By Courtney Snavely
Bleeding is natural and there’s something horribly wrong with my body if I skip a period, right? Not necessarily.
I have an IUD and I stopped getting my period within the first few months. I would tell friends and family this and a lot of them asked me, “aren’t you worried it’s unnatural to stop getting your period? I feel like that has to have an effect on your eventual fertility?”
Was this true? We consulted the experts. Dr. Sophia Yen is the CEO of Pandia Health, a company that ships your birth control right to your doorstep (yes you heard that right). She explained to us it is a modern construct that women in their natural state bleed every month and using oral contraceptives to skip periods can have some interesting health benefits.
Using her research as a starting off point, we decided to get to the bottom of whether women need to have their period.
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The ‘modern’ woman is bleeding a lot more. Like a lot more.
What is going on here?! There are a lot of contributing factors.
1. Women are getting their periods at a younger age.
If we look at statistics from French National Institute for Demographic Studies, you can clearly see a decrease in the median age for which women are getting their periods. A younger start to your period means an extra 2-3 years of bleeding!
2. We’re getting married later.
The time between first period, marriage, and babies in the baby carriage is growing! The age between first periods and first conception has grown from 5 years to nearly 10-15 years. What does this mean? You guessed it, MORE PERIODS.
3. We’re having fewer babies.
Less time pregnant and breastfeeding equals, say it with me MORE PERIODS!!!!!
All this equates to women having 3-4 times more periods than our ancestors women in remote/isolated communities!
Those little brown pills were put there by its creators to mimic your period
During trials (most of which were highly illegal), many women mistakenly thought they were pregnant because their symptoms on the pill resembled those of pregnancy, nausea, tender breast, and no period. Many women had no idea what medication they were taking so to ease the false pregnancy concerns, the creators told patients to stop taking the pills for five days each month to “make the pill seem more natural, like a scientific version of the rhythm method.”
But this is different than your natural period! Oral birth control suppresses ovulation, so what you’re actually experiencing is your body’s reaction to a change in hormone levels. There is no medical necessity for withdrawal bleeding.
Research supports oral contraception can lower risks of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancer.
In observational studies, long term OC (oral contraception) use correlated with reduced ovarian cancer risk and endometrial cancer risk especially among women at risk for chronic disease (smokers and women with higher BMI).
But it’s not all sunshine, rainbows, and blood free fun time. There have also been studies examining the correlation of OC with breast cancer. Stay tuned next week as we investigate if there is a link with oral birth control and breast cancer risk.
Do you think skipping your period with OC is right for you?
Read Dr. Yen’s article about optional periods here or listen to her podcast here.
Questions, concerns, did we get something not quite right? Message us at email@example.com!
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