There are many reasons why you may not enjoy getting your period. Painful cramps, heaving bleeding, and sheer inconvenience are just some them. You’ve heard that birth control may help, some of which may even stop you from menstruating entirely. So, what birth control stops your period? And, is it bad to take birth control to stop your period? You have questions; we have answers. Keep reading to learn more!
What Birth Control Stops Your Period?
There are so many birth control options available for women. There’s the birth control pill, the IUD, the patch, the ring, the implant, and so on and so forth. With so many options, where do you even start?
First things first, always ensure you speak with your doctor about the right birth control method for you. Everyone is different and will have a different experience with birth control.
If you’re tired of your period, you’re likely wondering what birth control stops your period. The pill, the IUD, and the shot all have reputations for helping in this department. But is it true or too good to be true? We’ve gone into detail about what you can expect with each of these methods. So, read on below.
Your Period on Birth Control: What is a Withdrawal Period?
Before we can get into what birth control stops your period, there’s something you should know.
Did you know that your period while on hormonal birth control is an imposter? Don’t panic! We can explain.
Women taking hormonal birth control typically have what are called withdrawal periods. While they may look and feel like regular periods, they aren’t actually true periods at all.
These periods usually occur during your placebo week when taking hormonal birth control such as the ring, the patch, or the pill. However, as mentioned, this bleeding isn’t really a true period. According to the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals (ARHP), it’s “the body’s reaction to not having the hormones it gets the other three weeks of the cycle.”
Is It Bad to Take Birth Control to Stop Your Period?
If you’ve been paying attention, you may already have an idea of the answer to this question.
Really speaking, isn’t at all necessary for women to have a withdrawal period while on hormonal birth control. According to Vox, the reason for withdrawal periods is because a scientist who helped develop the pill, developed it that way to make it seem more “natural”.
So, is it bad to take birth control to stop your period? Not at all. In fact, it’s fairly safe! According to ARHP, “there is no evidence that shows women need monthly withdrawal bleeding, and no health problems are linked to skipping or eliminating bleeding.”
The advantages of skipping your period would, of course, involve avoiding most of the issues that come with your period. So, you can say “bye, bye” to those horrible cramps, bleeding, and PMS symptoms!
The only downside, according to ARHP, is that you may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding in your first few months of using birth control to stop your period. If you ever experience any concerning side effects like severe aches in your abdomen, chest, or legs, as well as vision changes or heavy bleeding, be sure to contact your doctor right away.
Can Contraceptive Pills Stop Periods?
In order for us to effectively answer this question, there are some things you should know about the pill. There are two types of birth control pills: the combination pill and the progestin-only pill.
As its name implies, the combination pill contains a mix of estrogen and progestin. It primarily works by stopping ovulation from occurring. In other words, it stops your ovaries from releasing an egg. Without an egg for sperm to fertilize, a pregnancy cannot take place.
Most combination pills require you to take three weeks’ worth of pills containing hormones. The fourth week is typically your placebo week.
The progestin-only pill, as you’ve likely gathered by now, only contains one hormone—progestin. It’s often called the mini-pill because of its low hormonal dose.
With this in mind, the combination-pill would be your go-to for stopping your period. However, it also comes down to the type of pill you’re taking.
If you weren’t already aware, not all combination pills are the same. There are multiphasic and monophasic pills.
According to Bedsider, multiphasic pills have a mix of hormones which changes from week after week. On the other hand, monophasic pills contain the same mix of hormones each week.
It’s possible to control the timing of your period with both a monophasic pill and a multiphasic one. However, skipping periods with multiphasic pills is not as well studied and, according to Refinery 29, may be a little more difficult to use (for skipping periods).
If you are on a monophasic pill, skipping your period is easy. Once you have finished taking all the active pills in your pack, move on to the active pills in your next one. In other words, instead of taking the placebo pills during your fourth week, you’d be starting the new pack right away.
You’d pretty much do the same thing with the multiphasic pill. But, of course, you should always consult with your doctor before making changes to your birth control pill regimen. This is because everyone is different and will have a different experience with the pill.
So, can contraceptive pills stop periods? The short answer to that is: yes! However, it comes down to the type of pill you’re taking. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to control the timing of your period if you’re on the progestin-only pill. It’s the monophasic combination birth control pill that would really do the trick. But, the multiphasic combination pill could also work. Just ask your doctor!
Do IUDs Stop Periods?
As noted in Self.com, according to the Assistant Clinical Professor of obstetrics at Mount Sinai School of Medicine Alyssa Dweck, M.D., “hormonal IUDs can cause irregular bleeding for the first three to six months.”
However, per board-certified OBGYN Antonio Pizarro, M.D., “with hormonal IUDs, it’s not unexpected for periods to stop altogether.”
Furthermore, according to Besider, about 1 in 5 people using the Mirena or Liletta IUDs will experience no periods after the first year of use. To add to this, Mirena is also the only IUD that has been approved to treat heavy periods.
Additionally, as noted in Cosmopolitan’s article, clinical trials have found that 20% of women on Mirena, 12% of women on Kyleena, and 6% of women using Skyla will stop getting their periods within the first year of use.
Thus, not every woman on the hormonal IUD will experience a lighter or non-existent period. However, it’s worth mentioning that the IUD is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. So, if you’re forgetful with the pill, patch, or ring, and avoiding a pregnancy is your number one priority, do talk to your doctor about this birth control method to see if it’ll work for you.
Furthermore, Paragard, the copper IUD, may not be your best bet to reduce or stop your flow. Because this IUD is 100% hormone-free, you’ll still get your period. In fact, according to Paragard’s website, the most common side effects are heavier and longer periods. Women can also experience spotting between periods. However, these side effects typically ease up after two to three months.
So, do IUDs stop periods? The short answer to that is yes and no. If you’re on a hormonal IUD, especially Mirena, there is the chance that you will have a lighter, shorter period or no period at all after the first year of use. However, if you’re on the Paragard IUD, you may experience a heavier, longer flow for at least the first two to three months of use.
Can the Depo Shot Stop Your Period?
The Depo Provera shot only contains progestin and no estrogen. Thus, it’s not uncommon for women on this shot to experience irregular periods or spotting, especially in the first two to three months.
However, according to AAFP, “up to 50 percent of women experience amenorrhea,” after the first year of use. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, amenorrhea is the absence of your period. Furthermore, this number can jump to 80% with increasing duration of use.
So, can the Depo shot stop your period? Much like the IUD, it depends. As mentioned in Planned Parenthood’s article, many women who get the shot stop getting their period after approximately a year of use. However, there’s no guarantee as everyone has a different experience with it.
With this in mind, remember that Depo Provera might not be suitable for everyone. So, be sure to have a chat with your doctor to see if this is the right method for you.
So, if you’re wondering what birth control stops your period, know that you have options. The pill, the IUD, and the shot may all help in stopping your period.
However, stopping your period (or controlling the timing) is the most predictable with the monophasic pill. Women using the IUD and the shot may have to wait a while before their periods stop. To add to this, it’s not always guaranteed that your periods will stop altogether with the shot or the IUD.
And, remember, if you’re on the pill, be sure to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your regimen. It’s always better to be safe than sorry!