Does Missing A Period Mean You Are Pregnant
Although you may think you are pregnant when you have a delayed period, it is not always the case. Lack of menses is common in those with ovarian disorders or eating disorders. Periods may also get delayed during traveling and among breastfeeding women . Nevertheless, if you have been sexually active and doubt you could have conceived, a pregnancy test is the only way to confirm the absence of periods due to pregnancy.
Give It To Me Straight: Why Did I Miss My Period On Birth Control
Before you get too worried about whether to get a pregnancy test, remember: Birth control pills are 91% effective with average use and over 99% effective if you take them correctly, every day.
Menstrual bleeding changes are normal when you’re on birth control, say global women’s health experts.
You could have lighter, more frequent, or no periods at all when you’re taking the pill or using another hormonal method.
Unless you have other pregnancy symptoms or health conditions, doctors say that it is common for women on hormonal contraception to have missed periods. You could also have early or late periods, or just spotting. Therefore missing your period while on birth control isn’t necessarily cause for alarm unless you have other concerning symptoms. Always talk to your doctor about it, though, if you’re worried.
Editor’s note: Don’t get us wrong, though. Regular periods are a sign your body is working as expected. But we’re specifically talking about periods on birth control, which don’t necessarily fall into that bucket. Find out why further down.
Key stats on the failure rate of birth control pills:
For women who use the oral contraceptive pill perfectly , the percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy in the first year of use was 0.3%.
With typical or average use , the percentage of women experiencing an unintended pregnancy in the first year of using the pill was 9%.
How To Take Every Day Pills
- Take the 1st pill from the section of the packet marked “start”. This will be an active pill.
- Continue to take a pill every day, in the correct order and preferably at the same time each day, until the pack is finished .
- During the 7 days of taking the inactive pills, you will get a bleed.
- Start your next pack of pills after you have finished the 1st pack, whether you are still bleeding or not.
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The Wonder Of The Pill
Birth control pills have been used for several decades by millions of women to prevent pregnancies. They have also been used to regulate menstrual cycles and help women who suffer with PCOS, endometriosis and other reproductive issues establish some framework of normalcy in their cycles. As time has gone on, the pill has been developed and improved, and now is available in a variety of formulations. However, not all pills are for all women. Finding the right pill for you may take trying different formulations until you hit on the right one.
Women today lead very busy and often hectic lifestyles. If periods have been a problem in terms of pain and cramping, then they can interfere with plans and business. It is now possible to have fewer periods to deal with by using birth control pills to delay or prevent periods.
What You Should Know About Breakthrough Bleeding With Birth Control
Breakthrough bleeding rarely signals a health problem. But your ob-gyn can help.
Breakthrough bleeding is a common concern among women using hormonal birth control. Its usually a small amount of spotting at a time when youre not expecting your period, though some women have heavier bleeding. Most often, my patients come in saying they feel fine, but are noticing a little spotting when they use the bathroom. Should they be worried?
I reassure them that breakthrough bleeding rarely signals a health problem. And it doesnt mean your birth control isnt effective at preventing pregnancy. But there are ways we can try to fix it.
Heres what I tell my patients about birth control and breakthrough bleeding.
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What Exactly Is Happening My Body Do I Ovulate On The Contraceptive Pill
No. If you take your pill consistently and correctly, you shouldnât ovulate. This is the primary way the pill prevents pregnancy. In a usual cycle, the bodyâs natural reproductive hormones fluctuate up and down, taking your body through a process of preparing an egg for release, releasing that egg, and preparing your uterus to accept a potentially fertilized egg.
The hormones in the contraceptive pill stop and prevent your ovaries from preparing and releasing eggs. They stop the usual hormonal âcyclingâ, including ovulation, the typical growth of the endometrium, and the natural period.
Reasons For Breakthrough Bleeding Not Related To Birth Control
In some cases, breakthrough bleeding can signal certain conditions or infections such as:
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
- Some circumstances in pregnancy
Usually, these conditions involve other symptoms. Make sure to consult a health care provider as soon as possible if you are experiencing other symptoms with the breakthrough bleeding.
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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.
Can It Mean You Are Pregnant
Breakthrough bleeding on the pill doesnt mean your birth control is ineffective. Pregnancy is unlikely if you are consistently taking the pill as prescribed. If you have missed a dose or have symptoms of pregnancy, your doctor can perform a pregnancy test to rule it out.
Breakthrough bleeding on the pill is common, but it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying condition.
see your doctor if:
- your bleeding lasts more than seven days in a row
- your bleeding increases or is severe
- you have pain in your lower abdomen or pelvis
- you think you might be pregnant
- you have a fever
- significant bleeding
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Number : Because Of Pregnancy
Okay, this is the reason we’ve all been waiting to hear. Note that doctors say that it’s common for women on birth control to have irregular or no periods, and further evaluation usually isn’t needed unless there are concerning symptoms. That said, every contraceptive has a failure rate. If you’ve missed birth control pills during the month and had unprotected sex, you should consider this possibility.
Here are a few common symptoms the Mayo Clinic says women experience in early pregnancy:
If you’re wondering more about when to take a pregnancy test, click here for more info.
Note that if you’re breastfeeding, that could also be a reason you’re missing your periods on birth control. Entering menopause will also do that to you!
How To Deal With Period
If you experience spotting or other period-related side effects from your birth control pill, its best to talk to your healthcare provider if these side effects dont start to go away within two to three months of you starting birth control.
Most of the time, side effects such as spotting can be solved by switching from your current pill to a birth control pill with a different amount of estrogen, or by changing your birth control usage habits.
If youre sensitive to the estrogen in birth control pills, your healthcare provider might recommend switching to a progestin-only pill, or to a non-hormonal form or birth control. For specific symptoms, such as period pain or discomfort, you might also be prescribed medication.
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Starting The Combined Pill
You can normally start taking the pill at any point in your menstrual cycle. There is special guidance if you have just had a baby, abortion or miscarriage. The guidance may also be different if you have a short menstrual cycle. Get advice from a doctor or nurse if you need it. You may need to use additional contraception during your 1st days on the pill this depends on when in your menstrual cycle you start taking it.
Number : What’s Normal For A Period On Birth Control
The UK National Health Service says that irregular bleeding, like bleeding between periods, is common when you first start to take hormonal contraception like birth control pills, the patch, or the shot (Depo-Proveraâ¢.
Here are some facts about bleeding irregularities when you take birth control pills:
Overall, birth control pills should decrease how much you bleed.
Irregular bleeding is a common side effect during the first 3 to 6 months of taking the pill. It’s so common that 30-50% of women experience it.
The good news is that irregular bleeding will lessen or go away with time, usually after 3 months, when only 10-30% of women experience unscheduled bleeding.
It may be helpful to describe what bothersome bleeding can look like when you’re on birth control:
Unscheduled bleeding when you’re bleeding between periods or while taking active pills
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Regulation Of Your Period
If you use a 21-day or 28-day birth control pill, youll get your period more or less exactly every 28 days, helping you to maintain a consistent, predictable menstrual cycle.
The 28-day cycle is most common with combined birth control pills like Yaz, Estrostep and Ortho Tri-Cyclen. These pills come in a pack of 28 thats made up of 21 active pills and seven inactive pills designed for use during your period.
When you use this type of birth control pill, youll usually start to get your period as soon as you switch from the active pills to the inactive pills. This makes it easier to predict when your period will come, letting you plan ahead of time to avoid most inconveniences.
The reason for this predictable period cycle is simple: when you use the active pills, your body stops ovulating. After you switch to the inactive pills, your body starts withdrawal bleeding in response to the lack of hormones, causing you to have your period.
These effects also means you can skip your period by continuing to take the active pills.
Put The Clamp On Cramps
Anyone whos prone to cramps knows just how painful they can be, and that no amount of tea and chocolate really help that much. Sure, wine and ibuprofen can come in handy, but at the end of the day, some cramps are just persistent and they can come back, month after month.
Just why do you get cramps when you get your period? According to Dr. Trolice, Menstrual cramping occurs from uterine contractions shedding its lining, which makes sense. Your uterus is basically expelling the lining it took a month to build up, so no wonder it can be unpleasant.
But skipping your period can mean skipping your cramps as well, according to Dr. Trolice. He continued, saying that continuous birth control pills prevent or limit menstrual flow thereby reducing or eliminating uterine contractions to shed the endometrial lining, ergo lessening or avoiding menstrual cramps.
Studies confirm it, so if youre tired of huddling up to a hot water bottle every month, talk to your doctor about which options might be best for you.
Read Also: Does Birth Control Make Your Period Lighter
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Number : Do You Even Need A Menstrual Period At All
Here’s a fun fact: Monthly menstruation isn’t really necessary. In hunter-gatherer times, women were having babies one after the other, and they breastfed for long intervals, which suppresses ovulation and menstruation. Prehistoric women had about 50 menstruations, while modern women have about 450 periods!
With a 28-day cycle , the traditional birth control pill has no basis in biology. The makers of the pill decided to go this route to mimic the natural menstruation cycle to be more acceptable to society.
We know what you’re thinking: Can I just take birth control pills and not have my period at all? The answer is yes you’re allowed to skip your periods using birth control pills. You should ask your doctor if you’re interested. We got all the information in our previous article on how to delay your period.
What About Periods On Other Types Of Birth Control
Okay, so you should also know that different contraceptive methods can lead to various bleeding changes. For example, this means that you may completely stop getting your period on some methods like the IUD.
Let’s quickly go into the various methods and how they can change your monthly menstruation patterns:
As you can see, different methods of hormonal birth control can cause different menstruation patterns, but it’s all pretty commonplace for birth control methods to “have their way” with withdrawal bleeding.
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