Periods can be a monthly nuisance for many women. But for some, it’s a monthly toll of cramps that have disabling effect on every aspect of life. Many end up missing out on work, school, and life altogether
Many teenagers experience triggering migraine causing them to throw up or blackout. As a woman, you may want to suppress menstruation for, say, a game of sports, a personal event, or maybe a vacation. If you’re here to learn how to do that, this comprehensive guide has put together facts and myths about menstrual suppression.
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To simply put, menstrual suppression involves the use of hormone medications to stop periods or make them lighter.
You can choose to opt for menstrual suppression if you get painfully debilitating periods. Others experience irregular periods that make it difficult to control. Apart from personal reasons, studies suggest that menstrual suppression can become necessary for a variety of medical reasons.
For example, anyone suffering from chronic pelvic pain, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and endometriosis, delays in development, headaches, and bleeding disorders may also need menstrual suppression.
Contraceptives and Pills
Thanks to healthcare research and technology, we now have oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) in markets. OCPs can suppress periods by changing bleeding patterns in women. Consequently, anyone taking OCPs will experience changes in their period pattern, such as four periods per year (Seasonique and Seasonale) or no periods at all (Lybrel).
Menstrual suppression OCPs are similar to traditional contraceptive pills. The active tablet consists of a combination of Ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel. What differs is the way every woman takes it.
Typically, you’ll take a pill for 21 days and then seven days for placebo pills. However, for Seasonique and Seasonale, you’ll take the pill for 84 days, followed by seven days of placebo tablet. In each case, a woman gets her period while taking placebo tablets. Lybrel, on the other hand, uses the same hormones but a slightly lower dosage to ensure no change in hormonal dose throughout the year.
Effectiveness and Risks
Lybrel and Seasonale are the most-suited options for many women. If you’ve been prescribed birth control pills by your healthcare providers, then you can safely take these pills too. But it’ll take a dozen more hormone pills throughout the year for people who’re trying to suppress their menstruation using these pills as compared to those taking the pill for 21 days.
There seems to be no significant health risk associated with Seasonale or Lybrel. Still, there’s a need for long-term research to make meaningful inferences.
Traditional OCPs are associated with the risk of blood clots or stroke. This risk is high among women who smoke, have high blood pressure, or are aged 35 years or old. Thus, these risks can be linked to the extended intake of menstruation suppression pills.
The effectiveness of these products is similar to traditional birth control pills. But whether they actually suppress periods is not a straightforward claim to be made. Many women experience breakthrough bleeding instead of reducing or ending menstruation. They experienced unpredictable and irregular period patterns.
Keep in mind: the initial testing and these results led to a high rate of drop-out during the first trials of OCPs. Other participants eventually experienced a decline in irregular bleeding
Addressing Elephant In The Room
If you’re alarmed by the facts, here’s your moment of respite: menstrual suppression is safe. It’s safe to stop or control your periods using medications. These medications are being used since the 1960s to suppress periods.
Hormonal medication won’t harm your body, although certain methods and medications may have some risks and side effects. So it’s important to discuss it with your healthcare provider.
If you decide to opt for menstrual suppression, know that there are many methods. Each method will take time before your periods start to lighten or stop altogether. The first few months may come with an unpredictable period pattern. Rest assured that the heaviness of bleeding will lighten over time or stop.
Keep a menstrual calendar to chart your spotting and bleeding. This way, you can update your provider to seek improvements. Talk to your provider if your periods don’t lighten or stop after 6-12 months.
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