Your period can be a real pain, literally and figuratively. So you've probably often wondered, is skipping your period while on the contraceptive pill safe?
And if so, how do you do it?
Well, fortunately, you're in luck! Here is everything you need to know, from how the pill works to skipping your period and how to do it safely.
Does the pill stop your period?
If you take the birth control pill, you may have heard about it stopping periods altogether. But is there any truth to this?
Yes and no — the pill doesn't stop your period; rather, it prevents your body from producing hormones involved in the natural menstrual cycle and ovulation, such as oestrogen and progesterone.
Suppressing ovulation means the body doesn't release an egg, so there's no need to shred your uterine lining, which causes a period.
So when you take the pill, you're not having a "real" period — instead, you're experiencing withdrawal bleeding caused by the drop in hormones while taking the placebo pills.
However, that being said, the pill does not completely stop your period. Instead, it significantly reduces the frequency and intensity of your periods and prevents the uterine lining from being shed .
Can you skip your period on the pill?
The most common type of birth control pill is the combination pill, which contains both oestrogen and progestin hormones.
With this type of pill, you can skip your period by skipping the placebo week and starting a new pack of active pills immediately. But is it safe?
It is generally safe to skip periods while taking birth control pills and it's a pretty common practice among women who use oral contraceptives. When you take the pill continuously, without taking the placebo pills or pill-free break, you effectively prevent the hormonal changes that normally cause menstruation.
This prevents the drop in hormone levels that trigger a withdrawal bleed (which is what most people think of as a period).
However, it's important to note that you may experience some breakthrough bleeding or spotting during the first few months of continuous pill use .
Can you skip your period on the mini pill?
Unlike combination pills, which contain both oestrogen and progestin, the mini pill is progestin-only. This is a hormone that works to thicken the cervical mucus and prevent sperm from reaching the egg.
It is a popular option for women who can't take traditional birth control pills due to health reasons or for those who are breastfeeding.
Because mini birth control pills don't consistently suppress ovulation, they are less effective at preventing pregnancy than the combination pill. However, it can still be an effective method of birth control for people who can't or don't want to take oestrogen.
Now, when it comes to skipping your period on the mini pill, it's a bit more complicated than with the combination pill. Since the mini pill doesn't consistently suppress ovulation, it's not always possible to skip your period simply by skipping the placebo pills.
However, some people may be able to skip their period by taking only the active pills continuously without taking a break from the placebo pills.
You may experience some breakthrough bleeding or spotting if you try to skip a period on the mini pill. This is because the progestin in the mini pill can cause irregular bleeding in some people.
While this is considered normal, you should still speak to your healthcare provider if you are concerned .
Reasons why you might want to skip your period
Having a period can really cramp your style. It is often inconvenient, uncomfortable, and even painful for some people.
This is why there are several reasons you might want to skip a period.
- Heavy or painful periods: If you have particularly heavy or painful periods, skipping a cycle can be a way to give your body a break and reduce discomfort.
- Medical reasons: Some women have medical conditions that can be exacerbated by their periods, such as endometriosis or migraines. Skipping a period can sometimes provide relief from symptoms.
- Going on vacation or travelling: If you have a big trip planned, you might not want to deal with the inconvenience and discomfort of having your period while you're away.
- Convenience: Let's face it, periods can be a hassle. If you have a busy schedule or don't feel like dealing with it, skipping a period can be a welcomed relief.
How to skip your period safely on the pill
Skipping your period on the pill is generally safe for most women. In fact, many forms of hormonal birth control, including certain oral contraceptives, are designed to allow you to skip your period.
However, it's important to understand the ins and outs of skipping before you make any changes to your birth control regimen.
Here are some tips to safely skip periods while taking birth control pills .
Talk to your healthcare provider
Before making any changes to your birth control regimen, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider to make sure it's safe for you to do so.
Use a monophasic pill
Monophasic birth control pills are designed to keep your hormone levels consistent throughout the month, which makes them ideal for skipping periods.
Skip the placebo pills
Most pill packs come with a week of placebo pills designed to give you a period. To skip your period, skip the placebo pills and start a new pack of active pills right away.
Don't skip too many periods in a row
While it's generally safe to skip your period occasionally, doing so too often can increase your risk of breakthrough bleeding or other side effects. Talk to your healthcare provider about the best schedule for you.
Watch for side effects
Skipping your period can sometimes cause side effects like headaches or mood changes. If you notice any unusual symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider.
Use a backup method of contraception
While skipping your period doesn't affect the effectiveness of your contraception, it's still a good idea to use a backup method like condoms to prevent pregnancy.
Consider the benefits and drawbacks
Skipping your period can be convenient, but it's not right for everyone. Consider the pros and cons and talk to your doctor before deciding.
If you're interested in skipping your period on the pill — and are a fan of convenience! — you may want to consider Kin Fertility's pill subscription service.
We take the hassle out of getting your monthly pill prescription and we offer a range of different contraceptive pills based on your circumstances. Get started and an Australian health practitioner will prescribe you the best option for your needs.
Kin Fertility's online platform allows you to easily manage your pill prescription, receive automatic refills, and access virtual consultations with healthcare providers if needed.
How many times can you skip your period on the pill?
The number of times you can safely skip your period on the pill depends on several factors, including the type of pill you're taking and your individual health needs.
Skipping your period occasionally is generally safe. However, doing so too often can increase your risk of breakthrough bleeding, when you experience bleeding or spotting outside your usual period.
Many women can safely skip a period for many months while taking contraceptive pills. But, there is no hard and fast rule regarding how many times you can safely do this, and you should always consult a doctor .
Does skipping your period on the pill mess up your cycle?
Skipping your period on the pill can disrupt your menstrual cycle in the short term, but it usually doesn't have any long-term effects on your cycle.
When you skip the placebo pills in your pill pack and start a new pack of active pills right away, you're essentially extending the hormone cycle of the pill and preventing the drop in hormone levels that would normally trigger your period.
While this can increase the risk of breakthrough bleeds, it is important to remember that it is normal to experience some spotting or breakthrough bleeding when you skip your period on the pill. This is usually nothing to be concerned about and should go away on its own within a few days.
However, if you experience prolonged or heavy bleeding while skipping your period on the pill, or if you miss a period after skipping, it's important to get medical advice .
Are there side effects of using the pill to skip your period continually?
While skipping your period is not dangerous, there can be side effects to taking the pill continually. Here are some potential side effects to be aware of .
Breakthrough bleeding or spotting
Skipping the placebo pills and starting a new pack of active pills right away can cause breakthrough bleeding or spotting, which is light bleeding or spotting between periods. This can be unpredictable and may persist for several months.
Hormonal changes caused by using the pill to skip your period can cause mood changes, such as depression, anxiety, or irritability.
Some women may experience headaches or migraines due to using the pill to skip their period.
Hormonal changes can also cause breast tenderness or enlargement.
Nausea is a potential side effect of hormonal birth control, including the pill.
Some women may experience a decreased sex drive while using hormonal birth control.
Increased risk of blood clots
Using hormonal birth control, including the pill, can increase the risk of blood clots in some people — particularly those who smoke, are overweight, or have a history of blood clots.
Can I still get my period even though I skipped taking the pill?
While very reliable, contraceptive pills aren't an exact science.
You might be surprised to learn that yes, it is possible to get your period even if you skipped taking the placebo pill and continued the active pills. Here's why .
- Missing pills: Missing one or more active pills during your pill pack, can decrease the pill's effectiveness and increase the chance of pregnancy. If you miss pills, it's important to use backup contraception, such as condoms, until you start a new pack of pills.
- Hormonal fluctuations: Hormones follow their own rules, so even if you take your pill consistently, hormonal fluctuations may cause breakthrough bleeding or spotting. This can happen even if you're taking an extended cycle pill designed to reduce the number of periods you have.
- Other medications: Some medications, such as antibiotics or antifungal medications, can decrease the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptive pills.
- Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as thyroid disorders or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), can cause irregular periods or bleeding.
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