Ironically enough—considering the way the word begins—the love-hate relationship that we have with menstruation is comparable to the way in which we navigate the world of men. It’s very much “can’t live with it, can’t live without it” vibes when it comes to women and their cycles. But the older I get, the more I learn to hate that time of the month a little less. A lot of my learning to embrace my period has come with learning the fun, interesting, and “witchy” stuff while discovering more natural, in-tune ways of minimizing the pain in my ass (those cramps know no bounds) amongst other places.
However, not everyone has this relationship with their periods. Not to mention, we’ve become so accustomed to Western medicine that we opt for or at least consider options such as birth control to cheat our periods—everything from stopping them completely to skipping them when it’s an inconvenience for us.
We all know someone like this, and if we don’t, it may be because we are that someone. In fact, according to a stat Pandia Health posted on Instagram 58% of women would "turn off" their period if they knew it could be done safely. Whenever I do think about “stopping” periods, I hear the age-old bit about your period being necessary to keep the rest of your reproductive system flowing like clockwork.
So, it begs the question: Is there a safe way to stop one’s menstruation?
According to Dr. Alex Robles, board-certified OB-GYN and fertility blogger, turning off your period is not only safe but the easiest and safest way is the tried-and-true birth control pill. “If the pills are taken for 21 consecutive days with a seven-day placebo week, you will get your period at the end of the seven-day stretch, he says. "However, you can do an extended or continuous regimen in which you take an active pill for three months straight without using a placebo week. In this situation, you will not get your period aside from occasional spotting here and there.”
He continues, “In general, it is considered safe to delay your period for three months at a time—many birth control pills come as a three-month continuous supply. Long-term use may delay the time that it takes for your cycle and your endogenous hormones to get back to a normal pattern.”
Robles notes other more invasive methods that can also help “stop” menstruation. These methods include:
- Hormonal: Progestin intrauterine device (IUD)
- Implant: a small rod placed in your arm that secretes progesterone every day
- Depo-Provera shot: a one-time progesterone shot that can last up to three months
But what about the "cleansing" or purifying effect that menstruation has on our bodies? To that, Roble says, “As far as purifying, the medications are purposefully keeping your endometrium thin, so there isn’t a lining growing thicker in the uterus. As such, there isn’t much to shed, which is what naturally happens in a normal menstrual cycle.”
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