The other day I was at the Doctors office and after posing a few questions in regards to contraception pills, the Doctor advised me it is actually
quite common and healthy for a woman to skip her "cycle" by continuing on to the next set of pills. He assured me this was safe for up to 4 months.
Now, correct me if I'm wrong but there is something very wrong with the idea of going against nature in such a way. The female body is too complex.
So I decided to look further into this, and would like any feed back/information you can offer as well.
The Era of Optional Periods
Most women don't jump for joy when this time comes around, as it can have various effects on different women, ranging from mild to extreme - and for
those who have medical conditions it is understandable why certain measures may be taken. However in the case of pure convenience, is this truly safe?
There seems to be some different opinions.
The convenience factor is a newer concept, and women are slowly coming around, says Leslie Miller, MD, associate professor of obstetrics and
gynecology at the University of Washington. Miller stopped her own periods for "convenience" during a grueling medical residency. Later, she began
medical research on using oral contraceptives to help women skip periods. Patients have told her that they've wanted to skip periods for honeymoons,
vacations, and sports.
She explains that women on birth control pills aren't having normal menstrual cycles because they block ovulation and that it is only "withdrawal
bleeding" because hormone levels drop during the week that they take placebo pills. In result the uterine lining is broken.
In past decades, doctors have used birth control, sometimes in unorthodox ways, to help certain patients suppress periods. But the optional period
entered a new era in 2003. That year, Barr Pharmaceuticals launched Seasonale, the first FDA-approved, extended-cycle birth control pill designed to
give women only four periods a year. The company has also released Seasonique, a second-generation drug that also advertises four periods annually.
A company called Wyeth Pharmaceuticals' Lybrel would be the first continuous birth control pill to stop periods for one year. These would contain
Estrogen and Progestin.
Yet here we have Doctors that don't agree this should be done, Dr. Jerilynn C. Prior, MD, Professor of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the University
of British Columbia says "To reduce it to 'periods don't matter' is totally unscientific,"
"I think that the normal menstrual cycle is absolutely crucial to women's health. My perspective is that the normal menstrual cycle is
incredibly complex, it's created from the brain, and it serves a general health purpose, not just a reproductive purpose." She says that normal
menstruation has beneficial effects on women's bone and cardiovascular health.
Even The Society for Menstrual Cycle Research which consists of doctors, nurses and social scientists agree that this should not be taken out of
While the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research acknowledges that menstrual suppression may be useful for severe menstrual problems such as
endometriosis, its web site states: "We do not believe that continuous oral contraception should be prescribed to all menstruating women out of a
rejection of a normal, healthy menstrual cycle."
When looking for the side effects, it seems there is not enough data to conclude that menstrual suppression is safe. Researchers are still looking
into the effects on bone health, risks for blood clots and strokes, and effects on fertility, among other issues.
states that it depends on which type of pill you are using. If it
has the same level of hormone all through the course, which is known as monophasic pills, as a opposed to biphasic or triphasic pills which have
different levels of estrogen and progestin at different times throughout the pack
Dr Edith Weisberg, Director of Research at Sexual Health and Family Planning Australia, says the only reason women need to have periods is if
they are planning on becoming pregnant
Now, I don't personally agree with the quote above. From all of the articles I've read it seems that you can trick your body maybe a few days/weeks
( I can't imagine getting this on your wedding night ) but there are just too many differing opinions on this matter and not enough facts and data to
conclude the safety of having a period 1-4 times per year.
Any information you have is valuable