You Can Get Pregnant Before You Even Get Your Period Again
When your body realizes youve stopped taking the birth control , you might begin to ovulate, which means you can get pregnant right away, she says.
No period in sight? Says Dr. Dweck: Number one, two, and three on the list of why someone isnt getting their period after coming off the Pill for a while is pregnancy, pregnancy, pregnancy.
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Does Birth Control Stop Periods
Technically speaking, yes. The period that you get when youre on birth control isnt the same as a regular period. Without hormonal birth control, the lining of your uterus gets thicker to prepare for possible pregnancy and then sheds during your period if youre not pregnant. Your body doesnt ovulate or go through this regular menstrual cycle when youre taking oral contraceptives. Instead, what you experience as a period on birth control is called withdrawal bleeding.
This bleeding occurs as a response to your body not receiving the same hormones during the rest week at the end of your 21-day pack. That means that if you continue taking the pill and skip the rest week, you can skip your periods too. Make sure to talk to your health care provider about whether this is a good option for you.
When Can I Use The Contraceptive Pill To Delay My Period
Most brands of the combined contraceptive pill can be used to delay your period if you have already been taking it for several weeks. You should not use the contraceptive pill to delay your period by simply starting to take the pill shortly before your period is due.
Taking two packets of the pill back-to-back artificially sustains the levels of hormones in your body. This delays the shedding of your womb lining, and therefore the onset of your period.
You can take up to three packets back to back. However some women do experience breakthrough bleeding or spotting and can feel bloated.
Most combined contraceptive pills can be taken back-to-back to delay your period, including Microgynon, Rigevidon, Cilest and Yasmin. Phasic pills, however, contain different quantities of hormones in each pill, and you should consult your doctor before taking more than one packet in succession.
Women on the mini pill normally take one pill every day, with no seven-day break. It is therefore impossible to use the mini pill to delay your period.
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Whats The Short Answer
Its common not to get a period after stopping the pill, explains Gil Weiss, MD, assistant professor of clinical medicine at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Illinois.
The phenomenon is called post-pill amenorrhea, Dr. Weiss continues. The pill suppresses your bodys normal production of hormones that are involved in your menstrual cycle.
He says it can take several months for your body to return to its normal production, and therefore several months for your period to return.
But, in some cases, there is another reason for late or missed periods.
Discover other factors that could be causing your post-pill period problem, and how to get your cycle back on track.
Stress can affect the delicate hormonal balance that controls your menstrual cycle.
Stress induces the hormone cortisol, says Kecia Gaither, MD, who specializes in OB-GYN and maternal fetal medicine.
This, she says, can interfere with the hormonal regulation of menses via the circuit between the brain, ovaries, and uterus.
You may also experience signs of stomach discomfort such as bloating, or mood problems like sadness and irritability.
While small amounts of stress are unlikely to cause changes, long-term or significant stress levels can stop periods.
When Will My Period Show Up
Most birth control pills run a tight ship oer the crimson tide. Hormones are regulated on a 4-week cycle, and you can expect your monthly friend to visit every 28 days.
On some birth control methods, you might get your period more frequently, less frequently, or not at all.
There are two types of birth control pills. One combines estrogen and progesterone, and the second is a progestin-only mini pill.
TAKE THE PLACEBOS. This will get you in the habit of constantly taking the pills.
Taking your pill at the same time every day keeps your hormones stable. Three weeks of hormones, 1 week of placebos = 4 weeks of consistently taking the pill. Make sure to start your new pack on time too.
If you take your birth control pills SUPER consistently, theyre 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Being human and sometimes taking the pill a few hours later than usual puts their effectiveness at a more realistic 91 percent.
Always check with your doctor if you start taking new meds, since some can interfere with the effectiveness of hormonal birth control.
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Missed Period On Birth Control
Many women often become surprised and even scared due to a missed period while on birth control. Often women will have a late period on birth control and not a missed period.
If six weeks passes and a woman does not have a period or menstrual cycle, its considered a missed period, or amenorrhea. Having missed a period on birth control or not does not always mean a woman is pregnant.
There are many different reasons why a woman might miss her period, including her birth control method or individual menstrual cycle. Other reasons why a woman may miss her period include:
- Types of birth control, including Depo-Provera and the Mirena IUD
- Stress or emotional distress
- Diet or change in diet
- Lack of sleep or rest
- Increased activity
- Normal heavy activity, such as sports, running or dancing
- Medications, including specific forms of antibiotics
- Illnesses such as the flu or a head cold
When a woman says her period is late she actually means her ovulation cycle is late, not the menstrual cycle. A late period on birth control can cause some anxiety because of the change from the normal cycle.
Besides preventing pregnancies, birth control is used to regulate a womans monthly cycle, including her menstrual and ovulation days.
However, if youre on birth control and youve made changes in your daily routine either physically or emotionally, it can throw off your cycle and cause a missed period.
Causes Of Missed Period On Birth Control
There are several potential causes of a missed period when youre taking birth control. They may include:
Stress is one of the most common causes of a missed period. Research shows that women under stress during their cycle are much more likely to experience irregular or missed periods.
Stress has a significant impact on the hormones within your body. These hormones have the ability to create changes or a delay in your menstrual period.
Changes in diet and exercise
If you are incorporating new or increased physical activity into your regular activity, it may be disrupting your menstrual cycle. Prolonged periods of intense exercise can alter your hormone levels, leading to missed or suppressed menstruation.
Significant weight loss can lead to lighter or missed periods. The presence of fat in your body can increase the level of specific hormones in your body. Losing dramatic amounts of weight will impact your hormone levels. This often leads to irregular periods and can be an underlying cause of a missed period on birth control.
Long-term effects of continuous birth control
Hypothyroidism directly affects hormone levels. Women who experience hypothyroidism almost always have irregular menstrual cycles.
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Youre Using Hormonal Birth Control
Many people love the pill because it makes their periods so regular. However, it can sometimes have the opposite effect, especially during the first few months of use.
Similarly, when you stop taking the pill, it can take a few months for your cycle to get back to normal. As your body returns to its baseline hormone levels, you may miss your period for a few months.
How Do Birth Control Pills Work
There are different types of birth control pills, but most types of hormonal birth control work by inhibiting your ovulation. If your ovaries dont release an egg each month, you cannot get pregnant.
Birth control pills typically contain estrogen and progesterone. Some pills contain only progesterone. These hormones both work to change your natural menstrual cycle and stop ovulation, although 40 percent of people who use the minipill continue to ovulate.
With most combined birth control prescriptions, you take active pills for 21 days and then placebo pills for seven days. These seven days are known as the rest week. Even though youre not taking any hormones on these days, the pill is still working to prevent pregnancy. You usually get your monthly bleeding during these last seven days, but its withdrawal bleeding, not a real period. There are some oral contraceptives that have 24 active pills and four placebo pills. And for progesterone-only pills, you typically take them for 28 days straight and then immediately start the next pack.
Birth control also prevents pregnancy by thickening your cervical mucus, which makes it harder for sperm to reach your uterus. It also makes your endometrial lining thinner so its less likely to support a fertilized egg.
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Should I See A Doctor For A Missed Period
In most cases, missing your period while taking birth control is not concerning. However, if you have missed one or more doses of your pills, you have experienced nausea with vomiting or diarrhea, or you have taken medication that could interfere with your birth control, you should take a pregnancy test to make sure you arent pregnant. You can also contact your healthcare provider with any concerns related to your missed period or symptoms you are experiencing.
For more answers to your healthcare questions, visit our Knowledge Center.
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Does Missing A Withdrawal Bleed On A Pill
If youve been taking your pills according to the instructions, the pills will be 99.7 percent effective, even if you didnt experience any withdrawal bleeding. The efficacy of the pill depends on you taking the pill at approximately the same time every day.
However, its important to remember that no birth control method is 100-percent effective. If youve missed a withdrawal bleed on birth control and want to be sure, you can always take a pregnancy test.
If youve missed three non-placebo pills or more, your chances of ovulating will increase. If you dont experience any bleeding for a few days after missing the pills, take a pregnancy test. Its also a good idea to take a pregnancy test if you miss two periods in a row while on birth control.
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Do I Need Emergency Contraception
If you are not using any type of birth control and have had unprotected intercourse, you need emergency contraception. Further recommendations for specific concerns are addressed below. You may also visit The Emergency Contraception Website for additional questions and answers.
Emergency Contraceptive Pills are available without a prescription to anyone in the SHCC Pharmacy as well as external retail pharmacies. ECPs are available to students for $10 in the SHCC Pharmacy. If you use emergency contraception and do not have a period within 3 weeks after taking it, you need to take a pregnancy test.
If you are on birth control but feel you have used it incorrectly, please contact SHCC Pharmacy staff or the Womens Health Clinic directly to discuss whether or not you need emergency contraception. Below is some information on troubleshooting birth control usage. Additional information may be found in the following questions and answers.
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.
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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Is It Normal To Not Be Having A Period During The Placebo Week
Menstruation is triggered by a drop in the hormones estrogen and progesterone, both of which are artificially produced by the pill. This means that menstruating on the pill isnt a real period so much as it is withdrawal bleeding produced by a lack of artificial hormones. Your period is not a medically necessary process. Its just your bodys way of telling you that youre not pregnant. This is why its totally safe to use birth control to skip your period entirely, either by using extended-cycle birth control pills that allow for four periods a year, or by skipping the placebo week of your 21 or 28 day pack. Its also normal to experience breakthrough bleeding outside of your placebo weekin fact, 1 in 5 women will experience this when starting a new pill. That being said, this breakthrough bleeding should stop after 3 months of pill use. If it continues, contact your doctor.