one of my friends skips her period by taking her birth control pills a certain way. is this safe?

Q: One of my friends skips her period by taking her birth control pills a certain way. Is this safe?

A: Generally, yes–but she should talk to her doctor if she plans on doing this regularly.

Women can avoid their periods if they skip the last seven pills in a 28 day pack. Those pills don’t contain hormones, so missing them won’t put a girl at risk for pregnancy. When a girl does this, she can just start a new pack of pills as soon as she finishes the previous one.

Another option is to get a prescription for a birth control pill called Seasonale. Seasonale works similarly to the method described above, but it designed so you only get your period four times a year, instead of twelve.

And while I am sure you know this, I can’t help myself from mentioning that while the pill is great for preventing pregnancies, it offers no protection from STDs. Only condoms can do that.

Some girls choose to skip their periods if they have a special event coming up like prom or a swim meet. Others would be happy to get rid of them all together and plenty don’t think menstruating once a month is such a big deal. But whatever your take, it’s nice to know you have options.

Photo provided by spentpenny


Posted in: Ask an Expert, Birth Control, Health, Sex & Relationships
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  • Devin

    I just had a talk online with my friend and she got mad and concerned that I skipped my period for this month. She said I shouldn’t have done it and that I was going to hurt myself. It really got to me (and the hormones from the pills made me feel worse) and I left the chat and got emotional thinking I messed up myself and took her words too hard.
    Well, my boyfriend got mad and told me to look up EVERYTHING about my birth control and all about birth control. Made me feel a lot better. ^_^

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  • Kelly

    I'm anemic and I do continuous birth control (I do have a few periods per year, though) because my period was causing my lack of iron. I can't swallow pills, so I took liquid iron supplements for a while, but they were disgusting, expensive, inconvenient for travel (I had to dilute them in lemonade or iced tea mixes), and they started turning my teeth yellow, so we went to the doctor for a new solution. So far, this has worked for me. Occasionally, when I forget a pill, I'll just have my period because my body gets thrown off otherwise.

  • amanda

    I've done this before and my doctor says it's actually safer. This is what my doctor explained to me. Before the current times women spent most of their adulthood pregnant and got less periods. This stabilized their body's natural chemical cycles that are associated with menstruation and as a result, these women had lower occurrences of breast and ovarian cancer. There is currently a study going that is testing the correlation of period frequency and cancer occurrence. It may actually be safer to skip you period a few times a year.

  • W

    Regardless, just because there are scientists/doctors who believe there are pheromones, it is not widely accepted enough to be considered scientific fact. nothing is 100% in science or in the world, we all know that. But there are certain things which are widely enough accepted to be considered "scientific fact" and the point is that there aren't enough studies to scientifically prove that pheromones work for all humans. It isn't widely accepted. It works for animals, but studies still vary too much for people to prove that pheromones work for humans. Thus it still can't even be proved that the hormones are altered when on birth control, as I'm still attracted to girls anyways.

  • nikia

    I think every girl shud b on the pill if u dont want any kids juss go on the pill and still use rubbers and you will b kid free!!!! lol

  • Casey

    I saw a video on sexhealthguru.com (which has certified doctors and scientists on the vids)that said pheromones make you attracted to someone you would be very much genetically compatable with (as in you aren't related) and that's why you may like a person who isn't your "type".

  • liza

    would'nt that be amost every girls dream skip their period without getting pregnant

  • Hippiesque

    You actually NEVER get your period when on birth control.
    The bleeding you experience when on your placebo pills is called "withdrawal bleeding."
    So technically, everyone who takes birth control pills is skipping her period.

  • Natalie

    Also, I've heard that although it's okay to skip some periods, you should have at least four a year, which would explain why there are birth control pills that reduce your number of periods but none that eliminate them.

  • Natalie

    I think what Steph is referring to is a study/studies that suggested that birth control can alter what sort of pheromones attract you. Unless I'm greatly mistaken, it isn't a sexuality changing thing at all, just a guy/girl x's pheromones might appeal to you more while on birth control, but while off of it, guy/girl y's might appeal to you more. I want to stress again that it isn't a proven or 100% of the time thing, just something that has a chance of occuring.

  • W

    Interesting comment Stephanie….. seeing as how I was gay years before I went on birth control for my period. But I've got to say…. I still don't like guys. Guess the study just didn't work on me. Maybe, according to your great studies, which I doubt come from certified gynecologists, we should give lesbians birth control and see how many turn into straight women. I mean, because that would mean we would be attracted to opposite pheromones that we normally like. Let me know how that study goes. Not to mention it's not even scientifically proven humans have pheromones. It's simply theory at this point, not scientific fact.
    The real side effects include major weight gain/loss, and an increase in heart disease and strokes (caused by blood clots), and cancer of the uterus.

  • noe

    You forgot to mention that by doing so, you're more likely to get breakthrough bleeding.

  • sydney

    Seasonale doesn't make your periods any heaver then normal, for most it actually makes there periods lighter. The pill is designed so that the hormones prevent the lining and blood from accumulating every month. Then on the third month you would have period like normal.
    I have been taking Seasonale for almost a year and my periods are the same as they were before i started taking them.
    Hope that helps.

  • Could you elaborate, Steph? And perhaps post where you got this info?

  • Steph

    Everyone should look into the effects of birth control. There have been studies done that show taking the pill makes you attracted to the opposite pheramone than you would normally like. I am not judging I just think people should know more about what they are putting into their body.

  • Mandi

    I know how you're thinking, Katie- longer intervals means more lining which means heavier, longer periods, right? It's not like that because BC pills don't change your body's "timer" of when to release the uterine lining, but the actual lining built up because they use hormones that allow it to happen that way.

  • crista

    I'm on Seasonale, my periods are lighter than they've ever been. And they last 4-5 days. It's probably somewhat different for everyone, but no, they shouldn't be any heavier or longer, definatly.

  • Katie

    I'm just curious, would taking a pill like Seasonale make your periods super heavy or extended when you did get them? Or would they be normal?