Modern medicine means there's no need for menstruation at all – Daily Mail
- Women are taking hormonal contraceptives to stop their periods
- Gynaecologists said this is completely safe and doesn’t harm fertility
- Pills are normally taken for 21 days followed by a break where the body bleeds because it is withdrawing from the hormones in the tablets
- But this artificial bleed is not necessary and pills can be taken back to back
Madlen Davies for MailOnline
09:31 EST, 26 May 2016
09:36 EST, 26 May 2016
For most women, periods are a fact of life.
Every month the fairer sex will suffer bloating, cramps and irritability as they menstruate for up to a week.
But one doctor says modern medicine means women don’t actually need to do this at all – and more and more women are taking contraceptives constantly to avoid having a period.
Dr Elizabeth Micks, an obstetrician gynaecologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, told NPR: ‘In general, I think views are changing really rapidly.
‘That need to have regular periods is not just in our society any more.’
Modern medicine means women don’t actually need to menstruate – and many are taking contraceptives constantly so they don’t have to, says obstetrician gynaecologist Dr Elizabeth Micks
The Pill, implant or injection all alter hormone levels, so eggs are not released from a woman’s ovaries.
This means her womb does not shed its lining every month in a period.
If taken as directed, women can appear to menstruate on the Pill because.
This is because some types have 21 days’ worth of hormones, and seven ‘sugar pills’ – which do not contain hormones at all but simply remind the woman to take it as part of her routine.
Other brands only provide 21 pills and tell women to take a seven day ‘break’.
In this time, they will experience a bleed which resembles their period.
But it is in fact artificial – and caused by withdrawal of the hormone rather than as a result of the lining of the womb shedding after ovulation.
Dr Micks said pills were only designed in this way because of a historical quirk – as the person who invented them was Catholic.
Therefore, he believed if women continued to have periods while taking the Pill it would be seen as more palatable to the Catholic church.
But there is no biological need for this break, and women can simply take the Pill continuously, meaning many will not get their period, she said.
Women are told to take the Pill for 21 days and then take a break – where they bleed as a result of their body withdrawing from the hormone. But there actually is no need for this artificial bleed – and women can in fact take the Pill constantly to avoid getting a period every month, doctors say
Miss Leila Hanna, consultant gynaecologist and Obstetrician at Queen Mary’s Hospital, London, and BMI The Sloane Hospital, agreed witH Dr Mick’s view.
She told MailOnline any of the hormonal-based contraceptives can make a woman’s periods lighter or stop them.
Miss Hanna added: ‘Women can take them back to back and this stops the number of cycles.
‘It’s completely safe, it doesn’t affect fertility.’
In fact, women can continuously take hormonal contraceptives for years at a time, she said.
‘People think it might hurt their fertility but there is no medical basis for this. It’s an old wives tale,’ she said.
‘The Pill is protective rather than damaging.’
However some women may experience breakthrough bleeding as the womb lining sheds slightly, while others may they feel bloated if they run several packs of the Pill together, NHS Choices says.
Miss Hanna added the method is not a ‘one-size-fits all’ and while most women will see their periods become lighter and less frequent – some will still menstruate.
And though the Pill increases the risk of cervical and breast cancer, remaining on hormonal contraception can help with other problems.
She said: ‘It can reduce endometriosis which is very painful. For women who are anaemic, it will stop them losing blood, so could help.’
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