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Menstrual Suppression (Manipulating Menstruation with Hormonal Contraception)

Question

I’ve been reading and hearing about it—I wonder if you think I should try to get rid of my period by taking the Pill every day? Does it work? Is it safe?

Answer

Thanks for your question. Taking the oral contraceptive pill or other forms of combined (meaning estrogen with progestin) hormonal contraception (such as the patch or the vaginal ring) for longer than the usual cycle of 21 days straight with 7 days off (extended-cycle combined hormonal contraception = extended CHC) or daily (continuous combined hormonal contraception = continuous CHC) is certainly a hot topic right now! Let me first answer your question about the effectiveness of these methods.

Longer cycles or continuous CHC use does provide effective contraception—fewer than one out of 100 women/year will become pregnant while on it. And taking something daily may also be easier to remember, especially for younger women. (Daily could include 21 days of active contraception and 7 days of placebo). However, if for some strange reason you want to re-invent what it means to be a woman and have no vaginal bleeding, not just prevent pregnancy, extended or daily CHC use will disappoint you. Expected menstrual-like flow is usually less, but unexpected bleeding or spotting is more and inconvenient, to say the least! Unexpected bleeding is especially true for first-time Pill or CHC users. Another disadvantage is that it becomes harder to be sure you are not pregnant. For more information about the potential benefits and risks from longer cycles or continuous combined hormonal contraception see the article, “Manipulating Menstruation with Hormonal Contraception—what does the Science say?

Updated Date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013 - 13:45

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