My Periods Are Irregular Will Birth Control Pills Help
My mom and I have been worried about my irregular periods. It has been 4years since the age of onset . Therefore we were thinking about birth control pills. But we have no clue which brand or type to take. So, I was wondering if I can goto a planned parenthood center near where I live. What I have to do in order to get help there.
Not only do birth control pills make your period regular, but they help with menstrual cramps and often make periods lighter, too. And your local Planned Parenthood can definitely help you find the right pill for you. Its as simple as calling them to make an appointment, or making an appointment online.
Irregular periods are super common, especially for teens. Menstrual cycles can be as short as 21 days or longer than 35. Changes from month to month are also normal.
Your health can affect how often you get your period. Strict dieting, exercising a lot, and sudden weight gain or loss can make your periods irregular, or even stop. Stress, being sick, and taking certain medicines can also affect your period.
Tags:menstruation, periods, the pill, irregular periods
Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people worldwide. Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. is a registered 501 nonprofit under EIN 13-1644147. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowable under the law.
It Gives You The Freedom To Bleed On Your Own Terms
For most menstruating women, bleeding is just a fact of life. But it doesnt have to be. Most packs of birth control pills come with a week of placebo pills that dont contain any hormones. Theyre just there to keep you in the habit of taking a pill every day. Usually, youd get your period while taking these placebo pills.
If you have a big vacation or other event coming up during that week, skip the placebo pills. Instead, start a new pack. This method works best if you take monophasic birth control pills, which all contain the same dose of hormones. Read more about skipping the last week of birth control pills in a pack.
Other methods, such as IUDs, rings, and patches, can help you skip your period altogether.
Some women experience very heavy bleeding during their periods. This can increase the risk of anemia. People with anemia dont have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around their body, which can cause weakness and fatigue.
Hormonal birth control methods that allow you to skip your period can help to prevent period-related anemia.
Does The Pill Stop Your Period
Oral contraceptive pills or birth control pills or the pillis a hormonal pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. The hormones estrogen and progestin in the pill alter the hormone levels that must be maintained to conceive. OCPs are prescription tablets that are taken once a day and at the same time every day for best results. It is important to note that OCPs do not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases .
Because the pills alter your hormone levels, it is possible to temporarily stop or prevent your period with continuous use of any birth control pill. Skipping periods for some women would mean skipping debilitating cramps, bloating and moodiness that regularly arise at that time of the month. This can make a difference in the quality of life for many women and relieve the stress of anticipating these symptoms. Once the OCPs are discontinued, the menstrual cycle returns to normal. The pill wont stop the period permanently. Risks associated with the continuous use of the pill are the same as those with regular use with a slightly increased risk of blood clots and stroke. You must consult with a doctor for an appropriate regimen.
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Risks And Side Effects
The most common side effects for all aforementioned birth control methods – pills, rings, implants, patches, and IUDs – are headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, acne, fluid retention, and spotting. The options that come in contact with the skin may cause irritation.
Also, no matter the contraceptive method, all hormonal birth control methods carry an increased risk of blood clots . Depending upon family history, the use of synthetic estrogen may increase the risk of developing hormone-dependent cancers as well, such as breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
Warm Compress Or Bath
A warm bath can do wonders for relaxing tight muscles and relieving emotional stress. Perhaps this is the reason for anecdotal reports that this can help to bring on your period.
Try adding some relaxing scented oil to a bath for added effect. You could also try using a warm compress such as a hot water bottle by applying it to the abdomen.
The heat isnt only relaxing. It may also increase blood flow to the area, thus gently accelerating the menstrual cycle.
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Birth Control For Managing Cramps
Hormonal birth control is easy to use and effective at preventing pregnancy. Certain birth control methods can provide non-contraceptive benefits as well.
Some hormonal contraceptives have been shown to lower the pain associated with dysmenorrhea. The following is a list of the prescription birth control methods that have been shown to be helpful in relieving some bad menstrual cramp pain:
- Combination birth control pills: Containing both estrogen and progestin, these pills help relieve bad menstrual cramps by blocking prostaglandin production.
- NuvaRing: NuvaRing works like combination pills to ease menstrual cramps.
- Nexplanon: This progestin-only implant appears to reduce dysmenorrhea in most women.
- Mirena IUD: While there’s not much data supporting it, this IUD may reduce or eliminate monthly periods for many women, which should theoretically make menstrual cramps less likely.
- The Patch:The contraceptive patch also works like combination birth control pills and can help to decrease menstrual pain.
Why It All Works
Before you can figure out which birth control to try, you need to know whats actually going on inside of your body. Hey! Dont just skip over this its legit important, and it could also be a trivia question one day. Because as much as it can feel as though your cramps are somehow your fault, its actually your uterus that decides how severe the pain will be during your period, which means its absolutely not something you can control on your own.
Menstrual cramps come from chemicals called prostaglandins getting released from the lining of the uterus, says Dr. Margaret Polaneczky, OB/GYN at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine. Everyones prostaglandins levels differ, which is why some women have more severe menstrual cramps than others, but their role in periods is always the same: They make the uterus contract and squeeze, causing cramps.
Ideally, we could just turn off the prostaglandins in your uterus, but sadly, the body doesnt work that way. So instead, the key is to reduce them, which can only be achieved by reducing your period altogether. A lighter menstrual flow means a thinner uterine lining, and a thinner uterine lining helps lower the release of prostaglandins, which results in fewer cramps, she says. Luckily, any hormonal birth control will thin the lining of your uterus , so as long as you choose a method that prevents or reduces ovulation altogether, youll find some relief.
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When To Use Menstrual Suppression
You may want to avoid menstruating during a vacation, athletic competition or another important personal event. There are now oral contraceptive pills on the market that offer the ability to suppress menstruation. These pills are intended to change a womanâs bleeding pattern to produce either no periods or just four periods a year , instead of a dozen.
Menstrual suppression products are chemically identical to traditional oral contraceptive pills. The active tablets contain a combination of levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol. The difference lies in the way a woman takes the pills. The traditional OCP is taken for 21 days, followed by 7 days of placebo pills. Seasonale and Seasonique are taken for 84 days consecutively, followed by 7 days of placebo pills. In both cases, while the woman is taking the placebo pills, she gets her period.* Lybrel uses the same hormones, in a slightly lower dose, with no change in hormone dose throughout the year. Lybrel is designed to produce no periods at all.
You May Have Some Hair Loss
If you dealt with hormonal-related hair loss before you went on birth control, going off of birth control might bring it back. This switch could trigger telogen effluvium, a temporary condition that causes your hair to shed. Thankfully, telogen effluvium doesnt last forever, subsiding usually within six months, and stress is also a factor. However, this isnt super common. Most women wont see a significant net effect on their hair after stopping birth control pills, Josh Klein, MD, chief medical officer at Extend Fertility in New York City previously told Health.
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Is It Natural To Stop Your Menstrual Period
Theres not actually a biological reason to have a period.
Having a period is natural and can be an indicator of overall health. But stopping it shouldnt be seen as an unnatural thing to do.
Plus, if youre already taking hormonal birth control, its worth remembering that the period youre having is just withdrawal bleeding.
So, in effect, youre already stopping your menstrual period.
2014 research review found that it was safe to stop periods with birth control.
No study has found adverse effects of using an extended or continuous birth control schedule. In fact, some doctors say you can suppress your period for a long time if you want to.
However, there havent been any long-term studies on this. And Planned Parenthood adds that combination pills can come with a slightly increased risk of things like strokes, blood clots, and liver tumors.
Of course, it may also be more difficult to detect pregnancy if youre not having a period.
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 trigger gender dysphoria in transgender men, so this may affect your decision when reviewing different methods and any associated prerequisites.
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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.
Acne. Pimples that appear with your menstrual cycle are caused by androgens . Again, the pill can get rid of this problem.
Mood swings, anxiety, and depression. Doctors arenât quite sure how it happens, but the steady hormones in the pill can also lessen the emotional symptoms of PMS in some women.
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.
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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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How Can I Safely Skip My Period On Birth Control
There are many different combined hormonal birth control pills containing different types of synthetic hormones and doses. Some pills are monophasicâmeaning they have the same dose of hormones in each pill. Other pills are multiphasicâmeaning that the number of hormones in the pills changes throughout your pack. Your birth control package will indicate which kind of pill you have. You can choose to skip your âperiodâ on either type of pill, but itâs best to consult with your healthcare provider before you start.
If you are taking a monophasic combined hormonal birth control pill
Take your hormonally active pills as normal.
Once you reach your placebo pills , then simply skip over those and start your new pack the next day as Day 1.
Monophasic dose birth control pills allow flexibility since you can technically schedule your period for whenever you wish. You can stop taking your pill for a few days to have a withdrawal period . Note that this is considered âmissing two or more pillsâ even though you are missing them on purpose. Youâll need to use a backup birth control method for seven days to prevent pregnancy.
One study found that if you experience three days of consecutive breakthrough bleeding, choosing to start your period at that time would result in fewer bleeding days throughout the entire year .
If you are taking a multiphasic pill:
Take your hormonally active pills as normal.
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