I get a lot of questions about using a birth control pill to skip your period. Mostly is it a safe and healthy thing to do? The answer is most definitely YES! It is safe, and it is healthy. First of all, talk to your doctor to see if you are a candidate for oral contraceptives (OCPs) in general. There are specific health conditions which we do NOT want to prescribe OCPs for safety reasons.
How does birth control work?
First, let’s talk about how birth control pills work. These tiny pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation. Meaning your ovaries won’t release an egg. This makes it harder for sperm to reach an egg. So, no egg and no viable sperm usually mean no pregnancy. It’s a pretty effective system.
So it’s okay to skip my period?
If you are healthy and have no medical issues, you may be a candidate to take OCPs. If your doctor determines it is safe for you to take OCPs, then it is safe to take them in a continuous fashion to skip your period. You’ll only skip your period if you are taking a “monophasic” pill, meaning all of the active pills have the same dosage of estrogen and progesterone in them. If you have a “triphasic” pill, meaning each week has a different dosage of hormone and each row is a different color, then you cannot take them in a continuous fashion to skip your period. Continuous use also does not apply to progesterone only pills or the “mini-pill.”
How can I skip my period while on the pill?
- Take all 21 or 24 days of active pills (depending on the type of pill). Active pills have estrogen and progesterone in them and are all the same color.
- Once you take your last active pill, skip your placebo week.
- The following day, open a new pack and start from the beginning, again taking all of the active pills. If your pack has 28 pills in it, either the last 4 or 7 pills are placebo pills, meaning they have no active hormone in them and they are meant to be taken as reminders so you don’t forget when to start your next pack. Some brands have iron supplements in them. These pills will be brown, but they still don’t have hormones in them.
OCPs keep the lining of the uterus (endometrium) very thin. So by continuously taking an OCP, your lining remains thin and does not build up at all. You can continue skipping your placebo pills for as long as you desire. The main side effect is unscheduled or breakthrough spotting/bleeding. If this persists, talk to your doctor about how to resolve it.
Does it work every month? What are the side effects?
Yes, you can, but your body might have its say. Some people experience irregular spotting or breakthrough bleeding when they skip periods. It’s not a cause for alarm; your body is just adjusting to the change. If it becomes bothersome, though, feel free to contact your healthcare provider. Some of my patients worry that skipping periods could harm their fertility or have some long-term adverse effects on their bodies. Yet, no evidence suggests that missing periods will impact your ability to conceive later on.
Skipping your period while on the birth control pill is safe. The pill is designed to prevent pregnancy. Skipping the sugar pills won’t compromise their effectiveness. It’s a choice many people make for the sake of convenience, and it won’t mess with your fertility down the road. Remember, your body, your choice. If you’re considering skipping your period, chat with your healthcare provider to ensure it aligns with your health goals.