How Contraceptives Can Affect Your Period
Everyone with a vagina experiences their period differently. Most people dislike it due to the painful cramps, swelling, or other uncomfortable symptoms they experience, while others find it reassuring. For these reasons, many have pursued different birth control methods to affect their periods in various ways, such as reducing or eliminating it.
For those who struggle with heavy and excruciatingly painful periods, this can be a reprieve from all the discomfort they feel. If you aren’t expecting your period to stop, it can also be an intimidating experience. If you use birth control, it may affect your period, causing it to stop entirely.
Here’s what you need to know about contraceptives and how they can impact your period:
Getting Your Period While on the Pill
If you take hormonal birth control, then you’re likely aware that it stops your body from releasing eggs while preventing your uterine lining or endometrium from thickening and shedding the way it does with regular periods. You’ll also encounter a few days during your cycle where you’ll be taking inactive or placebo pills, where you experience bleeding and cramping. It resembles a period, but the truth is that it isn’t an actual one. It’s called withdrawal bleeding, which happens when your hormone levels drop as you take these pills. If your period was exceptionally heavy and painful before taking the pill and has become more manageable after starting birth control, this process explains why.
Birth control does a great job of regulating your periods and reducing their intensity. Regardless, the placebo pills do not eliminate all your period concerns, mainly since everyone’s body works differently.
Using Your Birth Control Pills Without Placebo
Most people take their birth control pills as dictated by the pack, including inactive pills. However, if you decide that skipping the placebo pills is best for your situation, you won’t experience a period at all. Even though this isn’t a common occurrence, this is an entirely valid and healthy choice to make, as there is no medically necessary reason to have a period, especially if you aren’t ovulating or thickening your endometrium in the first place. Continuing your hormonal birth control and forgoing the placebo pills prevents the hormonal withdrawal that causes the withdrawal bleeding, leaving you period-free.
It’s important to note that some progestin-containing birth control methods like Depo Provera or the Mirena IUD can cause irregular bleeding for the first few months. Nonetheless, as more time passes, the bleeding will cease altogether. Those with heavy periods can rejoice: they can enjoy having a healthy vagina without getting periods at all.
Skipping the Placebo Period Is Safe
Naturally, there is concern that skipping placebo pills means accumulating an excessive amount of hormones in your body. The truth is that the hormones that birth control introduces to your body are much lower than what your body naturally produces. Additionally, it releases much fewer hormones than when you are pregnant. For this reason, skipping periods is normal and healthy. However, it’s important to note that skipping periods while using a birth control patch may increase your risk of developing blood clots.
Still, if you’re used to getting periods, and you’d like to have them for peace of mind, be sure to speak with your doctor about your birth control options. Although periods tell you that you’re not pregnant, pregnancy tests do so as well, giving you a reliable backup.
It is safe to take continuous hormonal birth control pills to skip your period, mainly if it alleviates the painful symptoms you experience. Regardless of your decision, be sure to take care of your vagina by using the appropriate vagina soap and visiting your doctor regularly to make sure it’s healthy and normal.
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