, or after menopause.
You May Bleed A Few Days
If you stop taking a combination hormonal birth control pillwhich has both estrogen and progesteronesome tissue sheds off, which can cause a light bleed, Alyssa Dweck, MD, an ob-gyn and author of The Complete A to Z for Your V, tells Health. This is also why you get a fake” period on the Pill during the week you take the placebo pills, she explains. A withdrawal bleed, by definition, is progesterone being withdrawn and the bleeding that occurs, says Dr. Dweck. A withdrawal bleed is not technically, by definition, a period because it is not a result of ovulation. After your withdrawal bleed, you still have to wait for your real period to come.
Think that because youve been on birth control for 10 years its going to take forever to get your period back? That might not be the case: Generally, the side effects of the Pill and the impact on suppressing the hormone pathways are rapidly reversible, Samantha Kempner, MD, an ob-gyn and an assistant professor at the University of Michigan Medical School, tells Health. Even with long-term use of the combination birth control pill, most women can expect to resume normal periods quickly.
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Still no period after three months? See your docthey may want to check for issues like a thyroid condition or hormonal imbalances that could be keeping your period MIA.
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Does My Daughter Need To Take A Break From The Pill
There is no medical reason that your daughter would need to take a break from the Pill. There are no medical benefits from taking a break. If your daughter were to stop taking the Pill and then go on it again, she could have the same side effects that she already experienced during the first few months of pill use. Also, your daughter would not experience the many medical benefits that the Pill offers.
Does The Birth Control Pill Cause Heart Attacks Or Strokes
There is no increase in the risk of heart attack or stroke in healthy young women who take birth control pills and dont smoke. If your daughter is a smoker, encourage her to quit smoking. She can still take the Pill if she smokes, but if she quits smoking, shell be healthier for life and her risks from taking the Pill will be less.
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Getting Your Period Again Once Off The Pill
Every woman going off the Pill should consider her cycle when she makes decisions about other birth control methods. Importantly, the bleeding pattern you had while on the Pill does not predict what will occur when you go off.
If you stop taking birth control hormones and do not get a period, dont just assume youve entered menopause or that youre pregnant ! As I mentioned above, a woman can sometimes take several months to settle back into her natural hormonal rhythm.
If six months to a year goes by without a period, talk to your doctor about menopause and ask for an FSH test. If 18 months go by without a period and your blood test indicates menopause, it is safe to assume that you will not get pregnant. Until then, again, if you do not want to become pregnant, you should practice some form of birth control or abstinence.
How Safe Are Birth Control Pills
Most women can use this method safely without any problems or complications. However, as mentioned above, some medical conditions or medications can increase the risk of side effects.
Do not consume any pills if you are pregnant or have breast cancer.
Do not take combination pills if you need to be on prolonged bed rest or have any of the following:
- Serious heart problems, angina, heart attack
- Vein inflammation or blood clots
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Can Birth Control Help Treat Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a painful condition caused when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus. The uterine lining sheds during menstruation. Uterine lining growing outside the uterus has nowhere to go, and this causes extremely painful cramps. And, as tissue builds up over time, the tissue can become swollen and inflamed.
Birth control with high levels of progestin is a common treatment for endometriosis. The pill can be used to skip your period, which keeps the uterine lining from shedding and stops painful endometriosis symptoms. Progestin also thins the uterine lining, which can lessen painful symptoms when you do get your period.
How Effective Is The Pill
This birth control method is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, when taken correctly at the same time every day. This allows the correct amount of hormones to enter your body every 24 hours.
- Out of 100 women, less than 1 will get pregnant if the pill is taken as directed
- Out of 100 women, 9 will get pregnant if taken incorrectly or not taken every day
Diarrhea and vomiting can also reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. Talk to your health care professional if this continues and use a backup method until you find a permanent solution.
In addition, certain supplements and medicines can reduce the effectiveness of the pill. Some of these include:
- St Johns Wort
- Antifungal griseofulvin
It is best to discuss birth control options with your doctor or physician before taking any. They will know which medications you are on and if any of them will reduce the effectiveness of the pill.
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Menopause When Youre On Birth Control
Thereâs no test to tell if youâve gone through menopause yet or not. The best way to tell is through your period.
Youâve most likely gone through menopause if youâre over 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 1 year, or if youâre under 50 years old and havenât had a period in more than 2 years. But you may not be able to tell if youâve reached menopause if youâre still on birth control.
Hormonal birth control may hide some of the symptoms of menopause, such as an abnormal period, hot flashes, or night sweats. If you take combination pills , even after menopause, you may continue to bleed similarly to how you would on your period. This can make it hard to tell if youâve gone through menopause and whether youâre still able to get pregnant.
Combination Birth Control Pills
These pills come in 28-day or 21-day packs depending on the type and brand of birth control. Both sets of pills come with 21 active pills in which contain hormones. The extra 7 pills in the 28-day pack contain reminder or sugar pills with no hormones. These extra 7 pills serve as a reminder so that you dont forget to take pills on a daily basis. You are not required to take them, but they will help you maintain the habit of taking a pill at the same time every day.
Take one pill on a daily basis, at the same time each day, for the duration of three weeks. On the fourth week, no pill is taken . After 4 weeks, open a new package and continue the cycle.
Most women get their period during the 4th week, when they are taking the reminder pills. However, experiences vary depending on body type. You may notice spotting throughout the month or you may not get your period at all.
Speak with your doctor if you are concerned with irregular periods while taking birth control pills.
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When Should I See My Doctor About Irregular Bleeding
Since every womans body reacts differently to these birth control methods, it can be hard to know when irregular bleeding is abnormal. You should see your doctor if you experience abnormal bleeding:
- And are pregnant
- And have a lot of pain during your period
- After intercourse
- And you have been using the same method of birth control for more than three months
- That is unexpected
- And you are younger than 8 years old or have no other signs of puberty and have vaginal bleeding
You should also see your doctor if you are taking a combined contraceptive pill and your periods have stopped completely during the week of placebo pills, although in many cases this can be normal.
There are treatments available for irregular bleeding that can help, or your doctor may recommend changes to your birth control method.