The contraceptive pill modifies the hormonal cycle… and therefore also the periods. Anne-Sylvie Tardieu, gynecologist, helps us shed light on the most frequently asked questions about periods on the pill.
Many birth control pills are meant to be taken for three weeks, then stopped for a week to make way for a period. But periods on the pill are not the consequence of the same phenomenon as a menstrual cycle without taking hormones. These are “false” periods, created to reproduce the hormonal cycle. Anne-Sylvie Tardieu, gynecologist, explains:
“It’s called a hormone withdrawal bleed. The pill mimics a hormonal pattern with three weeks of hormone-active pills and a week of stopping the hormones, which leads to bleeding from the uterine lining. Periods contain uterine lining cells which remain thin under the pill. During a cycle without hormonal contraception, the mucosa grows to eventually accommodate an embryo resulting from the fertilization of an oocyte by a spermatozoon. This is the reason why periods on the pill are less abundant than without the pill.”
Is the duration of periods on the pill different?
The “normal” duration of periods on the pill may be questionable. Anne-Sylvie Tardieu insists on the fact that normality is relative: even without taking hormones, the menstrual period can vary between one and ten days. Under the pill, it can also vary.
“One-day periods are possible on birth control, they tend to be lighter, lighter, and less painful.”
It is also possible to have the impression that the periods occur several times in the month. For example, we can observe an effect of “spotting” ”: under the contraceptive pill, the mucous membrane is thinner, so much so that it can occasionally cause small bleeding. A phenomenon that is not serious. But it is important to remain vigilant if it tends to repeat itself.
“This could be linked to an effect of adaptation to taking the first pill, but if bleeding occurs at any time during the month, you have to check that there is nothing else. So you still have to go to a consultation, check if it’s not related to the cervix, an infection, a pregnancy, or a polyp that has developed…”
Polyps are growths that can develop on the cervix, for example, and which can occasionally cause bleeding. Hence the importance of not taking heavy bleeding or bleeding over a long period of time lightly.
Menstruation Late or Early on the Pill: Should You Be Worried?
What if the rules are “outside the box”? Even on the pill, it happens that the rules arrive early or late.
“The rules are not always minute or day by day, If it happens outside the pill-free period, you have to check if there is nothing else behind it, and make sure in priority that ‘there is no pregnancy.’
Because the birth control pill is not 100% effective. In fact, none contraceptive is not: it is therefore possible to get pregnant on the pill. In the context of a perfect use (without any forgetting therefore), this contraception achieves 99.5% efficiency. In case of unusual bleeding, do not hesitate to do a pregnancy test.
what to do in case of menstrual pain under pills?
In case of pain, it is first necessary to check that there are no diseases. Then, it is possible to adjust the dosage with his or her gynecologist, if it hurts or if the bleeding is too heavy.
“The classic pill combines estrogen and progesterone. Estrogen is always minidosed and can be adjusted. So if the periods are more abundant on the pill, it is possible to rethink the dosage.”
In the event of discomfort or pain related to menstruation on the pill, it is therefore in all cases recommended to refer it to a professional: this will first allow to detect a possible infection or pregnancy, and then to adjust the dosage of the pill, to live its contraception in all serenity.
This content has been verified by a referent gynecologist from the Nabla app. This free application allows you to ask all the questions you have about your body, without taboos and in complete confidentiality to health professionals. To download the app, go to here !
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Periods on the pill ≡ Delay • Absence • Pain
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