Women explain why they use birth control to completely skip periods

Women explain why they use birth control to completely skip periods

Women explain why they use birth control to avoid having their period altogether.  (Photo: Getty Images/Jacob Nunes for Yahoo Life)

Women explain why they use birth control to avoid having their period altogether. (Photo: Getty Images/Jacob Nunes for Yahoo Life)

Most people know that using hormonal birth control can lead to shorter periods and more manageable symptoms, including reduced cramping. One thing that might surprise you? If you are using a hormonal contraceptive, you don’t actually have to have your period at all.

It all depends on whether or not you take your birth control pills continuously. In the typical 28 day pack, the last seven pills, effectively placebo pills, do not contain hormones. (Sometimes they contain iron, which is lost from the body through bleeding.) However, if you switch to a new pack of hormonal pills right away, you usually won’t bleed at all. You can basically refuse to have a period. And many women are just do that.

Why some say it’s okay not to have periods

Sarah Joseph, who manages the website Parental requests and lives in St. Louis, tells Yahoo Life that she learned the strategy from a friend — and her doctor gave her the green light to retire. For the past three years, she has regularly skipped her period.

“It has improved my life,” she says. “Not only does this help me save money on feminine protection products every month, but I don’t have to worry about mood swings and other side effects of a menstrual cycle. found it easier to control my body, knowing I could handle when I wanted to get my period.

Gail Sideman, a Milwaukee-area publicist, says she made the same decision, to avoid the “debilitating” headaches and irregular periods that accompanied her cycle. The experience, she tells Yahoo Life, has been synonymous with “freedom” for many years.

“I would recommend taking the pill continuously, as it got me free of pain and cramps,” she says. “It also allowed me to be worry-free when it comes to birth control.”

Jillian Amodiosex educator and social worker in Annapolis, Maryland, started taking birth control when she was 14. She decided never to have her period, she tells Yahoo Life, because of “extreme pain during menstruation” as well as “irregular bleeding and heavy flow” which severely affected her quality of life and her ability to to function at school.

Amodio was later diagnosed with endometriosisa condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus and can cause extreme pain – something that hormonal birth control pills can help with.

Los Angeles resident Ashton (who asked that her last name be withheld) said her period came with a long list of symptoms including joint swelling, fever, lower back pain severe, headaches, vomiting, painful stools and gas, exhaustion and shortness of breath.

“It would cause so much pain that I missed work, school and outings with friends and was often glued to my bed with sweatpants, thick pads, a heating pad on my back and Midol” , she told Yahoo Life.

Although she had already taken contraceptives for four years, her gynecologist recommended that she take contraceptives continuously in order to avoid her period and find some relief. Now in her 30s, Ashton – who has been diagnosed with endometriosis – says she has benefited greatly from having no period pain.

“I never have to worry about whether I’ll spot or start getting my period randomly – I’ve been jumping for so long I’ve probably only spotted for a day or two, maybe four or five times “, she shares. “I personally have no downside to jumping, but I think for some people the downside is not knowing if they’re pregnant or not and (they) rely on their period as confirmation.”

Is it safe to skip your period?

According Dr. Jennifer Wider, a women’s health specialist, there is no medical reason to menstruate while taking hormonal contraceptives.

“During the menstrual cycle or a natural period, if a woman does not take birth control, hormone levels fluctuate and cause the lining of the uterus to thicken and prepare her for possible pregnancy,” he said. she told Yahoo Life. “If there is no pregnancy or implantation, the lining sheds, along with the blood, resulting in menstruation. For women on contraception, the endometrium, or uterine lining, does not thicken and the body is not preparing for a possible pregnancy.”

With placebo pills in birth control, says Wider, the bleeding is due to the drop in hormones. “The lining is soft enough to cause a little bleeding,” she says. “Blood does not contain thickened uterine tissue.”

Dr. Staci Tanouye, an obstetrician-gynecologist, says skipping the placebo week and going straight to the next pack of hormonal pills can be done “indefinitely” for many people, although some people who experience heavier breakthrough bleeding want to take a week off of hormones. to discard any remaining liner. It’s safe because “birth control pills work to keep the wall thin and keep it from building up,” she says.

What are the benefits?

Experts say there are several benefits to not having your period every month, including a lower risk of ovarian cancer. “Continued birth control is a treatment for things like PMS, PMDD, and menstrual migraines because it can significantly reduce the hormonal triggers that lead to these conditions,” says Tanouye. “It can also be good for people with heavy or painful periods, whatever the cause, to avoid all bad periods.”

Period pain can also affect attendance at school or work. Dr. Sophia Yenthe co-founder and CEO of a birth control delivery service, Pandie Healthtells Yahoo Life, “The #1 cause of missed school and work for people with bleeding uteruses in age is menstruation due to painful, heavy periods.”

There is also the cost of period products. This is particularly a problem, known as ‘spell poverty’, for the economically disadvantaged, since they often have to go without them. According to a study published in the Journal of World Health Reports in 2022, “two-thirds of the 16.9 million low-income women in the United States could not afford to buy menstrual products in the past year”, and half of them had to choose between menstrual products and food.

Yen says, “It costs money for all those menstrual products,” just as there are also financial consequences for “missing school and/or work.”

The decision may also have other benefits. A lot menstrual products are bad for the environment adding to plastic waste, Yen notes, pointing out that “those who have a monthly bleeding uterus use 10,000 to 13,000 menstrual products in their lifetime.”

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