Live Better
 
 

Periods on the pill

We explore the potential side effects of skipping your period while on the pill.

Women have an estimated 450 periods during their lifetime and for the majority of us, that monthly ‘friend’ or ‘visitor’ isn’t exactly greeted with open arms. The thought of not having to worry about pads, tampons, or painkillers may sound tempting, but the question remains… Are periods on the pill necessary?

To find out the answer, let’s first take a look at a ‘normal’ menstruation cycle.

Menstruation cycle 101

When you’re not on the pill or any other hormonal birth control, your menstrual cycle is regulated by natural hormones produced in the pituitary gland. Each cycle, your uterus lining thickens and blood flow increases in preparation for receiving a fertilised egg. If you don’t fall pregnant, the uterus lining releases the extra blood and goes back to its normal state. This shedding is what you know as your period.

Period on the pill – is it real?

The pill has a small amount of man-made oestrogen and pregestin hormones. These hormones usually work by stopping ovulation.

So, this may come as a surprise, but the monthly bleeding you experience while on the pill is not actually menstrual bleeding at all. It’s a symptom of short-term hormone deprivation, also known as withdrawal bleeding. In fact, the menstrual cycle women experience while on the pill is completely man made. The 28 day cycle was created because scientists assumed women would feel more comfortable if the pill mimicked their natural cycle.

This means delaying your ‘period’ when you’re on the pill is simply a matter of skipping the sugar or placebo pills and starting the next packet straight away.

Is it safe to skip my period?

Most health professionals say it is quite safe, and compare skipping periods on the pill to other natural things that stop menstruation, like breastfeeding and pregnancy.

But be mindful that skipping the pill may result in breakthrough bleeding for some people, and experts advise having your period every few months to avoid it.

If you’re thinking about using the pill to skip your period, speak with your GP first to find out what the best approach is for you. And if you experience a lot of breakthrough bleeding or spotting, raise this with your doctor as you may need to go back to a regular cycle.

Are there any benefits of skipping periods?

There are some studies which suggest skipping your period could result in reduced menstrual symptoms, such as headaches, tiredness, bloating and menstrual pain. While this may sound like great news for women who suffer physically and emotionally from these symptoms, always discuss your options with your GP before making any changes to your contraception method.

Learn more about your health on Health Brief.

Recommended Reading

Healthy Living

Are you cutting your toenails correctly?

Straight or curved? Podiatrist Joseph Frenkel explains. Read more

Wellbeing

Worried that you’re gaining weight at Uni?

We’ve got simple pro-active approaches to a common issue. Read more

Healthy Living

Eating for a healthy heart

Take care of your heart with these dos and don’ts. Read more

Healthy Living

Let’s talk about (safe) sex

So you want to have sex? Here’s what you need to think about. Read more

youtubetwittersign-up-userArtboard Copynp_phone_503983_000000download_red4xdownload_red4x copyArtboardmember-offer-starLogoMedibank - Logo - ColourOval 5Instagram iconicon-editdownload_red4x copygive-back--spinesgive-back--moneygive-back--massagegive-back--likegive-back--jointgive-back--emailgive-back--dislikedownload_red4xdownload_red4xGroup 5filter-iconfacebookMobile Navcheckcarret-upcarret-rightcarret-leftcarret-downGroup Copy 2arrowarrow-circleanimated-tick