Yes You Can Safely Skip Periods On Hormonal Birth Control
Menstrual periods are often no fun. Aside from the hassle, they can also cause cramps, heavy bleeding, headaches, and mood symptoms. In severe cases, periods can be disabling, disrupting work, school, family life, and self-care. Wouldnt it be great to just skip them? You actually can.
Some types of birth control can stop periods with the way they are typically used, such as the Shot / DepoProvera , the Implant / Nexplanon , and the hormonal IUDs such as Mirena and Kyleena . These can be great options.
Other methods of birth control, such as the pill, patch, and ring, can be taken in what is called extended or continuous use. For extended use, the pills, patch, or ring are used for longer than the typical 3 weeks before doing a hormone-free week. For example, a pill user can take active hormone tablets for 12 weeks in a row and then do a placebo/hormone-free week, during which they will have a period. Thats just one period every three months! Some pills, such as Seasonale, are marketed and packaged like this, but almost all of these methods can be used this way. For continuous use, there is no hormone-free week at all the person simply keeps using the hormone-containing pills, patches, or ring with no break. For some, this will result in no period at all. Others may experience some unpredictable bleeding, called breakthrough bleeding, which often improves with time or with switching to extended use.
How Can I Delay My Period For Vacation
A prescription medicine called Norethisterone can delay the start of a period for a period of time. The doctor prescribes you three tablets a day, starting three to four days before your period is supposed to begin. In two to three days, you should begin to experience your period after stopping the medicine.
Delaying Your Period With Birth Control Pills
Are you interested in having fewer periods? Its possible with birth control pills. Find out how and get answers to common questions about using birth control pills to delay or prevent periods.
Traditional birth control pills are designed to mimic a natural menstrual cycle. A traditional pill pack contains 28 pills, but only 21 are activecontaining hormones to suppress your fertility. The other seven pills are inactive. The bleeding that occurs during the week you take the inactive pills is withdrawal bleeding, which looks like a period. This is your bodys response to stopping the hormones. If you skip the inactive pills and start a new pack of active pills right away, you wont have this withdrawal bleeding.
The bleeding that occurs while you take the inactive pills isnt the same as a regular period. Nor is the bleeding necessary for health. This is good news if you take birth control pills and want more control over your menstrual cycle, either for personal or medical reasons.
Delaying your period can treat or prevent various menstrual symptoms. It might be worth considering if you have:
In addition, menstrual bleeding is sometimes simply inconvenient. You may want to postpone your period until after an important exam, athletic event, vacation, or special occasion, such as your wedding or honeymoon.
Breakthrough bleeding usually decreases with time, but there are some things you can do in the meantime:
Your doctor might recommend a schedule such as the following:
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Is It Safe To Skip Your Period
It was once thought that using birth control to skip a period would cause all sorts of problems in the long-run. Women were told not to skip their periods because its unnatural, unhealthy, and may cause fertility issues, breast cancer, or cervical cancer. Thats the whole reason why traditional birth control pills were originally designed to mimic the female hormone cycle.
Now, we know that this is not true. Most doctors agree that it is perfectly safe to skip your period using hormonal contraceptives. While youre on the pill, your uterine lining is not building up, so theres no real reason for it to shed each month. Besides, you dont even get a real period when youre on birth control youre just skipping or delaying the withdrawal bleed.
Safety Of Skipping Your Period
There are a number of reasons why you may want to skip your period.
Its generally safe to do so if youre on birth control pills. However, its best to check with your doctor first. Youll want to make sure that theres no medical reason for you to continue with your current menstruation schedule.
Taking birth control pills to reduce or eliminate your period is just as safe as taking them in the conventional way, says Gerardo Bustillo, MD, OB-GYN, at Orange Coast Memorial in Fountain Valley, California.
Menstruation isnt physiologically necessary. In general, women today experience many more menstrual cycles over their lifetime compared to women of previous generations, says Bustillo. There are a few reasons for that, including the following:
- Many women today start menstruating at a younger age.
- Women today have fewer pregnancies on average.
- Women today dont breastfeed for as long.
- Women today generally reach menopause later in life.
According to Lisa Dabney, MD, assistant professor of obstetrics, gynecology, and reproductive science at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the monthly period that traditional birth control pills allow for may have had more to do with marketing than anything.
When the birth control pills first came out, they were designed for women to get their periods every four weeks like a natural period, she says. This interval is really set up by the cycle of the pills and was set up that way so women would more readily accept them.
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How Common Is Menstrual Suppression
In my recent survey of young Australian women, 74% reported manipulating their menstrual cycle at least once in the previous year. Almost one-third of respondents had manipulated their cycle two to three times. But less than 1% had used the pill to stop menstruation altogether.
The most commonly cited reason was to be able to suppress a period around special events or holidays, with 75% of the women rating this as important or very important.
Suppressing menstruation can be more practical than just ensuring you dont have your period for a wedding or important exam. In a survey of deployed US female aviation personnel, 60% chose to suppress menstruation to ensure they could meet the demands of their job.
More than 50% of competitive athletes use the pill to ensure they dont have their period on competition day.
Read more:Menstruation is not a taboo in women’s sport, period
What about women who suffer severe or painful menstrual symptoms, like heavy bleeding or endometriosis?
Menstrual manipulation or suppression can also help women with endometriosis, heavy bleeding or painful periods to minimise menstrual symptoms. Currently, about 30% of women take four or more sick days per year due to premenstrual symptoms alone. Those who suffer severe symptoms may be absent from work or school for one day every month. This is a large potential economic burden.
Is Skipping Your Period Safe
Medical studies have reported no significant negative health effects when you skip your period on the combined hormonal birth control pill . That being said, itâs still important to mention that there have been no long-term studies examining the safety of continually skipping your period. Sometimes medical repercussions take a longer time and/or need a larger population sample size to emerge.
If you choose to stop taking hormonal birth control, your natural menstrual cycle and fertility will usually return to normal after one month, regardless of how long you skipped your âperiodâ .
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Can Birth Control Help Regulate Your Period
While you might not be able to make your monthly visitor disappear forever, many forms of birth control can help regulate your period. This is great news for people living with irregular cycles and painful or heavy periods. According to the ACOG, combined hormonal methods that contain estrogen and progestin can make your period more regular, lighter, and shorter. This includes birth control pills, the patch, and the vaginal ring.
The bottom line is this: If you view your period as a monthly reassurance that youre not pregnant, then you might prefer to see it arrive on schedule. But if thats not you, asking your doctor about the types of birth control that are most likely to stop your period is something to consider.
Why Isnt This Talked About More
Dr. Shepard explains that, because the standard birth control pill is designed to have a placebo week, doctors will often just prescribe it to be used as intended, unless someone specifically mentions wanting to skip their period. However, its worth noting a long history in which information surrounding menstrual health has remained elusive. Not to mention that policing of the female body, especially when it comes to birth control, is nothing new, so its not all that surprising that the many options to skip periods and suppress ovulation arent super out in the open.
Just know this: People who menstruate may have a number of reasons to choose to not, you know, menstruatewhether its to avoid painful periods, gender dysphoria, or just make life a little easierand each reason is valid.
Also Check: How Did Females Deal With Periods In The Past
Can Other Forms Of Birth Control Shorten Your Period
Yes. In addition to the birth control pill, other forms of hormonal birth control can shorten or help you completely skip your period. These include:
The hormonal IUD. About 16 percent of women who use the hormonal IUD as a form of birth control stop getting a period after one year, with most women experiencing a shorter and lighter period.
The injection . Most women who use the Depo-Provera injection stop getting their period after six to 12 months. Just like the hormonal IUD, the injection isnt 100 percent effective at stopping you from getting your period.
The birth control ring. Like the birth control pill, the hormonal birth control ring can be used to skip your period. Instead of taking your ring out completely, simply replace it with a new ring immediately after removal to delay your period.
The birth control patch. Skipping your period with the birth control patch is a simple process. Instead of having a patch-free week, simply start your new pack of patches a week early to avoid your period.
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Now The Details On How To Control Your Periods
There are some brands of pills that come pre-packaged for skipping periods. But you dont need those brands to skip periods like a pro. If youre on the ring or any monophasic pill, you can control the timing of your periods. Sometimes skipping periods this way is described as continuous use or extended useits all the same deal. Heres how it works.
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Number : Because Of Physical Or Emotional Stress
So theres this thing called the hypothalamus, which is a gland in your brain. If somethings wrong, your hypothalamus cant kick off the menstrual cycle, and you wont ovulate.
Characteristics that can affect your hypothalamus and lead to missing your period include:
Emotional and mental stress
Weight loss and low body weight
Deficient intake of food/eating disorders
Too much exercise
Researchers often see this happening in adolescent girls, where the common triggers are stress, weight loss, and excessive exercise. Girls at this time of their lives can undergo common life events that bring a lot of emotional and mental toll, like changing schools or becoming sexually active. Disordered eating during adolescence is also common.
Is It Safe To Skip Your Period Using Birth Control
Yes. Skipping or delaying your period using birth control is generally safe. In fact, some birth control pills are designed specifically to help you avoid a monthly period, including certain pills that allow you to delay your period for an entire year.
If you have a painful, uncomfortable or overly heavy period, skipping it using your birth control pills can help to make your life easier. Still, its always best to talk to your doctor before you opt to delay or skip your period.
Read Also: Can You Skip A Period And Not Be Pregnant
Are There Any Advantages To Skipping Your Period
Many women choose to skip their period with birth control to help manage menstrual symptoms, such as headaches/migraines, cramps, mood swings, and painful periods. It can also be very beneficial not to have a period if you have a condition that is worsened by it, such as endometriosis, PCOS, ovarian cysts, or anemia. Plus, skipping your period saves you money on menstrual products and is just more convenient for life in general.
Read Also: Best Birth Control For Painful Periods
This All Sounds So Good So What Are The Risks
Some arguments suggest that by skipping the sugar pills, women are effectively increasing the overall exposure to synthetic hormones by up to 25%. This may lead to a greater risk of depression, blood clots, or oestrogenic cancers.
Unfortunately, there is no research yet to support or refute these claims.
However there is evidence that menstrual manipulation can lead to greater incidence of spot or breakthrough bleeding. Women can also find it more difficult to tell if they become pregnant.
While there is no evidence to suggest menstrual manipulation or suppression is harmful, its a good idea to discuss it with your GP or gynaecologist, who can assess your individual circumstances and potential risk factors.
Under medical guidance, you can decide on a system to suppress your periods, and have a plan to contact your doctor if you experience any side effects such as abdominal pain, chest pain, bleeding, vision changes or severe leg pain.
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Faqs For Skipping Periods
Question:Arent women supposed to have a period every month? Am I hurting myself by skipping periods?Answer: Nope. It is totally safe to go for months or even years without having a period. Think about ita woman who has and breastfeeds a baby may go for two years without periods. The only time health care providers get worried about a patient not having periods is when there isnt a medical reason like birth control or breastfeeding. Plus, birth control pills and the ring make the lining of the uterus very thin, so there is very little to clean out.
Question:How long can I skip periods?Answer: It is safe to skip periods for as long as you want! It depends on what you are comfortable with and whether you have spotting. Spottinga.k.a. breakthrough bleedingis normal, and may just be a sign that your body is adjusting to continuous use of birth control. If you dont like the spotting, you can have a period. You may be able to control spotting by having a period every 3-4 months.
Question:Why should my pill be monophasic if I want to skip periods?Answer: Monophasic pills cause less spotting than multiphasic pills when you take them continuously.
Question:Will the ring really last for four weeks?Answer: Yep. The ring has enough hormone in it to effectively prevent pregnancy for 4 weeks, no extra steps needed to skip your period.
Question:Besides getting to decide when I have my period, are there other perks to skipping periods with birth control?
Is It Really Safe To Control If And When You Get Your Periods
In many cases, yes, its safe to skip a period. However, its best to speak with your healthcare provider before doing so.
Anyone who has chosen to skip a family reunion can back us up on this: just because something regularly happens, doesnt mean youre obligated to participate. Periods often are no exception. Menstruation is part of how the body prepares for pregnancy, so if youre not trying to get pregnant, you might not need to shed your uterine lining every month.
Some healthcare providers discourage purposefully skipping periods, so its important to speak with your provider about whether or not this would be right for you.
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Is It Safe To Stop My Period
There isnt really anyone who couldnt safely have menstrual suppression, Prager says.
Naturally not having a period can sometimes be an indicator of a health issue such as in people who have eating disorders, for example but if you intentionally and safely stop your period, it isnt risky, Prager says.
Pragers logic is this: 200 years ago, for example, women tended to have more children and so spent much more of their life pregnant or breastfeeding .
Modern people with uteruses have many more periods than people did then, she explains.
In some cases, using an IUD, shot or other form of birth control may be safer for someone than using birth control pills. While rare, birth control pills can increase stroke risk in some people who smoke and are over age 35, have high blood pressure, get migraines with aura, or have a history of stroke or heart disease.
While menstrual suppression isnt dangerous, initiating hormonal birth control can be uncomfortable at first, depending on how your body reacts to the type of birth control youre using. Some people experience mood changes like anxiety and depression, nausea, breast tenderness, migraines, weight fluctuations or other unpleasant symptoms.
For many people, these symptoms will go away within a few months. But some people may need to try a different form of birth control if their symptoms are too bothersome.
On the plus side, there are also benefits to taking birth control and stopping your period, Prager says.