Managing Menstrual Cycles with Continuous Oral Contraceptive Pills
With the evolution of oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), it is now known that it is ok to eliminate the menstrual cycle through a continuous or extended-cycle OCP regimen. You no longer need to have a monthly withdrawal bleed when taking the birth control pill. Some women find that this fits their life better and allows them to eliminate the stress of a period during their busy lives. It may also help to decrease some of the menstrual symptoms that women experience near or during their period. Some women use these regimens to manage conditions such as endometriosis or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). Physiologically, continuous OCPs suppress follicular development, inhibit ovulation, and keep the lining of the uterus thin. Contraceptive efficacy appears to be the same with continuous OCP regimens. There are no harmful effects from taking OCPs this way versus the more traditional route of 21 days per month. While OCPs do have risks, including increasing the risk of clotting, they also have many noncontraceptive benefits which your doctor can review with you. We would be happy to discuss whether this approach to contraception and menstrual management would work for you.