OP: safe to skip your period on The Pill?

I'm on birth control and I've heard you can completely skip your period by starting a new pill pack, rather than taking a week off. Is this true? If so, is it safe?

Posted: 17 Aug 18:57


Women certainly have the choice to decide when, or if, they menstruate by using certain types of hormone-contraceptives to skip bleeding by as long as one year. Not only is it deemed safe, it can actually help many women cope with the physical and psychological discomfort associated with Menstruation, as well as the sudden change in hormone levels that result from using Birth Control Pills.

With most hormone based contraceptives, users generally take three weeks of 'active' pills (pills containing hormones) and take the last week off, which then signals the body to shed the uterine lining. (Interestingly, this 'shedding' is not actually a real period, but rather a physiological response to not having hormones.) Women who choose to suppress their periods simply avoid taking off the week that initiate menses - and instead begin a new pill pack containing active pills.

According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), there is a lack of evidence to support that having regular periods is medically necessary, and there is also an absence of information suggesting that menstruating less than once a month is bad for your health. There are no known harmful effects associated with menstrual suppression that impact fertility later in life, nor is there a risk of blood buildup in the uterus. As well, studies have demonstrated that taking birth control in this manner is as safe and effective at protecting against pregnancy as is the traditional method.

There are actually a number of benefits connected to extended hormonal contraception. Many women who menstruate experience symptoms like cramping, mood swings, and bloating - while some suffer from challenging conditions like Pre-Menstrual Syndrome, Endometriosis, Dysmenorrhea, Menorrhagia, and Peri-menopausal symptoms. The major advantage of menstrual suppression is that it helps women either alleviate or even rid themselves of the side effects associated with bleeding. Additionally, other benefits include: better acne control; more flexibility and convenience during events like vacations or sporting events; elimination of the need to purchase feminine hygiene products.

Though the method of menstrual suppression has been practiced around the world for many years, there are a number of drawbacks that ought to be carefully considered prior to commencement. First and foremost, it is more difficult to discover the incidence of pregnancy. Since the lack of a period is no longer an option to detect pregnancy, it is vital that a woman become familiar with different signs that point to pregnancy - other than having menses-like fatigue, nausea or breast tenderness. Breakthrough bleeding or spotting is very likely to occur with this regimen but should subside after a few months of adjusting. In some instances, extended hormonal contraception can be more expensive. Anyone considering this method should consult with a health care professional in order to determine whether it safe and advisable for them.

Posted: 17 Aug 18:57

I'm currently on the Pill as a method of birth control and to regulate my periods, but I still experience severe cramps during that time of the month. Come September, I will be going to Europe to backpack for a few months, and would LOVE to not have to deal with changing tampons and period cramps during my trip. I've heard that it can be safe for a woman to take birth control pills throughout the month without a break for her period, therefore stopping it from happening? I was wondering if anyone had any further insight on how this works or if it is in fact safe. Thanks a lot!


Posted: 27 Sep 04:11

This topic has been raised a few times. Let me hit the highlights. There are "pills" in development that will allow you to reduce to a few periods per year. Many women have controlled their timing using the pill. Also, Olympic records have been set, personal bests achieved and other great things by women during menstruation.

You are on the pill because of dysmenorhea and the pill is controlling that but not as well as you might like. Messing with the pill is messing with your endocrine system, your hormonal balance. In your position, you should discuss this with your prescribing physician. Some pills seem more amenable to this use than others; with already difficult periods, she may have some other input.

If you do, remember that when you finally stop you will need another dependable form of birth control until things get straightened out again. Please do not simply do this on your own.


Posted: 27 Sep 04:11

Depo-Provera (the shot) is supposed to stop menstruation after about a year. I believe this happens to most but not all women on this form of birth control. You might talk to your doctor about switching to Depo-Provera. As Brandye said, you should not experiment with your medication without first discussing it with your doctor.


Posted: 27 Sep 04:11

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