There are many different methods of birth control, one of the most common being the use of oral contraceptives. Birth control pills are a much favored method of birth control due to their non-invasive nature. Furthermore, this is a very convenient method of birth control. However, sometimes, women may experience a missed period when on birth control pills. This may cause a lot of anxiety, however, a missed period need not always be a sign of pregnancy.
Before we go on to the causes, we need to know how do birth control pills work. Birth control pills may contain certain hormones that interfere with the normal menstrual cycle. There are two basic types of the same, which are combination pills (which contain both estrogen and progesterone) and progestin only pills. Both these pills prevent the occurrence of ovulation, that is, the process of release of the egg from the ovary. They suppress the activity of the pituitary gland, thus, preventing the release of the egg.
It is not very uncommon for women who use these pills to miss a period. However, there are many instances of a missed period but negative pregnancy test. This is more commonly seen in women who are using a combination pill. This happens as an untoward side effect of using birth control pills for long. As these pills alter the hormonal changes in the body, they could lead to side effects ranging from either light spotting to very heavy periods. However, more often than not, it is claimed that if a person takes these pills regularly, at the same time everyday, then the chances of getting pregnant are almost non-existent. Thus, in such instances, it may be a case of a missed period on birth control but not pregnancy. It is very rare that a person becomes pregnant while on these pills. One more cause for it could be switching the type of birth control method.
Sometimes, there are other systemic missed period causes as well, like certain other drugs and medications. Some antibiotics also have the side effect of causing a missed period. Excess of stress and insomnia can also lead to delay of periods. In some women who are approaching menopause, taking birth control pills may hasten the process. At times, women that are very weak or are affected by some chronic illness may also miss their period. Furthermore, any other kind of simultaneous hormonal therapy may also lead to delay of periods.
When Should One Be Worried?
One needs to understand that the period of ovulation is the most fertile time for a female. Furthermore, a sperm can survive for up to five days in a females body. In such circumstances, if a woman forgets to take a pill on even one of the days, then one of the reasons for a missed period in such a situation could be pregnancy. Hence, it is best to keep an eye out for early pregnancy symptoms before a missed period just to be on the safe side. Furthermore, the best way to check for its possibility is by doing a pregnancy test, that will help confirm the diagnosis. There are many home pregnancy testing kits available for this purpose.
On a conclusive note, although a missed period on birth control does not necessarily mean that the person is pregnant, it is best to take a pregnancy test just to be sure. Furthermore, besides missed periods, if one observes any other serious side effects of birth control pills, like nausea, excessive or heavy bleeding, indigestion problems, etc., then it is best to visit the gynecologist at the earliest so that he/she may guide on how to deal with such problems.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.