What Your Period Says About Your Health And Why Its Important
When doctors encourage women to suppress their menstrual cycles, theyre also concealing important symptoms that give us clues about deeper underlying conditions. This is a dangerous game that can raise the risks of women developing even more debilitating conditions in the future.
As a doctor, I ask every woman in my clinical practice about her menstrual cycle as part of her complete health screening. It is truly that important.
Womens periods are not just a monthly nuisance they provide incredible insights about hormones, nutritional status and overall health.
For example, brown discharge at the beginning of menses is a sign of of low progesterone levels and left over blood from the period before. When there are clots in the menstrual blood estrogen levels may be too high. Conversely, low estrogen creates short, scanty periods. As you can see, there is a lot your period can reveal about your health.
Your period provides a great deal of insight about your hormones and the rest of your body. When it is suppressed, we run the risk of missing vital clues about your health.
As an example, menorrhagia, or heavy periods, which are commonly treated with oral contraceptives, can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia.
Sure, some would argue that stopping this patients menses would prevent iron loss and is therefore a treatment. But what if the iron deficiency is due to intestinal malabsorption, which can occur in those with celiac disease?
How Exactly Will My Birth Control Change My Periods
It depends on what kind of birth control you choose! Birth control that has hormones tend to make people have less bleeding overall, but sometimes that bleeding isnt predictable. That means you might have small amounts of bleeding throughout the month, two or more times when you bleed each month, or even no bleeding at all. This is especially true during the first few months of starting a new birth control method, as your body is getting used to it.
Can You Get Pregnant While On Your Period
The chances of getting pregnant while on your period are low, but pregnancy is still possible.
The answer lies in understanding the fertile window. For people who are trying to get pregnant, menstruation is not the best time to conceive. Getting pregnant depends on ovulation, which happens when an egg is released from the ovary and moves toward the uterus. The day of ovulation varies from one person to another and from cycle to cycle.
Although the chances of getting pregnant while on your period are low, there are exceptions. For example, it is possible to conceive during a period if ovulation occurs early in your cycle or if your periods last longer than five days.
The chances of becoming pregnant during menstruation are higher for people with shorter monthly cycles. Shorter cycles mean ovulation occurs early in the cycle. Because sperm can live for up to five days inside your body, having sex near the end of a period could lead to pregnancy if ovulation occurs early .
Generally, most people ovulate sometime between days 10 and 17 of their menstrual cycle. The earlier ovulation occurs, the earlier the fertile window will start. The fertile window begins five days before ovulation. If ovulation occurs on day 14 of a cycle, then the fertile window starts on day nine. But if ovulation occurs on day eight of a cycle, the fertile window begins on day three possibly in the middle of a period.
Read Also: Can You Have A Regular Period And Be Pregnant
Whats Normal Bleeding While On The Contraceptive Pill
Your bodyâs response to your pill will depend on the type of pill you take, and your own bodyâs hormones. If youâre taking a typical 21/7 monophasic pill , bleeding may start on day two or three of your placebo week and last 3-5 days on average. A few people may have only one day of bleeding mid-week, and others may have bleeding that extends into their next pill pack. Up to 1 in 10 have no withdrawal bleeding at all .
Bleeding on the contraceptive pill is also likely to change over time. In people using the 24/4 day pill , about 1-2 in 10 had no significant withdrawal bleeding by the 6th pill pack . Bleeding also tended to decrease over time.
No bleeding can also signal a pregnancy. Take a pregnancy test if youâre unsure, especially if you havenât taken your pills correctly in the previous pack.
Massage With Essential Oil
Simply massaging your abdominal muscles relaxes the uterine contractions. This may help divert blood away from the uterus. Doing this repeatedly may help stop your flow early and fast. This procedure will also help relieve some of the symptoms accompanying your period, such as cramps and bloating.
This is what you need to do:
- Mix some amounts of lavender oil and sage oil
- Into the mixture, add three some amount of warm almond oil
- Use the oil to massage the abdominal and pelvic area
- Do this twice or thrice to stop your period
Read Also: Foods Not To Eat On Your Period
Talk To A Medical Expert
If youve got any lingering questions or concerns about switching birth control, speaking to a member of the Nurx medical team is always a smart choice. We have a team of medical experts happy to chat to you about your reasons for switching birth control and what type of birth control might suit you best.
Our medical team can help you weigh up the best options, considering whether youre in a monogamous relationship or not, your plans for having children, if any, and whether you have any health conditions that could impact your choice. They will also outline any potential side effects and risks of the birth control methods youre interested in so you can make the most informed choice. They can also suggest when you should start your new birth control and other precautions you might take to protect yourself until it takes effect.
When you have settled on the birth control method you want to use, they can write a prescription for you and fill it, saving you a visit to your local pharmacy. Well then send it to you in discreet packaging, so you can start using it at the time you think is best.
Does Starting On Birth Control During Your Period Stop Your Flow Immediately
One question experts get asked a lot is: If I start birth control on my period, will it stop? If taken correctly, there isnt one birth control method that is guaranteed to stop your period at all, let alone immediately. There are some cases where birth control can stop heavy bleeding, though, Lucky Sekhon, MD, ob-gyn and endocrinologist at RMA of New York, Flo Medical Expert, and assistant clinical professor at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, tells SELF, but it must be done under the direction of a doctor.
Back to top
Recommended Reading: How To Relieve Period Cramps Fast At Home
How Will My Birth Control Affect My Bleeding
Birth control methods such as the pill, patch, vaginal ring, shot and IUD can all impact your menstrual bleeding. Some birth control methods can increase bleeding, and some can decrease it. Many aspects of bleeding can be affected, and these effects can change over time. Periods can be longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter, depending on the method of birth control. Spotting and irregular bleeding are common side effects of most methods of hormonal birth control, especially in the first few months of use.
Birth control pills
Birth control pills were originally only packaged as 28 pills 21 pills containing the hormone required to suppress ovulation, and 7 placebo pills . The 7 days of placebo were designed to allow menstruation to occur. Today there are a variety of regimens available, such as 24 days of active-ingredient pills and 4 days of placebo, and extended-cycle regimens that can be taken for up to a year to stop all menstrual bleeding.
Injected and implanted contraceptives
Irregular, unpredictable bleeding is very common in women using long-acting, progestin-based birth control methods . After a year of use, about half of women will have no periods.
Emergency contraception is not to be used as a regular method of birth control but, if needed, it can help prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Lolo Birth Control In Canada: How It Works & Where To Buy It
Lo Loestrin Fe is a low-dose combination hormonal pill containing two hormones, norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol to inhibit pregnancy. When taken as directed, Lolo helps minimize the chances of getting pregnant.
It is the first and only oral contraceptive to combine 10 mcg of ethinyl estradiol with 1 milligram of a trusted progestin, norethindrone acetate.
These hormones prevent the release of the egg during your menstrual cycle . They also change the lining of the uterus to prevent the attachment of the fertilized egg and make vaginal fluid thicker that prevents sperm from reaching the egg.
Besides preventing pregnancy, the Lolo contraceptive pill makes your periods regular, lowers the risk of ovarian cysts, decreases blood loss and painful periods, and treats acne.
You May Like: Why Do I Get So Depressed On My Period
Read Also: How To Make Your Period Come Late For Vacation
What If I Dont Like My Bleeding Pattern With My Birth Control
While all these changes to your period are totally safe, they might occasionally be kind of annoying. If your bleeding pattern on birth control isnt working for you, there are a couple of good options:
Wait it out: It may take your body a few months to adjust to a new birth control and most people report that they like their bleeding pattern better after those first few months. If you think your birth control is pretty great otherwise, its safe to keep using it and see if your bleeding improves.
Brainstorm with your provider: Talk to your provider if your bleeding is bothering youthey might be able to recommend a different brand of pill, patch, ring, or IUD, or suggest a medication to help.
Dont be afraid to change your mind: If youre fed up with your period changes using one method, dont settle! Its always legit to switch birth control methods at any time, and there are lots of other good options out there. Check out the Method Explorer to see all your options.
Colleen Denny, MD, is an attending ObGyn at Bellevue Hospital in New York City, where she is the Medical Director of the Womens Clinic, and a clinical assistant professor with the NYU School of Medicine. She enjoys taking care of women in all phases of life and is especially interested in issues related to contraception access and public health. Outside of work, shes a runner, a dancer, and a bit of a crossword puzzle nerd.
So How Fast Do Birth Control Pills Work
For combination pills, it depends on when you begin your first pack.
If you begin the pill on the first day of your period, theyll work right away to prevent pregnancy. However, if you start it any time after your period, give it 7 days before they start protecting against pregnancy. In that time, be sure to use condoms or a female condom if you have sex.
You can start taking POPs at any time during your menstrual cycle. However, the amount of time for it to take effect isnt quite the same as the combination pill. According to Planned Parenthood, it takes 48 hours for the mini-pill to take effect when you start it. So, if you have sex any time between then, be sure to use a backup method as well!
Its important to keep in mind that the mini-pill has a lower dose of hormones than the combination pill. The hormones are effective for only around 24 hours which is why its important to take it at the same time every day. So, if youre late in taking it or miss a pill, be sure to use back up contraception during those 48 hours again.
So, to sum up the answer to how fast do birth control pills work?, check out the chart below:
|Any time during menstrual cycle||48 hours to become effective and protect against pregnancy|
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Period
I Have Bleeding During My Active Birth Control Pills Is This Normal
If the bleeding is severe:If the bleeding is heavy enough to fill 1 tampon or pad per hour for 2-3 hours in a row or you are feeling dizzy or lightheaded, we recommend you see your primary care provider or go to Urgent Care to ensure there is not a serious issue going on. Make sure to tell them youre using birth control and be prepared to tell them the name of your birth control. Please let us know what they say so we can ensure we are prescribing you a safe and appropriate medication.
If the bleeding is not severe, but still annoying or concerning:Are you experiencing breakthrough bleeding in the first 3-6 months of your birth control? Breakthrough bleeding is unscheduled bleeding during the active pills, or during the ring-in or patch-on phase of your cycle. Dont stress! This is not abnormal. Breakthrough bleeding is the most common side effect for women beginning birth control. Just continue using your birth control as normal and give your body time to adjust to the birth control you are using. Breakthrough bleeding typically goes away with time and the second cycle is usually much better than the first, but it may take up to 3 full cycles for breakthrough bleeding to go away for good.
If you are interested in switching birth control brands to help reduce spotting or bleeding, our medical team can help you find the right fit. Get started here or for more answers to your healthcare questions, visit our Knowledge Center.
How Does The Pill Compare With Other Birth Control Methods
There are different types of birth control methods, some of which are hormone-based and some of which are not. The effectiveness of each type also varies according to the limitations of typical use. Certain types of birth control may be a better fit for a person than others.
In addition to the combination birth control pill, other contraceptive methods include:
- progestin-only minipill
Although the birth control pill generally works very well, some situations can reduce its effectiveness, and they may sometimes result in an unintended pregnancy. These include:
Don’t Miss: Having Your Period Twice In A Month
How To Stop Your Periods Cramps
Period cramps are one of the annoying symptoms that accompany your menstrual cycle. These cramps can be painful, annoying, and causes a lot of discomfort. For most people, this can be the reason for them to want to stop their period permanently.
Period or menstrual cramps can be felt as a painful sensation that affects a majority of menstruating women before and during their menstruation cycle.
The pain is medically known as dysmenorrhea. It ranges from dull and annoying to severe and extreme. For most women, the pain will occur in the lower abdomen and lower back. It will start a day or two before your period and last for about four days top.
Medically, when the pain is only related to menstruation, then it is described as primary dysmenorrhea. On the other hand, when the pain is due to other conditions such as fibroids, endometriosis, or pelvic inflammatory disease, the cramps are described as secondary dysmenorrhea.
The question now is, how do you stop your period cramps? Different options are available to help relieve and stop these painful cramps. For starters, there are some over the counter medication that can help treat most causes of menstrual cramps. If you are not sure what the best medication to use, have your health café provider prescribe one for you.
You could also use anti-prostaglandins to reduce cramping in uterus. This option will also help lighten the flow of menstrual blood and help relieve discomfort.
How Does Birth Control Work And Which Ones Can Stop Your Period
There are tons of options for preventing pregnancy, but not all types of birth control can reduce or delay a period. For the highest likelihood of sending your monthly visitor packing, youll need to use a hormonal birth control method. Some birth control types are progestin-only, while others contain both progestin and estrogen.
So, which types of birth control will definitely stop your period? Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. Some people will continue to get a regular period, while others will experience a decrease in flow and duration or see it disappear entirelyas long as they are on birth control. That said, James Gohar, MD, an ob-gyn at Mount Sinai West and New York-Presbyterian Hospital and clinical instructor at Weill Cornell School of Medicine, tells SELF that combination birth control , hormonal IUDs, and injections have the highest potential to stop your period altogether, but this is not a guarantee. The majority of people will still get a period, but significantly shorter and lighter, he explains.
Lets walk through how each type of hormonal birth control works, and talk about their period-poofing potential:
Combination hormonal birth control pills use estrogen and progestin to prevent pregnancy. The progestin thickens your cervical mucus , thins out your uterine lining, and suppresses ovulation. Estrogen helps to control breakthrough bleeding while also working to suppress ovulation.
Also Check: How To Slow Down A Period From Coming