The Scientist: Lauren F. Streicher, M.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, and author of Sex Rx: Hormones, Health, and Your Best Self Ever.
The Answer: Yes, it’s perfectly safe to skip your period while on birth control. In fact, there are only good things that can come from it!When you take your pills for three weeks and then take one week of placebo pills, your body experiences a drop in hormones that can cause you to feel crappy. Sure, you get your period like you naturally would if you weren’t on the Pill, but you also feel fatigued, moody, and just downright blah. However, there’s no reason to even take that week off and get your period. Not having one won’t hurt you (unless you’re someone who needs it as monthly reassurance of an empty womb!).
If you look at the origins of birth control, the reasoning for adding one week of palcebos had nothing to do with science or health. One of the reasons was in hopes the Catholic Church might be more accepting, since it mimics the normal menstrual cycle. For a lot of women, though, that hormonal plunge just really screws them up.
Also, since the most common time for unplanned pregnancies on the Pill is when you start a new pack a day or two late, you dramatically reduce the risk of error by starting a new pack immediately when your active pills end. If you’d prefer to take your pills continuously, ask your gyno if it’s possible to get a prescription that calls for no placebo so you can jump from one pack right into the next without worrying about insurance coverage. (Worrying about not getting pregnant is enough for you to worry about!)
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