Birth Control Can Make Your Period Irregular At First
Hormonal contraceptives like birth control pills and the hormonal intrauterine device work to prevent pregnancy by interfering with the natural fluctuation of hormones in your cycle that form eggs and ovarian follicles. This interference is what prevents you from getting pregnant.
Some hormonal contraceptives, like the hormonal IUD, also prevent pregnancy by thinning the lining of your uterus, known as the endometrium, so an egg cant attach to it.
A thin endometrium means your body doesnt need to shed it as often or at all, so your period may become much lighter or stop altogether, Zhang says.
Spotting or bleeding between periods can happen when you start using a new method of hormonal birth control, Zhang says. Plus, some people choose to use birth control in a way that suppresses their period entirely, like taking birth control pills continuously , which can also result in spotting until your body gets used to the new routine.
But if you have spotting or bleeding between periods that doesnt go away within a few months, or if theres a sudden change in your cycle, thats worth noting, Zhang says.
If youre on an IUD and you dont get your period, if all of a sudden you have heavy bleeding or have irregular bleeding, that is something to ask your doctor about, she says.
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How Can I Find The Right Solution For Me
Different women experience their periods differently, and the amount of menstrual blood they lose can vary naturally from month to month. But the amount of stress caused by heavy periods can only be determined by the woman herself: Whereas some women who have heavy periods may not think its a big problem, others already feel very uncomfortable with less heavy periods.
Its important to first have a doctor look for possible causes of the heavy periods. In most cases you can then take your time to decide whether to start treatment and consider which of the treatment options is right for you. If youre not sure, it may be a good idea to get a second medical opinion especially if a hysterectomy has been recommended. Our decision aid may help here. It briefly summarizes the main pros and cons of the different treatments.
How Otc Medications Can Help
Some OTC pain relievers can help reduce blood loss during your periods. This includes nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil, Motrin, or aspirin.
NSAIDs dont lighten bleeding as well as prescription drugs, but you can combine them with other medications for better relief. These drugs may also help relieve painful cramps.
High doses or long-term use of NSAIDs can lead to unwanted side effects. You should always have your doctor monitor your dose, and never take NSAIDs if youre allergic or have been told not to.
If you see your doctor about your heavy periods, theyll likely start by prescribing one of the following medications:
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Tracking Ovulation And Irregular Cycles
Ovulation can be a tricky thing to track and predict. Some methods, like the rhythm method, use a calculation that places ovulation day in the middle of a 28-day-cycle, predicting that we are most fertile around day 14. Since most women do not have a 28-day cycle and we all have irregularities in our cycles to some degree, this static ovulation day isnt going to be very helpful in finding the fertile window.
So what about tracking cervical mucus? This secretion is no secret to those following fertility, but relying on cervical mucus to find the fertile window is a difficult science. Discharge is open to interpretation and varies from woman to woman. Without clinical training, predicting fertility from mucus alone can be extremely difficult.
Another option when it comes to finding the fertile window is the basal body temperature method. The hormone progesterone causes a slight increase in body temperature after ovulation. This can only be measured with a special basal thermometer. However, the rise in BBT is only visible after the fertile window has closed. This is where ovulation prediction comes in.
Natural Cycles uses an algorithm that learns the pattern of your BBT throughout your cycle and can predict when ovulation will happen and allocate green days and red days based on this prediction. Knowing this fertile window allows the user to either plan or prevent pregnancy depending on her goal.
Quality Of Life Better With Iud
The study included 571 women with heavy periods followed for two years during treatment with either the Mirena IUD, oral hormone therapy, or the non-hormonal anti-bleeding drugs tranexamic acid and mefenamic acid.
Women who used the Mirena IUD reported greater improvement in quality of life, including their social routines, work-day routines, family life, and sex.
After two years, 64% of the women in the IUD group were still using the treatment vs. 38% of the women in the group using other treatments.
Researcher Janesh Gupta, MD, of the University of Birmingham in the U.K., says the study shows that the Mirena IUD is the clear treatment for women who want to preserve their fertility.
âAround 25% of women have very heavy periods at some point in their reproductive lives,â Gupta says. âThis is a massive problem and this treatment is a safe and very effective option for a large percentage of women.â
He says pelvic infection is not a major concern, as long as the woman is screened for infection before the IUD is fitted.
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Some Women Can Improve Breakthrough Bleeding On Their Own
Quitting smoking can help. So can taking birth control pills at the same time each day.
If youre getting continuous hormones with birth control pills or the ring, try scheduling a period every few months. This gives the uterus a chance to shed any built-up lining. It can help reduce irregular spotting and bleeding.
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Your Period Can Change Over Time
Maybe you used to get a heavy flow during your periods, but now theyre lighter. Or maybe some periods are lighter and others are a little heavier. This is pretty normal, Zhang says.
It depends on whats going on with the lining in your uterus, she says.
The time between each cycle can also vary: Maybe one month its 28 days, then the next its 30 days.
Your PMS symptoms can vary each cycle, too, depending on hormone fluctuations, Zhang says.
Its not uncommon for your period to become shorter as you get older, too. In adolescence, periods tend to be longer and a little heavier, then ease up after a few years. Menstruation changes in the years before menopause and can be more irregular after pregnancy.
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Are You Being Pressured To Have Sex
In a 2019 survey of U.S. high school students, 7% reported that they had been physically forced to have sex when they did not want to. Many more may feel pressured into it. Sex should always be consensual. If anyone is physically forcing, coercing, or pressuring you to have sex with them, seek help from a trusted adult, parent, school counselor, teacher, or healthcare provider. You can also call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE or text “START” to 88788.
Number : Whats 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-ProveraÃ¢Â¢.
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. Itâs 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 youâre on birth control:
Unscheduled bleeding when youâre bleeding between periods or while taking active pills
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What Can I Do Myself
If heavy periods become such a problem that they interfere with your everyday life, then you can try taking things a little easier on those days. Some women find that relaxation techniques or yoga help them feel more relaxed and reduce stress. Getting a lot of exercise can also help.
Women with heavy periods are often advised to change their diet: For instance, certain fatty acids, vitamins or fibers are claimed to help. But making changes to your diet hasnt been proven to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding or the related problems. This is also true for sports, homeopathic products and .
Foods that are rich in iron can help to prevent anemia. Examples include meat, legumes, green leafy vegetables and wholegrain bread.
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How Much Does It Cost
When budgeting for birth control, be sure to factor in the cost of the drug or device, along with any related doctors appointments.
You might be able to get your birth control for a lot less or even for free depending on:
- where you live
- whether you have health insurance
- if you qualify for Medicaid or another government program
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Is It Natural To Stop Your Menstrual Period
Theres not actually a biological reason to have a period.
Having a period is natural and can be an indicator of overall health. But stopping it shouldnt be seen as an unnatural thing to do.
Plus, if youre already taking hormonal birth control, its worth remembering that the period youre having is just withdrawal bleeding.
So, in effect, youre already stopping your menstrual period.
2014 research review found that it was safe to stop periods with birth control.
No study has found adverse effects of using an extended or continuous birth control schedule. In fact, some doctors say you can suppress your period for a long time if you want to.
However, there havent been any long-term studies on this. And Planned Parenthood adds that combination pills can come with a slightly increased risk of things like strokes, blood clots, and liver tumors.
Of course, it may also be more difficult to detect pregnancy if youre not having a period.
What Exactly Is A Heavy Period
It might seem pretty self-explanatory, but we asked Luu Ireland, MD, MPH, family planning specialist, fellow with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts Medical School what kind of flow would warrant treatment or a consultation with your gynecologist. “Heavy periodsâor how we refer to it in the medical fieldâheavy menstrual bleeding, is defined as any monthly vaginal bleeding that affects a person’s quality of life,” she says. “If it’s impacting your quality of life, your ability to go out, your ability to enjoy your normal routines, then that’s enough to warrant treatment. Birth control is certainly the lowest risk and best option as first-line therapy to treat heavy menstrual bleeding.”
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Range Of Surgical Procedures
Depending on the cause of your heavy bleeding, the symptoms it causes, and where you are in your reproductive life, you may have a range of surgical options.
For example, if you require surgery to remove endometrial adhesions, you may opt to have endometrial ablation, a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery that eliminates scar tissue caused by endometriosis.
If fibroids are causing your heavy menstrual bleeding, you have several minimally invasive treatment options, including laparoscopic robotic surgery. You may also benefit from the Accesa procedure, during which your doctor makes tiny incisions in your abdomen and inserts a device that shrinks fibroids using radiofrequency ablation.
If menstrual bleeding is severe enough and youve completed your family, you may opt to have a minimally invasive hysterectomy. During this procedure, we use the da Vinci® robotic system to remove your uterus and, if necessary, other reproductive organs such as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or cervix.
Dont let heavy menstrual bleeding sideline you. Your healthcare providers here at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, can talk with you about the best treatment for your heavy periods. Call today for an appointment or book one online.
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Can Birth Control Help With Cramps
I am 14 and I have the worst cramps ever. Every time I have my period they seem to get more painful and last longer. I have tried aspirin and other painkillers. How do I deal with these cramps? There are times they are so painful I cant walk. My mom said I could get on birth control, but would that even help for cramps? Tysha*
Lots of girls get cramps at the beginning of their periods. Sometimes, medicine like ibuprofen may help .
Getting regular exercise can also help reduce cramps in some women. Soaking in a warm bath or putting a warm compress on your stomach wont make cramps disappear, but may help your muscles relax a little.
It may sound strange, but when these methods dont work, birth control can actually help with cramps and are often prescribed for this reason.
Birth control works because it decreases the amount of prostaglandins chemicals your body produces to make the muscles of the uterus contract. With fewer contractions, there is less pain. Birth control pills also can decrease the amount of blood flow with a girls period.
Even if you dont think youre interested in birth control pills, if you have severe cramps that keep you home from school or from doing stuff with your friends or that seem to be worsening over time, visit your doctor or nurse practitioner for advice. There are many forms of birth control that are not pills that can also help. Asking a health care provider is a great way to find out whats going on and the best way to handle it.
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Option #: Hormonal Iuds
Theres a reason why OB/GYNs are obsessed with IUDsthey freaking work. Not only do they have the highest rate of pregnancy prevention , but they also last for years, meaning theres virtually no user error or memory involved. And, for once, you’ve got tons of options to choose from: either hormonal IUDs, all of which contain the same type of progestin-only hormone called levonorgestrel, or the non-hormonal IUD, which uses copper filament to prevent pregnancy.
Within the hormonal IUD category, youve got four different types on the market: Liletta and Mirena , and Skyla and Kyleena . Theyre all progestin-onlywhich we’ve already said isn’t usually as effective at blocking ovulation and crampsbut because IUDs sit within your uterus, they’re powerhouses for thinning your uterine lining, which, in turn, lessens bleeding and cramps.
Okay, okaybut what about the non-hormonal IUD? Is there a way to curb cramps and prevent pregnancy without flooding your body with hormones? Unfortunately, no. The copper, non-hormonal IUD ) is a huge no-no for dealing with period cramps. With the copper IUD, your period will be crampier and a little bit heavier over time, which is something to keep in mind when choosing your IUD, says Dr. Stoddard. The biggest benefit of the copper IUD is that it protects against pregnancy for a full 10 years, but if youre dealing with severe cramps already, you may not want to take a chance on making them more painful.
Signs Of Abnormally Heavy Periods
About 1 in 5 women is living with abnormally heavy periods, but many women dont seek treatment. You might be experiencing abnormally heavy menstrual periods if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Periods lasting longer than seven days
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Needing to change pads or tampons every hour
- Needing to change pads or tampons during the night
- Missing out on daily activities due to period symptoms
These are all signs of heavy periods. Experiencing heavy bleeding can drain your energy, cause symptoms of anemia, and make you miss out on activities because youre tired or uncomfortable.
Talk to Dr. Sejour about your periods to find out if your menstrual cycle might be abnormal. If youve tried other methods of controlling your period, or you dont want to use hormones, an IUD, or other method, endometrial ablation might be a good option for you.
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An Overview Of Options Side Effects And More
There are many birth control options available to teenagers for pregnancy prevention, avoiding sexually transmitted diseases , and managing monthly cycles and hormones. For sexually active teens, healthcare providers typically prescribe implants and intrauterine devices first because of their effectiveness and reliability.
This article discusses birth control options for teens, including benefits, risks, and side effects.
Can I Use Birth Control Pills If I Have Heavy Periods
Generally, yes. Birth control pills should not have an adverse effect on heavy periods and can help, as described above. However, when you initially have a heavy period, you should consult with your doctor to determine the cause. Your physician may advise you to alter the kind of birth control pill you are taking to help address the heavy period.
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