What You Need To Know About Menstrual Cycle And The Pill
Planning to start birth control? You may want to consider how it will affect your usual menstrual cycle. Whether you’re looking to regulate your monthly cycle or prevent unwanted pregnancies, it’s best to educate yourself to know what the pill does to your body.
Firstly, let’s go over about how your period generally works.
You have your period about once a month. As your body goes through hormonal changes, the ovaries release estrogen and progesterone. Your uterus lining thickens and has more blood vessels, ready for a fertilised egg to start developing.
In other words, your body is preparing you for possible pregnancy. If you don’t get pregnant, the level of estrogen and progesterone drops. Consequently, your body sheds the uterus lining and you have your period.
How does the pill work?
Birth control pills, also known as hormonal contraceptives, are daily oral pills with synthetic hormones to prevent pregnancies1.
The pill works by stopping your body from ovulating during your monthly menses2. If your ovary does not release an egg, the sperm won’t be able to fertilise it, hence pregnancy can’t happen.
On the other hand, the pill thickens your cervical mucus3. Once your mucus becomes stickier, it’s more difficult for the sperm to swim through the cervix for fertilisation.
How it’s affecting your usual cycle?
Taking daily hormones prevents your uterine lining from thickening. No subsequent breaking down of your endometrium, so you don’t get your period. The lack of hormone level in your body helps ease PMS symptoms to combat physical and emotional side effects of menstrual cycles4.
While you’re on the pill and spend a few days taking placebo pills or skipping pills, you may experience mild cramping and bleeding. It’s called withdrawal bleeding. It’s often lighter and shorter than your natural period. This is because the pill suppresses your endometrium, hence there isn’t much blood to shed5.
Is skipping your period safe by taking the pill?
Studies have shown that there are no negative side effects when you skip your period on the pill6. Whether you have a vacation coming up or want to relieve your PMS symptoms, it’s normal and safe to skip your period by taking hormonal birth control pills. If you’re unsure, discuss it with your doctor or pharmacist.
Seek Medical Advice
Some side effects may occur when using hormonal birth control, depending on which type you’re taking. If it’s bothering you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist for alternatives.