Here is the good news!
There seems to be no additional risks associated with using the pill to suppress the seven-day break (beyond the health risks already linked to hormonal pills or devices). Nearly 100 percent of female OB/GYNs in a national survey by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) said menstrual suppression was safe for their patients. In fact, it may even be beneficial for reducing the chances of premenstrual mood swings and weight gain.
That being said, it’s still important to mention that there have been no long-term studies examining the safety of continually skipping the period. Sometimes, medical repercussions take a longer time and/or need a larger population sample size to emerge. However, the current consensus is that no blood is built up inside your body when you are on the pill. Thus, bleeding when on the pill serves no purpose other than mimicking the natural cycle and making you comfortable with the pill.
Benefits may include the following
- Taking hormonal contraception for period suppression continuously may relieve pelvic pain, headaches, breast tenderness and bloating that may occur with menstruation.
- Research shows that patients with endometriosis may use continuous hormonal birth control or a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) to relieve severe menstrual cramps and pelvic pain.
- Fewer periods may also benefit women who are negatively affected by monthly blood loss, such as those with anemia or bleeding disorders.
Risks may include the following
- The risks of suppressing the period appear to be the same risks and side effects that come with using any type of hormonal birth control.
- The main side effect of having long, bleeding-free stretches is an increase in unpredictable breakthrough bleeding (unpredictable mid-cycle bleeding). The good news is that the frequency of breakthrough bleeding may decrease over time.
- Beyond that, there’s the issue of birth control failure. With typical use, hormonal birth control pills prevent 91 percent of pregnancies per year. However, if a woman suppresses menstruation, it’s more difficult to know if her birth control failed and they’re pregnant.
- Long-term contraceptives are recommended only if the doctor prescribed them. However, many long-term birth control methods contain hormones. This can cause problems depending on a woman’s medical history, age and overall health. Doctors may advise some women to avoid using certain types of birth control. If a birth control pill causes side effects, a woman can discuss this with her doctor and change pills until she finds one that works for her.
A lot of doctors (wrongly) believed previously that skipping the break would make it less effective. Skipping the break is associated with breakthrough bleeding, fear and anxiety regarding missing a pregnancy. Theoretically, it is also associated with a higher risk of thromboembolism due to a higher amount of hormones. This may be the reason why many doctors continue to advise taking a break. If a woman chooses to stop taking hormonal birth control, her natural menstrual cycle and fertility will usually return to normal after one month, regardless of how long she skipped her period.
What does birth control do to a woman’s body?
Not all women will experience side effects. Some side effects will go away within several months as the body adapts to certain methods. No birth control method is perfect, and every procedure or method is associated with side effects. Below are a few short- and long-term effects of birth control on the body.
Short-term side effects
- Unusual bleeding between periods, or spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Weight gain
- Mood swings
Long-term side effects
What is the best form of birth control?
What’s “best” among birth control methods differs from woman to woman. What's right for a woman may not be right for every woman. And a person’s needs may also change over time.
- The only 100 percent certain way to avoid pregnancy is abstinence, which is impossible to follow long-term. Abstinence is avoiding penetrative sex or any sexual activities where sperm can get on the vulva or into the vagina.
- Using condoms with an additional type of birth control is considered the most effective way to avoid pregnancy and this also guarantees extra protection. No birth control method is perfect. So using condoms with another type of birth control (such as the implant, intrauterine device (IUD) or a pill) gives backup protection in case either method fails. And condoms seriously lower the chances of getting all kinds of sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and herpes.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Top Is It OK To Skip the 7-Day Break on the Pill Related Articles
Birth Control OptionsBirth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed prior to using any birth control method.
Choosing Your Birth Control MethodWhich birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot, implant, patch and more. Learn about birth control side effects and effectiveness.
Birth Control Pill vs. Depo-Provera ShotBirth control pills (oral contraceptives) and the Depo-Provera shot are two hormonal methods of birth control. Both methods work by changing the hormone levels in your body, which prevents pregnancy, or conception. Differences between "the pill" and "the shot." Birth control pills are available as combination pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or mini-pills that only contain progestin. In comparison to the Depo-Provera injection, which prevents pregnancy for three consecutive months. Both methods of birth control are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Both the combination pill (if you take them as directed) and shot are up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. While the mini-pill is only about 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. Both methods cause weight gain, and have other similar side effects like breast pain, soreness or tenderness, headaches, and mood changes. They may lead to decreased interest in sex in some women. There are differences between the other side effects of these methods (depending upon the method) that include breakthrough bleeding or spotting, acne, depression, fatigue, and weakness. Both oral contraceptives and the Depo-Provera shot have health risks associated with them, such as, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and cervical cancer. Birth control pills appear to increase the risk of cervical cancer. Talk with your OB/GYN or other doctor or health care professional about which birth control method is right for you.
Birth Control Pills vs. CondomsBirth control pills (oral contraceptives) and condoms are methods of birth control used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills are taken orally and are used by women only. Condoms are worn externally and there are condoms for both males and females.
Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptive) vs. Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone injection)Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and Depo-Provera (medroxyprogesterone) are methods of birth control used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills are taken orally and Depo-Provera is an injection administered every 3 months. Depo-Provera is also prescribed for missed menstrual periods (amenorrhea), abnormal uterine bleeding, endometrial cancer, and renal cancer.
Birth Control Pills vs. NuvaringBirth control pills (oral contraceptives) and Nuvaring (etonogestrel/ethinyl estradiol) are methods of birth control used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills are taken orally while Nuvaring is a vaginal ring inserted intravaginally.
Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives) vs. Patch (Ortho Evra)Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and norelgestromin/ethinyl estradiol transdermal patches (Ortho Evra) are methods of birth control used to prevent pregnancy. Side effects of birth control pills and the patch that are similar include nausea, headache, breast tenderness/enlargement, missed/irregular bleeding, and breakthrough bleeding (spotting).
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) vs. Plan B (levonorgestrel)Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and Plan B (levonorgestrel) are methods of birth control used to prevent pregnancy. Birth control pills are taken regularly to prevent pregnancy, while Plan B is emergency contraception (“the morning after pill”) used as backup contraception to prevent pregnancy when taken within 72 hours after unprotected sex or when birth control fails.
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQWhat is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
DVT and Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives)Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that has traveled deep into the veins of the arm, pelvis, or lower extremities. Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can slightly increase a woman's risk for developing blood clots, including DVT. DVT symptoms and signs in the leg include leg or calf pain, redness, swelling, warmth, or leg cramps, and skin discoloration. If a blood clot in the leg is not treated, it can travel to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) or post-thrombotic syndrome, both of which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Increased risk factors for DVT and birth control pills include over 40 years of age, family history, smoking, and obesity. Other medical problems that increase the risks of blood clots, for example, lung or heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Other options for preventing pregnancy include IUDs, birth control shots, condoms, diaphragms, and progestin-only oral contraceptives.
Can You Lose Weight While on the Birth Control Pill?It is possible to lose weight while on the birth control pill, but every woman's body is different and reacts differently to hormones. Eating a sensible diet and adopting a regular workout regimen will help you maintain a healthy weight.
Birth Control Pills (List of Oral Contraceptives and Side Effects)Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) are prescription medications that prevent pregnancy. Three combinations of birth control pills that contain progestin and estrogen are 1) monophasic, 2) biphasic, and 3) triphasic. Birth control pills may also be prescribed to reduce menstrual cramps or prevent anemia. Certain prescription medications may cause drug interactions. Some women experience various levels of side effects of birth control pills.
What Does Birth Control Do to Your Body?Different birth control methods work in different manners. No birth control method is perfect and every procedure or method has a side effect.
Which Birth Control Has Least Side Effects?No form of birth control is free of side effects, but there are some that have the least noticeable ones.
Why Is Birth Control So Bad for You?Birth control is used all over the world. The main use of birth control is to avoid unplanned pregnancy. Although there are various means of birth control, birth control pills are popular because they have a good success rate and are relatively safe for the majority of the population.