How To Choose The Right Birth Control For Cramps
Hormonal birth control contains either a combination of synthetic versions of estrogen and progestin or a progestin-only formula.
Progestin-only pills are not as consistent as combination birth control pills at preventing ovulation. In fact, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians estimates that 40% of women who use progestin-only pills will continue to ovulate.
That’s why Dr. Kecia Gaither, MD, an OB-GYN and Director of Perinatal Services at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln recommends women take combination contraceptive pills that have both estrogen and progestin. Other combination methods that contain both estrogen and progestin are the contraceptive patch and the vaginal ring.
That said, progestin-only birth control may still help with cramping even if it doesn’t prevent you from ovulating. Because it can still thin your endometrium and reduce the level of hormones, called prostaglandins, that cause your uterus to contract in the first place.
The same goes for progestin IUDs , which keep your endometrial lining so thin that cramping and bleeding may disappear altogether.
If you’re going the progestin-only route, your doctor will likely recommend the mini-pill, Depo-Provera shot, or hormonal IUDs such as Mirena.
How To Stop Periods Permanently
The period or menstruation cycle is normal and harmless. Your period is a natural way to cleanse your reproductive system. When occurring irregularly, it can be a sign of an underlying condition. Stopping your period permanently is a serious decision that needs lots of consideration. This is not to say that you cannot stop your period permanently.
If your reasons for stopping your period are not a medical emergency, then you might want to reconsider such a decision, especially for a young girl. You might opt for semi-permanent methods such as using contraceptives and other natural methods.
If you are, however certain that you would wish to stop your period permanently, then you can try the following:
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Lower Your Risk Of Some Cancers
Taking birth control pills can raise your odds of getting some cancers but lower the chance youâll get others. Women who have taken birth control have a 30% to 50% lower risk of ovarian cancer than women who have never taken the pill. The longer you take it, the less likely you are to get this type of cancer. The lower risk lasts up to 30 years after you stop taking the pill.
Women who have taken birth control pills also have a lower risk of endometrial cancer than those who havenât. It lowers your odds of getting this type of cancer by at least 30%. The longer you take the pill, the more your risk goes down. This benefit also lasts for many years after you stop taking the pill. Growing evidence also suggests the pill may lower your risk of developing colorectal cancer while you take it.
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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.
How The Pill Works On Symptoms
Because the pill delivers everything in steady doses, it can make your hormone levels more predictable and your period symptoms less unpleasant.
Taking the birth control pill can get rid of many unpleasant symptoms, including:
Irregular periods. Many women donât have regular cycles. If you arenât producing enough progesterone, for example, your cycle could be a few days longer. With the pill, thereâs no more guessing when your period might start. Itâll be the same day every month.
Heavy periods. The progesterone in the pill thins out the uterine lining, making your periods lighter.
Cramps. This is the most common menstrual symptom. Cramps are caused by too much of the hormone prostaglandin, which makes the uterus contract. The pill can get rid of this issue.
Endometriosis. The birth control pills help control estrogen, which causes the buildup of endometrial tissue each month. Itâs the pillâs exact dose of progesterone that helps reduce or even eliminate endometriosis, and the pain that comes with it.
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Birth Control Pill Protocol
Birth control pills and vaginal ring use can help improve menstrual cramps, reduce menstrual flow, help PMS, improve acne, regulate your periods, reduce your risk for ovarian and uterine cancer, relieve perimenopausal symptoms and prevent pregnancy.
Periods on birth control are not true periods, but called withdrawal bleeding. That is because the birth control pill or ring is withdrawn for a period to occur. Many women are now using birth control continuous to relieve menstrual problems and for convenience. It is safe not to have a period as long as you are on birth control.
So Whats The Problem Exactly
Periods like this may be dysmenorrheaa fancy medical term for pain with menstruation. There are several possible causes of severe period pain, some of which have special treatment options.
The cells from the lining of the uterus may be growing into the muscles of the uterus or on other organs in the body .
The muscle of the uterus may be growing fibroids.
The uterus may be releasing too much of a substance called prostaglandins, causing its muscles to contract irregularly and leading to big-time pain.
The good news is that you dont have to put up with this pain! If youre having abnormally bad periods, talk to your health care provider about what might be causing the pain and how to treat it. There are a few things you can do to make your periods less painful, shorter, or go away altogether.
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Using Pain Relievers For Period Cramps
One safe, quick option to get rid of or soothe period cramps is over the counter pain relief such as ibuprofen .
Various clinical studies have shown that ibuprofen can be a super effective and fast way to eliminate cramps. Ibuprofen has also been shown to be more effective for period cramps than pain relievers with the ingredient acetaminophen . The National Institutes of Health says Aspirin or Ibuprofen are usually adequate to reduce menstrual pain.
Doctors say it’s ideal to start taking pain relievers slightly in advance of the cramps.* If the timing doesn’t work out and you can’t plan ahead, doctors say that pain relievers work best when taken at the first sign of pain from your periods.
*Note: Before you take any new medication, read the directions, and take as directed. We recommend you speak with your nurse or doctor if you’re currently on other medicines, have a health condition, or are not sure if this medication is safe for you.
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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The Birth Control Pill
Oral contraceptives contain hormones that stop ovulation. If you use them perfectly, theyÃ¢re a great way to prevent pregnancy, with a 99.7% effectiveness rate. But in reality, a lot of women forget to take them every day, so the typical use rate is only 91%. Other reasons why your pill might not work include:
- YouÃ¢re vomiting or have diarrhea for more than 48 hours.
- You take the antibiotic rifampin, the antifungal griseofulvin, certain anti-seizure meds, or the herbal supplement St. JohnÃ¢s wort.
- YouÃ¢re obese. Some research suggests that the birth control pill doesnÃ¢t work as well in very overweight women.
If you have any of these issues, talk to your doctor about using condoms as a backup method, or switch to another form of birth control entirely.
If you skip a dose, take it as soon as you can. If youÃ¢ve missed more than two pills, take them as soon as you remember, and continue to take pills daily while you use a backup method of birth control like condoms for the next week. If youÃ¢re on the mini-pill or the progestin-only pill, take it within the same 3 hours every day .
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Fewer Symptoms More Happy
As well as helping balance estrogen and progesterone levels, the pill and its cohorts also have one very specific added benefit: Predictability. If, like so many of us, your cycle is best described as a law unto itself, taking the pill removes all of that anxiety.
No guesswork, no scrabbling around for dates, and no surprises. Youll always know when your period is due. And that one small change can make a massive difference to how you feel.
Then theres the likelihood that the severity of your cramps will drop, or if youre lucky, disappear altogether. Those agonizing contractions are caused by high prostaglandin levels a hormone linked with going into labor. We know, right? Anyhoops, the steady levels of progesterone that come with the pill can help keep prostaglandin more reasonable. And that can lessen the pain and frequency of your cramps.
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What If I Forget To Take One Or More Birth Control Pills
- If you miss 1 active Pill:
- Take the pill as soon as you remember and then continue taking your pills at the usual time each day.
- You may take 2 pills on the same day or even 2 at the same time.
- If you miss 2 or more active pills in a row:
- Take the most recently missed Pill as soon as possible.
- Throw away the other missed pills.
- Continue taking the rest of your pills at the usual time each day.
- You may take 2 pills on the same day .
- If you missed the active pills in the third week or row , throw the inactive pills away and finish taking the active hormone pills.
- Then start a new pack right away.
- If you are sexually active and missed 2 pills, dont have sex or if you do have sex use condoms every time until youve taken active pills for 7 days in a row.
- Talk to your health care provider about whether you should use emergency contraception , especially if you missed pills the first week of your pill pack, or had unprotected sex the past 5 days.
How Hormonal Birth Control Can Relieve Period Cramps
To ease menstrual cramps, your doctor may recommend hormonal birth control in the form of an oral contraceptive, skin patch, injection, IUD, implant, or vaginal ring.
For most women, cramping occurs when a woman sheds part of the inner lining of her uterus, called the endometrium. During ovulation, the endometrium thickens. That extra lining is there to nourish a fertilized egg in case you become pregnant.
However, when you don’t become pregnant, your uterus contracts to shed that extra lining of the endometrium. And it’s those contractions that cause pain and cramping. So, if you want to relieve cramping, you need to reduce contractions. That’s where birth control comes in.
The primary purpose of birth control is to prevent pregnancy, which it’s designed to do by halting ovulation and thinning the endometrial lining of your uterus. This can help relieve cramping because you’re not building up that extra lining of your endometrium that causes intense contractions. Problem solved, right? Well, not all birth control is created equal.
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How To Start Your Birth Control Pills
Try to take your pill at the same time every day . If you miss 1 or more pills, take it as soon as you remember and double up to catch up in your pill pack. Be aware that you will probably have some bleeding for a few days and it is ok to continue taking the pill.
The 21 and 24 day pill packs have placebo pills and your period will usually start after the first or second sugar pill. It is ok to restart a new pill pack even if you are still on your period.
Does The Birth Control Pill Cause Blood Clots
There is a very slight risk of developing blood clots in the legs, but much less than the risk during pregnancy. Among adolescent girls who do not take the Pill, 1-10 in 100,000 will develop blood clots each year. Among girls who take combined oral contraceptive pills, the risk increases 3-5 fold or to 5-50 per 100,000 per year. For women who are pregnant, the risk of developing blood clots is twice as high as Pill users and 4-10 fold compared to nonusers.
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Birth Control Relieves Menstrual Pains
Menstrual cramps can vary from women to women. It can be from a little uncomfortable to having excruciating pain right before or at the start of your period. You may experience pain mainly in your lower abdomen. Other menstrual cramps include menstrual migraines, backaches, bloating, and sore breasts.
Why does this happen?Menstrual pain occurs during a menstrual cycle and when you ovulate During menstruation your uterus contracts causing cramps in your lower abdomen.
Can birth control help?Birth control can help reduce the amount of menstrual pain you are experiencing. It also regulates your menstrual cycle if it is irregular, decreases the amount of bleeding during your period, and of course, prevents pregnancy. There are different forms of birth control: the pill, patch, or ring. Speak with your doctor to find out which method and brand best suits you and what the side effects are for the birth control being recommended.
What else can help relieve the pain?
Over-the-counter drugs containing ibuprofen or naproxen can help with menstrual pain. There are also other over-the-counter brands that are made to specifically help relieve menstrual pains.
A healthy diet of zinc, calcium and B vitamins can help relieve menstrual cramps. Try to lower your daily salt, caffeine, and sugar intake in the week before your period.
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