Ladies, your secret is out. A new survey confirms 63 per cent of us are mucking around with our contraceptive pills to try to skip or even just delay periods.
We’re doing that without ‘fessing up to our GP or even our pharmacist. That’s because half of women surveyed believed that doing this is a bit risky… somehow a bit dodgy. Sound familiar?
It’s SO FINE to skip your periods! In fact for conditions such as PMS, endometriosis, period pains, heavy periods and iron deficiency, it can be a whole lot better for you. (Post continues after gallery.)
It can lower the chance of accidental pregnancy and you save money on pads and tampons. Studies have shown that those who take either an extended or continuous pill to skip periods suffer fewer headaches, symptoms of genital irritation, tiredness or bloating.
No wonder studies show women who skip their periods while taking the pill are more satisfied with their whole pill experience. One major study of women who gave skipping periods on the pill a try, only 14 per cent went back to having taking the pill with a monthly period.
So why all the angst? This is a space heavily laden myths that I hope you’ll allow me to bust one at a time.
MYTH number 1: It’s healthy to have a period every month.
WRONG. Look, if you are trying to get pregnant, the blood, rich lining of the uterus is a perfect environment for a budding embryo. Keeping it fresh by replacing it every month is perfect for baby growing. If however getting pregnant is not on the cards, you don’t need a nice fresh blood rich uterus lining, so shedding the old lining doesn’t give you benefits.
MYTH number 2: It’s dangerous to skip periods on the pill.
NOPE. The pill was designed to mimic a woman’s normal cycle. So a seven day pill free ‘period' was designed to make being on the pill feel totally natural. It was never designed to rid your body of blood. Skipping periods on the pill is actually a good way to reduce blood loss and therefore keep your iron levels higher, especially if you don’t eat a lot of meat. Like 50 per cent of doctors in the UK (Aussie doctors haven’t been surveyed) I actually suggest my patients skip periods because it’s just better for you.
MYTH number 3: You get a buildup of toxins if you don’t have a monthly period.
GRRRRRR. If that were true men would have periods. The blood lost in a period is blood. Like the blood in your arms and brain. Period blood contains no nasty witchy female venoms or toxins. It’s just blood. Blood is healthy, and it’s better off staying inside the body. If you’ve ever been iron deficiency, you will know how tired and unwell you feel and you will do all in your power to avoid that particular situation!
MYTH number 4: Skipping your periods might make you infertile.
No. There is no evidence for any of that. Whether you have a period every month or every three months, we generally see a full return to your baseline fertility six weeks after stopping the pill. If your periods were all over the shop before you started taking the pill, you should expect the same pattern when you go off it.
So are there any issues with skipping periods?
Breakthrough bleeding and spotting.
This isn’t uncommon. One in five women get breakthrough bleeding on the pill whether they skip periods or not. This tends to get better over time. In very few is there a flood. It tends to be light spotting which most girls can tolerate- especially when they know it will get better soon.
By the way, there was a study that showed that smokers were 47 per cent more likely to get breakthrough bleeding than non-smokers on the pill. Smoker? Ditch the fags - safer on the pill anyway.
Another study found that 30 per cent of women taking the pill who developed some breakthrough bleeding had a chlamydia infection. Chat to your GP - we might want to do a quick test for this sexually transmitted infection. I also wound suggest we make sure your pap tests are up to date.
It can be hard to remember when to bin the sugar pills and when to restart them.
Especially if your pill has only four sugar pills instead of the usual seven. All of a sudden it’s Tuesday but your pill is trying to tell you it’s Saturday! Chat to your GP about your options. There are pills specifically designed for skipping periods which make the whole process much easier.
Some women can develop sore breasts from being on the pill - whether you skip periods or not. It’s the hormones in the pill that are the culprits. If this is you, chat to your doctor.
Talk to your doctor before making any decisions regarding your contraception.