Some put full stop to periods

Women are experimenting with delaying their menstrual cycle for months and years

Women around the world are opting for oral contraceptives to stop their menstrual process. The rationale is that it is not necessary for women to bleed every month.

From fighting against stigma to demanding cheaper menstrual products, women are asserting their right to a less painful monthly cycle. Some women are deciding not to bleed at all.

With an increasingly strong perception that periods have no health benefits, many women are using contraception pills to stop them.

Metrolife brings you all the details.

What is happening?

Women in many Western countries are trying ‘menstrual suppression’, using birth control pills to delay their periods for weeks or months, or stop them altogether.

Why are they doing this?

In surveys, women gave many reasons ranging from severe cramps and body pain to migraine, mood swings and dark thoughts.

Some women said periods were a ‘messy time’ they wanted to avoid, while others said menstrual hygiene products were too expensive. 

Is it necessary to bleed?

While regular periods are seen as an indicator of good health, they are not really necessary, some doctors say. If a woman doesn’t want to bleed, she doesn’t have to.

“When a woman menstruates, it simply means there are hormonal changes in the ovary. The inner lining of the uterus gets ready every month to receive a baby. If the baby doesn’t come, the lining sheds. So, it is not necessary for the lining to shed every month, which means it is not mandatory to bleed,” says Dr Sriprada Vinekar, gynaecologist, Apollo Hospitals, Seshadripuram.

What about ‘bad blood‘?

Dr Sripada scoffs at the idea that periods are necessary to get rid of bad blood. “It is a myth that bleeding purifies the blood. When a woman bleeds, she loses blood from her body. The uterus is not a waste removal organ,” she says.

What are the benefits?

From getting rid of heavy bleeding to reducing the risk for cardiac diseases, there are notable pros for menstrual suppression, she says.

“Excessive bleeding causes loss of blood due to which Haemoglobin levels may reduce to six or seven. This can put stress on the heart, and lead to cardiac failure. Anaemic women with excessive bleeding are at a greater risk of cardiac problems,” she says.

Is it popular in India?

No. It is a growing trend but at the moment, it is limited to women experiencing severe menstrual pain. Normal healthy women with regular periods are still not open to the practice, unlike their counterparts in the West.

How they do it

“Today, many women consume pills in order to stop menstruation. These are not regular birth control pills, but mini pills which contain progesterone that help prevent the uterus lining from growing. However, this does not stop the ovaries from working because the female body requires hormones,” says Dr Sripada.

Dr Mahesh Koregol, fertility consultant, Nova IVI Fertility, says though birth control pills are the most widely used method for pausing periods, they have multiple side effects if used for a long time.

“There could be a blood clot and thrombus. Women can stop their periods in the long term with the help of other methods like intrauterine devices (IUD),” he says.

An IUD is a contraception device inserted into the uterus through the cervix. Hormonal IUDs may stop periods up to 80 per cent of the time, he explains.

“Another method is the progestin shot, which is an injection that doctors deliver either under the skin or into the muscle. This medication inhibits the menstrual cycle. One can take this shot every three or four months,” he says.

What are the side-effects? 

Consumption of progesterone pills may cause bloating and an increase in body weight. There are no other major side effects from progesterone, but the pills are not recommended for women who have had breast cancer, he says. 

Pills and pregnancy

Contrary to the notion that a period means no pregnancy, experts say a woman can conceive and still bleed.

Stopping menstruation does not affect fertility, and the hormones in the pills get flushed out once a woman stops the pills and periods return to what they were initially.

How they stop periods

- Contraceptive pills
- Progesterone pills
- Progestin injection
- Intrauterine device (IUD)

 

 

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