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Menstruation While On Oral Contraceptives

written by: Sherrell Icon • edited by: lrohner • updated: 12/27/2010

The FDA approved period suppression in 2007. Women have been suppressing heavy menstruation while on oral contraceptives by not taking the spacers in their traditional birth control pills. Although this is widely practiced, many question the safety of period suppression.

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    Heavy Periods and Contraceptives

    Many women experience the side effects of heavy periods each month. Obstetrician and gynecologist Dr. Leslie states that the average woman can have up to as many as 450 periods in her lifetime. Many have to deal with severe cramps, head and body aches and bloating. Some experience pain so severe they are bedridden and cannot work.

    Until recently, there was no relief beyond over the counter medications and waiting it out. Now many more women have the option of using contraceptives to stop their periods altogether. There is some concern in the medical community, however, over whether or not this is safe or if there are any long term side effects and risks.

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    Period Suppression Becomes Possible

    While the birth control pill has been on the market since the 1960s, the FDA did not approve the period suppressant pill until May 2007. USA Today states that Lybrel was the very first approved pill for period suppressant, despite the fact that half of the women that signed up for the clinical trial for the pill dropped out. We have now come a long way since Lybrel.

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    Many Ways to Supress a Period

    Women use various methods to suppress a period, although for many, the goal is not to cut out their period altogether but just to have fewer of them. Dr. Leslie confirms that women taking oral contraceptives bleed a third less than those that don't. Yaz and Loestrin shorten periods to as little as three days per month. Seasonale works differently. It reduces the amount of periods that a woman has throughout her life time. So the average woman that has 450 periods would only have about about 150 periods. Before the FDA approved period suppression, Dr Leslie Miller reported that many of her patients opt to take their traditional birth control without the spacers. Although this is a common practice, there is great confusion as to whether or not this method of suppression is safe.

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    Period Suppression Side Effects

    The pill is not for everyone, although most side effects are mild and non threatening. However, some are quite serious, including heart attack, stroke and blood clots. Also, some studies show a link between continuous contraception and an increased risk of heart attack. As always, it is necessary to consider all options with the help of your doctor.

    Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for educational purposes only and should not be used for diagnosis or to guide treatment without the opinion of a health professional. Any reader who is concerned about his or her health should contact a doctor for advice.

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