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How Does Birth Control Contribute to Irregular Periods




As a new month approaches, a sweep of eerie realization creeps over you: Did I skip a period? In the next moment you’re on a mission, skimming through the calendar on your period tracker app to pinpoint the exact date of your last period. Despite that lingering feeling of anxiety, there is a significant chance that you may not be pregnant. A missed period can be associated with other various factors such as stress, weight changes, and excessive levels of exercise. Additionally, birth control can play a role in contributing to a missed period. 


Many women may experience amenorrhea when taking birth control in their lifetime from adolescence to premenopausal stages. Amenorrhea occurs when the menstrual cycle has skipped or stopped and can occur over a time span of 3 months or more; this is called secondary amenorrhea. Although a missed period can be common, you might want to figure out the underlying cause if the amenorrhea is a recurring issue. Consider if the reason lies in your birth control.


What causes birth control to affect periods? Birth control brands can consist of various different hormones to contribute to the prevention of pregnancy. Birth control comes in the form of a pill, shot, or intrauterine IUD. According to Planned Parenthood, the contraceptive depo shot can contribute to lighter or fewer periods overtime. Not only does the birth control shot contain progestin which ceases the process of ovulation, it also thins the uterine lining and thickens the mucus in the cervix limiting the chance sperm can pass through. In this intrauterine mechanism, hormonal IUD contains the synthetic progestogen, Levonorgestrel that works in the same manner. After insertion of a hormonal IUD, the side effects include irregular periods and spotting. Some women have experienced their period stopping altogether after insertion. 


Additionally, there are numerous birth control pills that are designed for the sole purpose of eliminating periods. The grueling symptoms of menstrual cycles provoke many women to dismiss their periods completely. Although the route to end your period may sound tempting, one negative effect due to suppressing your period is the possibility of accidental pregnancy. Breakthrough bleeding can also take place in the event of attempting to stop your cycle through birth control. Always consult your doctor to discuss the risks of taking birth control and what form best suits you.


As a woman it’s important to become cognizant of your birth control and the possible side effects. Ask yourself this: Am I okay with my birth control possibly stopping my cycle? Consider what you want out of your desired contraception and educate yourself on the occurrences of irregular or absent periods. By educating yourself on the type of hormone and dosage levels in your birth control, you can pinpoint the side effects of amenorrhea and better prepare yourself when your monthly visitor isn’t consistent. 

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