Ask most women how they feel about their periods, and without a second thought they'll tell you how much they dread them. Which is why it's no surprise that recent reports have found that there has been a rise in women
using contraception methods to STOP having their periods. Thanks to the various forms of birth control out there, such as the IUD, hormone shots, and even birth control pills, women have many methods to choose from.
From the moment we got our first periods, we've been taught that having a period is a necessary biological experience for us that happens, on average, every 28 days. Then as you get older, you learn that you have the choice to go on birth control to prevent pregnancy and reduce any painful symptoms your period may bring you. In addition, these popular contraceptive methods are also causing women getting light-to-no periods.
Which raises the question: Could this be the end of the period? After all, when you have a period while on birth control, it's technically not a real one, because they're all synthetic hormones and you aren't ovulating. There is also no evidence that it's unsafe to NOT have one while on birth control. We had one of our experts weigh in on this trend that's grown in popularity over the recent years.
OB-GYN Dr. Angela Jones says that first it's important to know that certain forms of contraception may be the reason some women aren't having periods. "Having no periods can be a side effect of the progesterone forms of birth control," she says. For example, the Mirena IUD, Depo-Provera shots, or the arm implant. These progesterone methods of contraception are most notoriously known for causing irregular bleeding, but aren't necessarily to blame for amenorrhea (a.k.a. no periods).
Most of Dr. Jones's patients who have tried to "stop" or control their periods through contraception normally do so if they're going on vacation or are preparing for other special occasions. "I don’t see anything wrong with being on contraception that causes shorter, lighter, less painful periods — or in some cases no periods at all — as long as the woman in question is healthy otherwise," she says.
On the other hand, there are other situations when it can be a little risky. If a woman is healthy and not getting a period on birth control, it's less worrisome than a woman who had health issues prior to going on it. "If that's the case, then it makes me question, is there something more significant like PCOS? Obesity? Insulin resistance? Elevated androgen levels? If these other issues are factors then they could affect a woman’s health negatively down the road," Dr. Jones says.
In the event that you eventually plan on getting pregnant, it's also best to do your research and see which method is best for you and the time frame you want to conceive. "You may want to consider what form of contraception you are using, because some forms are more readily reversible than others," explains Dr. Jones. Depending on the method of birth control you are on (and your body), it can take up to months for it to be completely out of your system.
Overall, if you are in good health, taking control of your period via birth control most likely won't harm you. "I’m a HUGE advocate for lifestyle! When you are healthy, everything else usually falls in line. If you are interested in suppressing your period, just make sure that you know all the risks, benefits, and the whys of wanting to do so," concludes Dr. Jones.
If you are healthy and want to enjoy the glory of not having a period, remember it's still important to consult with your doctor. They'll know the best contraception option for your lifestyle and make sure you're doing so under the right supervision.