Delaying Your Period with Birth Control Pills
The Wonder of The Pill
Birth control pills have been used for several decades by millions of women to prevent pregnancies. They have also been used to regulate menstrual cycles and help women who suffer with PCOS, endometriosis and other reproductive issues establish some framework of normalcy in their cycles. As time has gone on, the pill has been developed and improved, and now is available in a variety of formulations. However, not all pills are for all women. Finding the right pill for you may take trying different formulations until you hit on the right one.
Women today lead very busy and often hectic lifestyles. If periods have been a problem in terms of pain and cramping, then they can interfere with plans and business. It is now possible to have fewer periods to deal with by using birth control pills to delay or prevent periods.
The Traditional Method of Taking The Pill
The concept behind traditional birth control pills is to mimic a natural menstrual cycle. The traditional package holds 28 pills, 21 of which are active and seven are inactive. During the week when the inactive pills are being taken bleeding that looks like a period (but is really withdrawal bleeding) occurs. This bleeding is different from menstruation in that it is your body's reaction to the cessation of the hormones in the active birth control pills. If you didn't want to bleed at all, you could just skip the seven inactive pills and start right back into the active pills again. Since the bleeding isn't the same as regular menses, you can actually have more control over your periods, whether for medical or personal reasons.
Reasons You May Not Want to Have a Monthly Period
Contrary to what you may think, not bleeding every month is not unhealthy. It depends upon the physiology of the uterus as to why you aren't bleeding that determines whether it is a healthy practice. Delaying your menstrual period can actually act as a treatment or work as a preventative for various issues related to menstruation. Some of the conditions that a delayed menses would be beneficial for include:
· A disability (either physical or mental) that makes using sanitary napkins or tampons difficult
· A condition that is exacerbated with menses; endometriosis, anemia, asthma, migraines or epilepsy
· Severe PMS prior to menstruation that causes bloating, tender breasts or serious mood swings
· Headaches and other menstrual discomforts that occur during the seven inactive days of birth control
· Prolonged, heavy, periods or periods that come frequently
Sometimes having your menstrual period is just plain inconvenient and it gets in the way of things you have planned or are committed to; a vacation, wedding or trip; a sports event, important occasion or honeymoon. And, since you are not purchasing sanitary products, you might have some money for other things.
Now, although you may think it's a great idea to delay your period, it is only fair that you understand not all doctors share that view. Even doctors who aren't directly opposed to the idea may not suggest it to you - so you have to take the lead and pose the concept to get the input your doctor might have.
The Downside of No Periods
There are some negatives to delaying your period. One of them is breakthrough bleeding, which is a common occurrence with the use of birth control pills as a means of delaying or preventing menstruation. This is especially common in the first few months of usage. After your body makes the necessary adjustments to the process, the bleeding should stop. Another potential drawback is that if you do become pregnant, you will likely have a much more difficult time telling. Morning sickness, fatigue, and breast tenderness could be indications that you should take a home pregnancy test to see if you are pregnant - or consult your doctor.
Continuous Use Pills - No Period for Months on End
Some birth control pills are designed to be used to delay periods or to prevent them. They are called continuous or extended-cycle birth control pills. Those that are currently available in the United States are:
· Seasonale, Jolessa and Quasense. Each of these work on the same regimen of taking active pills for 84 consecutive days (12 weeks) and then take one week of inactive pills. You have a period every three months, on the 13th week.
· Seasonique and Camrese. This regimen is the same in terms of taking the pills for 12 weeks with one week on a very low dose of estrogen. You'll have your period on the 13th week. The low-dose estrogen tends to reduce bleeding, bloating and some of the other side effects associated with going off hormones for a period of time.
· Lybrel is designed to be taken for a year continuously. It is a low-dose estrogen and progesterone pill that allows for a year free entirely of periods.
It is possible to delay your period using your regular birth control pills by simply not taking the seven inactive pills when you finish your pack of pills and going directly into the next pack. However, it is recommended that you use the inactive pills for seven days at the end of the second pack (six weeks). This is when you'll have a period. If all goes well, then your doctor may suggest you go for nine weeks the next time and maybe then up to twelve weeks.
Are you new to birth control pills? Do you want to know how best to use them? Then check out the article Instructions for Birth Control Pill Use in this section.