The Convenience Factor in Postponing your Period

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Menstruation may be a normal and healthy part of being a woman, but it sure can be a pain sometimes. Most women would agree that they seem to be on a schedule with their period in which it always seems to coincide with some major event in their lives. If you have ever wished you could be more in the driver’s seat when it comes to managing your menstrual cycle, you are in luck. There are many medications available that can help you skip your period so that it does not interfere with your life.

Why do women want to postpone their periods? There are many reasons why skipping a period could be convenient and beneficial. For most women, the idea of menstruating at their wedding or on their honeymoon is not every appealing, and likewise having your period at other major events, like proms, vacations, graduations, first days of work or school and more can make an otherwise enjoyable occasion stressful. Apart from these reasons why having a period might be unpleasant, some women experience serious health problems with their periods that can be crippling.

Women who suffer from Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder (PMDD), a form of extreme PMS, may be forced to miss work and school because of their physical premenstrual symptoms like exhaustion and severe cramping, and they may also experience major depressive episodes in the run up to their periods. For other women, menstrual bleeding is so heavy that is it debilitating, while still other women suffer migraines when their periods arrive. Women who have chronic health problems, like endometriosis, diabetes, epilepsy, and thyroid conditions may experience worsening of their conditions around their periods.

For all of these reasons, the ability to postpone your period can really come in handy. The good news is that altering your menstrual cycle, which is called “menstrual manipulation” in the medical community, can be achieved through the use of oral contraceptives. If you have ever taken birth control pills before, then you will be familiar with cycle of these pills – three weeks of taking a hormonal pill every day (either estrogen, proestrogen, or some combination of the two), and then a fourth week of placebo pills, during which your period comes.

Doctors have advised their patients for years that it is possible to skip your period by skipping the placebo week of pills and going straight to a new pack of active pills. While these worked as a short term strategy, doctors were unsure about how safe it was for a woman to repeat this plan on a long term basis and generally advised against it. Luckily, however, in recent years, a new generation of birth control bill has been developed that allow you skip your period over a longer term. With these pills, you can have as a few as three periods a year.

The new generation of birth control pills have been approved by the FDA for long term use and generally believed by doctors to be safe. However, like all medications, there are some risks and side effects involved. There is a greater risk that you will experience so called “breakthrough bleeding” – spotting between periods – with these pills. There is also a slightly increased risk of blood clots in healthy patients. If you are a smoker, these pills are not for you. Of course, without periods coming, you may not be able to tell if you become pregnant. Doctors advise patients to pay close attention to unexplained weight gain and fatigue, morning sickness and tender breasts as pregnancy warning signs.

Last but not least, some doctors don’t believe that skipping periods is healthy for women in the long term. Keep in mind that postponing your period could have some implications for your fertility down the line, in terms of the lag time between going off your oral contraceptives and becoming fertile again.

Posted by Andrew
on Sep 28 2010. Filed under Weight, Women.
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