Avoiding Pain and Inconvenience is Possible, but Should You Skip Your Period?
For some, it’s a regular monthly visitor who offers proof that all is well with the reproductive system. Because your period can provide valuable information regarding your overall health, many women prefer to experience their monthly cycles without intervention or interruption; others seek to bring it to a halt whenever possible.
If you are one of the latter, there are possibilities for skipping your period.
If you’re tired of tolerating the troublesome symptoms of your period, then using birth control pills to skip a cycle may be something to consider.
Like any decision with your feminine health, choosing to skip a period will require some thought, planning, and consideration of the risks and benefits. Read to discover just what hormonal birth control can do to your cycle if you choose to skip.
Common Period Symptoms
Because changes to hormones occur throughout the menstrual cycle, they can bring about physical and emotional changes, especially in the days preceding and during your period.
Symptoms are different in each person and can also present differently from month to month. Some symptoms may result in mild discomfort, while others tend to interfere with daily life.
The most common period symptoms include:
- Mood swings
- Feeling irritable
- Pain in the lower abdomen (cramps)
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite
These common symptoms are widely known as Premenstrual Syndrome, but there is a small population of women who experience a more intense time of the month.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder is a much more severe issue with a higher likelihood of disruption to normal life.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD) symptoms include:
- Severe headaches accompanied by joint and muscle pain
- Binge eating or other significant behavioral changes
- Feeling depressed or even suicidal
The exact causes of Premenstrual Syndrome and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder are not easy to pinpoint. Other than changes in hormones, it’s possible that heredity plays a role.
Suffering from cramps and mild symptoms may be tolerable for you, but if you’re plagued with pain, you may look for a reprieve.
Feminine Healthcare Issues that Make Period Pain Worse
Aside from regular hormonal changes during your cycle, there are other health issues that can increase period pain and discomfort.
Dysmenorrhea or pain associated with your period, when severe and prolonged, can mean a possible reproductive issue. In these cases, women experience intense pain that disrupts their normal life for several days each month.
Some reproductive problems that cause acute pain include:
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Other conditions like defects in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and uterus are also contributors. It’s even possible for Crohn’s Disease or urinary disorders to increase period pain.
These issues with your period may have you desperate for relief. Some women choose to use birth control as that method.
Hormonal Birth Control Pills: How They Work
In order for pregnancy to occur, an egg has to be released from the ovary and then fertilized by sperm. Birth control pills prevent an egg from being released; essentially, they stop ovulation.
Hormones in your body are responsible for the release of the egg. Birth control pills contain synthetic hormones, estrogen, and progestin, that safely prevent an egg from being released. The pills create more of a continual balance of hormones, and without a surge of estrogen each month, an egg is unlikely to be released.
If an egg does reach the uterus (remember, nothing is 100% effective besides abstinence, even birth control pills at an impressive 99% effectiveness rate), the hormones in the pill also make the uterine lining thinner making it more difficult for the egg to attach.
Additionally, the hormones make cervical mucus thicker, which makes the sperm less likely to reach the uterus.
How Does Birth Control Affect Your Period?
When taking an oral contraceptive, you’ll still have a period, but the bleeding that happens when you’re on the pill isn’t normal menstrual bleeding.
On the pill, your body initiates what is known as withdrawal bleeding. As the hormone levels in the medication gradually drop, it causes the lining of the uterus to shed.
Most women taking birth control pills report lighter bleeding or even spotting. This is certainly one of the perks of the pill. The duration of the bleeding can also be shorter than when off the pill. It is all dependent on the amount of hormones in the pill and how your body reacts.
Interestingly, there is no medical necessity for this bleeding. So, that begs the question, why have a period at all?
Skipping Your Period: Risks and Benefits
Let’s start by mentioning that the best thing to do is consult with your healthcare provider before moving forward to skipping a period. They can give you the best advice pertaining to your situation and give you peace of mind knowing that an expert has counseled you in your decision.
With that said, it’s generally safe to skip a period using your pills since, again, there’s no medically necessary reason for your uterus to shed its lining.
Truthfully, there aren’t many risks of skipping a period. One issue is breakthrough bleeding. This means you’ll have bleeding or spotting even when you’re still taking the active pills. It can increase the more often you use your pills to skip. If you experience breakthrough bleeding, it’s important to track it in order to monitor if it becomes worse in subsequent months.
Another drawback to skipping your period is missing it as a sign you’re not pregnant. Yes, if you’re on the pill, it’s 99% likely you won’t get pregnant, but the chance is there, especially if you miss a pill or are irregular with when you take them during the day. It’s very important to know the early signs of pregnancy and pay attention to your body.
The major benefit is avoiding painful period symptoms. It gives women who dread that time of the month hope that they’ll feel normal every day. Using this tactic can really be a relief for those who suffer chronic pain.
It’s also a matter of convenience. Maybe you have a special event or important trip coming up, and you’d prefer your monthly visitor not accompany you. Skipping your period works for that too.
Extended Cycle Pills
Extended-cycle pills offer a continuous regimen of hormones for several months. They contain more active pills than a traditional twenty-one or twenty-eight day prescription. These types of pills can significantly reduce the number of periods you have in a year.
So, an interesting option is what’s known as extended cycle pills. These are hormonal birth control pills that, when taken regularly, limit the number of periods you have. This means the pain won’t happen so often.
Opting for an extended cycle pill can mean a reprieve from painful periods for many months out of the year.
Other Options for Managing an Uncomfortable Cycle
If you’re not interested in messing with mother nature, perhaps you can try other possible means of controlling pesky period symptoms.
Getting exercise is actually advisable while you’re on your period. You may not feel like moving at all times of the month, but light exercise can help alleviate cramps and get your endorphins flowing to put you in a better mood.
Minding your diet is a good idea during menstruation. There are great foods to eat and avoid that can help make it a little more manageable overall.
Relax! There are plenty of ways to center yourself and add to how you want to holistically handle your period.
- Take a warm relaxing bath (with candles!)
- Go for a walk in nature
- Treat yourself to a comforting warm beverage
- Lose yourself in a good movie or book
Definitely make sure you’re using a safe and reliable product! Certain products can create a more comfortable period experience; they help physically by treating your body right and mentally with peace of mind knowing you’re fully protected.
Rely on Red Moon for Period Support
Red Moon’s very existence stems from the desire to give women a better option for managing their periods. We’re certainly passionate about delivering a top-quality product that allows for a holistic period experience!
Whether you choose birth control as an option or look toward other management methods, Red Moon does offer a premium period experience with our one-of-a-kind pads.
If you experience period pain and are in search of relief, we encourage you to be well-informed of your options and use us as a resource for enjoying a healthy, happy period.
Cherie Marquez is the co-founder of Red Moon, where she brings her talents as an entrepreneur, storyteller, and holistic health enthusiast. Cherie is also the founder of Take One Daily Media, a marketing, advertising, and design agency dedicated to using media in creative and progressive ways. For twenty years, Cherie has used marketing and design strategy to impact social change. You can connect with her on Linkedin.