No Period Worries. Period.
By Ashley Grimes and Donna Rangel
One thing that still stands out in my mother's mind about her wedding day was the fact that she was on her period. After months of dealing with all the details of planning a wedding, there was one detail she overlooked -- she was going to be on her period on her honeymoon. Even if your cycle is fairly regular, sometimes stress can disrupt Mother Nature and your best laid plans can fall through. What if you could guarantee that you would not be menstruating on your honeymoon? Depending on your health history you may be able to do just that. While not all doctors agree on how often women should menstruate, they do know that skipping periods is a safe option for some women.
Skipping periods has recently received considerable media attention but doctors say it's nothing new. For years they've manipulated periods for women on birth control. Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation, but for one week every 21 days users take dummy or sugar pills that contain no hormones. During that week, they get their period. By taking the 21-day course of pills back-to-back and never taking the sugar pills your period doesn't arrive.
Feel like you're messing with mother nature? Experts say there really is no physiologic purpose to the 28-day pill cycle, birth control manufacturers developed that cycle because for many generations that's what we've become accustomed to…our monthly visitor. You might be surprised to learn that our modern lives have actually set those rhythms into place. Women today have far more periods than our prehistoric counterparts. In the 1900s, women had fewer than 160 periods in a lifetime, according to statistics from the Population Council. That's because they got their period later, had more children and breast-fed longer. Women today start their periods earlier, have fewer children, may not breast-feed as long, if at all. Population Council researches estimate that women now have an average of 450 periods in a lifetime -- nearly three times as many as our foremothers. So intentionally having fewer periods really is contrary to nature at all. There's really nothing natural about having a monthly period.
Before you go on period strike, consult your doctor to determine whether you're a candidate. Then work with together to find the right birth control for you, keeping in mind that everyday risks associated with hormonal birth control -- blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and potential loss in bone density -- will increase with continuous use of the pill. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your health history and personal preference. But at least we now have a choice.