Number : How Long Should You Have Your Period On Birth Control
When you have a period on birth control, it can be unpredictable. Strictly speaking, you should get your period during the time you’re taking placebo pills. But unscheduled bleeding, whether light spotting or heavy, happens when you’re on birth control. Usually, the bothersome unpredictable bleeding will resolve itself after a few months.
But what if you have bleeding for a long time outside of the placebo window? In general, periods should last between 4 and 8 days.
Let’s start with defining and quantifying what we mean when we refer to bleeding or spotting. That’ll help you determine it for yourself, and it’ll help you if you decide to talk to your doctor about it.
Experts Agree That Not Having Your Period While On Birth Control Is Safe
Taking continuous birth control pills does not mean that you’re stockpiling an unhealthy amount of hormones in your body.
Splinter News spoke to several OBGYNs from the Mayo Clinic and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists who all said the same thing: The levels of hormones introduced to your body via hormonal birth control are far lower than what your body naturally produces, and especially lower than what it produces while pregnant. Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez wrote this useful explainer about why skipping periods is perfectly healthy.
If you’re interested in using hormonal birth control to have fewer or no periods, Dr. Valerie French has written a helpful guide to get started. One word of caution: Dr. French advises against skipping periods if you’re using the birth control patch, as it may increase your risk of a blood clot.
If you want to have regular periods for the peace of mind, talk to your women’s healthcare provider about your birth control options. A period can tell you that you’re not pregnant, but so can a pregnancy test.
First Lets Go Over How Your Period Generally Works When Youre Not On Birth Control
During your menstrual cycle, your uterus builds up a lining made of blood and nutrients to nourish a fetus if you happen to get pregnant. If you dont get pregnant during that cycle, your body expels that lining in whats known as your period. You might already know that, but the exact way this happens is pretty fascinating and lays the groundwork for how to skip your uteruss monthly temper tantrum.
While you have your period, your pituitary gland makes more follicle-stimulating hormone , which prompts follicles to start to develop on your ovaries. Each of these follicles contains an egg. As your period finishes, one of these follicles continues to grow while the others are absorbed back into your ovaries. That maturing follicle gives off the hormone estrogen, which makes the lining of your uterus get thicker.
At this point, your estrogen levels top off and theres a rise in luteinizing hormone , which prepares the follicle to release the egg inside of it for potential fertilization. When this happens around the middle of your cycle, its known as ovulation. After ovulation, the follicle then produces the hormone progesterone to help your uterine lining get thicker and stabilize.
If you dont get pregnant, the egg breaks apart, and your levels of estrogen and progesterone drop. As a result, you shed your uterine lining, have your period, and start the cycle all over again.
You May Like: How To Get Rid Of Period Stomach Cramps
Missed Period On Birth Control Pill
Other common questions related to birth control pills are concerns about missed periods. When a woman takes hormonal birth control pills, it is not uncommon to experience a missed or very light period, especially at the beginning of treatment. You are most likely not pregnant if you are consistent in taking your pills and have missed only one or two periods.
However, if you miss periods for more than three months, you should take a pregnancy test and contact your doctor to discuss expectations of your birth control pills and which brand is best for your body.
Some women also experience periods abnormal from any they have had before, characterized by intense pre-menstrual syndrome , heavy bleeding, or severe cramping. If you are concerned about these symptoms, consult with your doctor. Many women try several brands of birth control pills before they find the best fit. Many doctors recommend allowing at least three months for your body to adapt to a new brand of birth control pills before you change your regimen.
When To Expect Your Period
The birth control pill birth regulates the menstrual cycle. Most types of pill work in 4-week cycles. A person on one of these pills can expect a period about every 28 days.
Depending on the type of birth control, some people may experience periods more frequently than usual. For others, periods may stop.
You May Like: Why Do I Have 2 Periods A Month
Continuous Birth Control Pill Use
If you decide that continuous birth control or skipping the placebo week is the right choice for you, you won’t experience a period at all. This is a perfectly healthy and valid choice to make, according to licensed women’s health nurse practitioner Lena Crandell.
There is no medically-necessary reason that you must have a “period” if you are not ovulating and building up your endometrium. Continuous hormonal birth control prevents the hormonal withdrawal that causes withdrawal bleeding.
You should know that some progestin-containing birth control methods, such as the Mirena IUD or Depo Provera, may cause irregular bleeding during the first few months according to Nurse Crandell. However, over time, this bleeding may cease completely for years.
The Pill Is An Effective Way To Prevent Pregnancy
If you follow the instructions and use the birth control pill correctly, it gives you great protection against pregnancy.
All you have to do is stick to your daily pill schedule, and make sure you start your new packs on time thats it. But if you miss or forget pills, it wont work as well. You can use our birth control reminder app to keep you on track.
You can use condoms along with your birth control pills to get extra protection from pregnancy. Bonus: condoms also help protect against STDs.
You May Like: Is It Normal To Have Two Periods In A Month
How Could Birth Control Affect My Period
Birth control can be very helpful for women who are sexually active and who do not want to become pregnant. However, certain forms of birth control can affect a womans body in different ways. This includes potential effects to the menstrual cycle. Since some of these effects can be positive in nature, certain forms of birth control may be prescribed to women experiencing issues with their period. Still, many women select their preferred method of birth control without even considering the impact it can have on their periods. Thats why our board-certified gynecologists have provided some details on how the most common types of hormonal birth control can affect a womans menstruation.
Birth Control Pills
The most common form of birth control, birth control pills are made up of the hormones progestin and estrogen. Although taking The Pill can have different effects depending on each person taking it, it is somewhat common for women on birth control pills to experience shorter or lighter periods. This can mean a cycle that normally lasts 5 – 7 days being cut down to 3 – 4 days. Birth control pills can also be used to help women who experience irregular bleeding, endometriosis pain, and more.
Birth Control Implant
Your Period On Birth Control: What Is A Withdrawal Period
Before we can get into what birth control stops your period, theres something you should know.
Did you know that your period while on hormonal birth control is an imposter? Dont panic! We can explain.
Women taking hormonal birth control typically have what are called withdrawal periods. While they may look and feel like regular periods, they arent actually true periods at all.
These periods usually occur during your placebo week when taking hormonal birth control such as the ring, the patch, or the pill. However, as mentioned, this bleeding isnt really a true period. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals , its the bodys reaction to not having the hormones it gets the other three weeks of the cycle.
Read Also: Does Advil Work For Period Cramps
Why Is My Bleeding Different On The Contraceptive Pill
The contraceptive pill prevents the lining of your uterus from growing thicker, as it would in a typical menstrual cycle . It also prevents ovulation and the typical cycling of reproductive hormones. When you have withdrawal bleeding, the bleeding tends to be lighter than normal menstrual bleeding.
Itâs also possible to have no withdrawal bleeding or only spotting during the days you take inactive pills . This is more common for people taking higher doses of estrogen, or a pill with a shorter hormone-free interval .
Difficulty Identifying Accidental Pregnancy
Using birth control to skip or stop periods makes no difference to fertility. You will be protected from pregnancy in the same way as you would be if you had a period on birth control. It is safe and will still protect you from pregnancy.
However, skipping periods may make it difficult to notice if you do happen to become pregnant. If you notice symptoms such as breast tenderness or nausea, take a home pregnancy or consult your healthcare provider.
Read Also: How To Skip Period On Birth Control Pills
Recap: Your Period On Birth Control
We get it: We’ve been taught that getting your period is a natural sign of femininity and means that everything is working normally for having babies. But the truth is that having your period on birth control is not the same thing as natural menstruation. Instead, it’s a different beast altogether.
*Editor’s Note: If you’re having irregular periods or spotting and you’re NOT taking birth control, then you should follow up with your doctor.
You should know that:
Changes to your periods are typical when you’re taking birth control pills. Make sure you’re taking your pills as directed.
Unless you have other concerning symptoms, not having your period while taking the placebo birth control pills does not automatically mean you’re pregnant. However, you can check with your doctor if you’re unsure.
Once you stop using birth control, then your periods should go back to normal, and your chances of getting pregnant will return to normal.
As always, if you have bothersome irregular bleeding, don’t hesitate to ask your doctor. There may be a way to change your method, or they can let you know if it’s something that will go away anytime soon. It’s super helpful to track what’s going so you can present that to your doctor. Believe us, they like data, so record the dates it’s happening and what it looks/feels like. You’ve got this!
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.
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.
Don’t Miss: Why Do I Have Bad Cramps On Period
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.
Is It Bad To Take Birth Control To Stop Your Period
If youve been paying attention, you may already have an idea of the answer to this question.
Really speaking, isnt at all necessary for women to have a withdrawal period while on hormonal birth control. According to Vox, the reason for withdrawal periods is because a scientist who helped develop the pill, developed it that way to make it seem more natural.
So, is it bad to take birth control to stop your period? Not at all. In fact, its fairly safe! According to ARHP, there is no evidence that shows women need monthly withdrawal bleeding, and no health problems are linked to skipping or eliminating bleeding.
The advantages of skipping your period would, of course, involve avoiding most of the issues that come with your period. So, you can say bye, bye to those horrible cramps, bleeding, and PMS symptoms!
The only downside, according to ARHP, is that you may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding in your first few months of using birth control to stop your period. If you ever experience any concerning side effects like severe aches in your abdomen, chest, or legs, as well as vision changes or heavy bleeding, be sure to contact your doctor right away.
Read Also: What Is Considered Heavy Period Bleeding