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If you feel like your period comes around a little too quickly every month, it might surprise you to learn there’s a good reason for thinking that. Women today experience three times as many menstrual cycles as the generations before us. We have earlier onset periods, later first births, fewer pregnancies, shorter breastfeeding periods, and later menopause to thank for this surprising stat.
A recent study showed that 91% of women who use birth control pills would like to skip their period every once in a while. But is running your packs together or skipping the sugar pills dangerous? And will it affect future fertility? We spoke to Associate Professor Pete Benny, a sub specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and Medical Director of Sydney fertility clinic BUMP to find out.
1. Will skipping your period potentially stuff up future fertility?
No. Skipping your period will not upset your potential fertility in the future and in fact in the US and Europe there is an Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP) marketed as a seasonal OCP where you take active pills for 84 days then 1 week sugar pills, thus only having a period every 3 months (ie every season). This has been deemed safe by health professions and health organisations. So skipping your sugar pills for a cycle or two is completely fine.
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2. Will it stuff up your cycle if you do it too much?
No, it will not upset your cycle if you do it too much so long as you don’t do it too long. No more than 3 months at a time between periods so that the uterine lining can then be shed.
3. Is it okay to stop your body from doing what it’s meant to do every month?
Yes, the OCP is mimicking the bodies own hormones and controlling your periods. They have been used for generations now, are safe, effective, inexpensive and very convenient for many women.
It isn’t necessary to have a period every month if you are not trying to get pregnant. The only reason women have periods every month is to maximise the chance of getting pregnant at the time. If you are not trying to get pregnant there is no health benefit from having periods every month.
4. Are there any other health concerns we should be worried about?
Not unless you skip your period for too long at a time, when the uterus lining becomes too thick and needs to shed, you need to have a period. But this will not affect your fertility for the future and is not harmful to your health in any way.
5. Is there anyone who shouldn’t use the pill to skip their period?
- Women who have a genetic blood clotting disorder or have had issues such as PE’s(Pulmonary Emboli) or DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) shouldn’t use OCP’s at all.
- It is advised women over 35 who smoke should not take the OCP due to blood clotting risks.
- Women with existing heart disease, severe obesity and/or hypercholesterolaemia (high cholesterol level) should also not use the OCP.
6. Who should do it?
- Women who are busy ‘on the go’, and can’t afford to have a period due to many reasons like social-travel-sport-life issues may consider skipping periods.
- Women who experience heavy or painful periods can consider skipping their period for the sake of comfort also.
- Women with endometriosis will often get benefit from having less frequent periods.
Do you use the pill to skip your period?