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Using the Pill to Skip your Period

Using the Pill to Skip your Period

Want no hassles for an upcoming date or a vacation due on your menstrual week? Don't worry, it's as easy as popping a pill! In this article you will learn to skip your periods by taking birth control pills.
Deepa Kartha
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Did You Know?
Women on regular birth control pills do not have periods, but what they experience is "withdrawal bleeding".

Birth control pills are one of the most common family planning methods used by women. Dr. John Rock, an infertility specialist, carried out successful clinical trials of the first hormonal contraceptive pill ("the pill"). Approved by FDA in 1960, it has since been an effective method of avoiding unwanted pregnancies which gives a woman the freedom to plan her motherhood appropriately. But that's not all that it can do! These pills can also be used to skip your monthly periods and help you control your menstrual cycle.
Why Skip Periods?
Before discussing how to use birth control pills to miss monthly "bleeding", let's understand why you may want to do so.
  • A lot of women complain of migraines and headaches during their periods. They are usually unpleasant to deal with.
  • Some women experience abdominal pain and muscle cramps which can be quite unbearable. This usually affects their daily activities.
  • Many of us would like to be "period-free" while on a vacation, honeymoon, or traveling for business purposes. Having periods during such times can become awkward and wane you from all the fun.
  • Serious health conditions like anemia may make a woman want to dodge her periods for sometime.
  • Buying sanitary and hygiene products like pads, tampons, etc. might add up to your monthly budget.
What's the Logic?
Typically, a birth control pill comes in a 28-day pack to be taken in a month. The pack has weeks or days mentioned aside the pills. This helps a consumer take the right pill on the right day of the month. The first three weeks requires you to take hormonal pills which induce certain hormonal changes. These changes prevent ovulation thus negating your chances of getting pregnant. The fourth week, also called the placebo week, requires you to take placebo pills or sugar pills. It is essentially a dummy pill which has no pharmacological effect as it is not medicated. However, this pill discontinues your hormonal dosage which leads to what is known as withdrawal bleeding. After this week, one moves to the new packet of pills and resumes the routine.
How to Dodge?
A few simple steps with your pill, and you can avert the monthly menstrual blood flow. These are described below:
  • Take the hormonal pills from the pack for the first three weeks.
  • On the first day of the fourth week switch to a new pack of pills. Take the pill meant for the first day of the second month and continue with the pack. You can safely discard the dummy pills of the first pack.
  • When 21 pills (meant for the first three weeks for the second month) from the second pack gets over, use a third pack. Discard the dummy pills of the second pack.
  • Continue using the hormonal pills and discard the sugar pills till you don't want to menstruate.
  • If you want to resume your monthly bleeding you can start taking the placebo pills on the fourth week of every month, or you can stop using birth control pills altogether. (Note: the latter method will not protect you from a pregnancy.)
Certain antibiotics and other medication can hamper the effects of the pill.

Monophasic vs. Multiphasic Pills
Before using birth control pills, it is important to understand the types available in the market. Contraceptive pills could be either monophasic or multiphasic (biphasic or triphasic). Monophasic pills are those that use a constant and defined concentration of estrogen and progestin. However, multiphasic pills have varied concentration of hormones. The pills (multiphasic) to be taken in the first week will have lower hormonal concentration compared to the pills of the second week. If there are two variations in such concentration, it is called biphasic pills, whereas three variations of concentration are called triphasic pills.
Monophasic pills work effectively by preventing your periods, whereas, multiphasic pills are quite cumbersome to use. They increase the chances of having breakthrough bleeding, rendering them to be a secondary option.

Mini-pills have only progestin (no estrogen) in them, making them apt for women who are breast feeding or experience severe side effects.

There is a simple explanation for it. The hormonal strength of the first week pills (new pack) of multiphasic pills will be much less than that of the last week pills of the previous pack. Hence the fluctuations in hormone levels usually lead to breakthrough bleeding. So if you want to be absolutely sure, use monophasic birth control pills for the purpose.
It will be beneficial if you start using a particular brand of pills months before you actually want to miss your periods. Your body requires time to adjust to the new hormonal environment set in your body by them.
Health Concerns
Although skipping periods using pills sound convenient, it may cause health problems in some women. Some prominent side effects are similar to the side effects that are experienced from using oral contraceptives. Sometimes, women may experience nausea, irregular bleeding or spotting, mood changes, weight gain, etc. However, these problems usually persist till the body gets adjusted to the pills. Nevertheless, it is said that continuous use of these pills can increase the risk of having a heart attack, blood clot, stroke, etc. Some studies also say that taking birth control pills continuously can lower libido or sex drive.
Regular usage of the pills reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by 30-35%.

Some experts are of the opinion that taking such pills to avoid periods are totally safe. Due to certain medical issues (hemorrhage, surgery, etc.) loss of blood due to periods may be undesirable. There are women who take birth control pills continuously to skip their periods altogether. It is said to be the best way of freeing themselves from the problems associated with monthly periods. Women who take this pill regularly have said that it has helped in improving their quality of life.
With this two-sided argument, the safety of skipping periods still remains a big question. However, medical evidence shows that taking birth control pills for skipping periods does not cause major side effects or health problems in women. Nevertheless, if you want to take the pills to stop menstrual bleeding for a long time, it is advisable to consult your doctor to help prevent any kind of complications.
DISCLAIMER - This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.