Skipping period with birth control pills: Safety and side effects

A special event coming up or you just want a break from period cramps? You might be thinking of reasons for skipping your period. Find out if skipping your period on birth control is safe or not.

Periods come every month, and there may be times when you want to delay or skip them. It may be due to a vacation plan or a special event. Birth control pills, which help to prevent unwanted pregnancy, can also delay your period. But we wondered if skipping period using birth control pills is safe or not.

Skipping or delaying a period is generally considered safe for many women, says obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Komal Bhadu. It can be done using hormonal birth control methods, allowing for more flexibility in managing your menstrual cycle. However, she says that individual health factors and the type of birth control used play crucial roles in determining the safety of this practice.

When you are on the pill, you don’t have periods because a uterine lining does not get built up. But you will experience bleeding, also called a withdrawal bleed, during the week you take the placebo pills or hormone-free pills. The withdrawal bleed happens because it’s your body’s way of responding to the lack of hormones in the inactive pills. When you start taking the hormone-containing pills, the bleeding will stop.

birth control pills
Birth control pills can delay your period. Image courtesy: Adobe Stock

How to skip periods using birth control pills?

Using hormonal birth control such as combination birth control pills allows women to manipulate their menstrual cycle. By continuously taking active pills (hormone-containing pills) without the hormone-free interval, menstruation can be delayed or skipped, says Dr Bhadu. When using birth control to skip periods, it is essential to follow the prescribed instructions from a gynaecologist. Consistency in pill consumption is crucial to ensure effectiveness, and any deviation from the prescribed regimen should be discussed with your doctor.

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What are the precautions first-time birth control pill users must take?

Before you start taking birth control pills, you need to wait for your next period to begin. Take help from your doctor, who may first want to see how your body reacts to the pills before you start using they to delay your period. If you want to skip your period just once, you will need two packs of pills. One pack will be for your current month and another for the following month. You will need more packs if you want to skip periods back-to-back. But the bottom-line is you must not do it without

Woman looking at birth control pill
Consult a doctor or read carefully about the pill before taking it to skip periods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

What are the side effects of skipping periods with birth control pills?

There may be some side effects of skipping periods with birth control pills, as your hormones are involved. Here are some potential side effects:

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• Some women may experience spotting or light bleeding between periods while skipping them using birth control pills, says the expert.
• Hormonal fluctuations can lead to breast tenderness or pain or enlargement.
• Altering hormonal levels may impact mood, causing emotional changes in some women.
• Some may experience nausea as a side effect of hormonal birth control, particularly when starting or altering the regimen.
• Hormonal changes can contribute to headaches in some women.
• A potential side effect of hormonal birth control is a reduced interest in sexual activity.
• When you do not have a regular period, you don’t get the monthly confirmation that you are not pregnant.

While these side effects are possible, they vary among individuals, and not everyone will experience them.

Skipping or delaying periods using birth control can be a safe and effective choice for many women, offering increased control over their menstrual cycles. But consult with your gynaecologist to ensure it is done safely.