Listen as Dr. Sitruk-Ware explains if it is safe for women to take a contraceptive pill that skips periods.
It is not necessary; Having a bleeding every month is just the indication that the hormone levels drop, and therefore, the membrane which is within the uterine cavity is just shed and disappears with blood clots. Having treatments which are given continuously like some contraceptive pills which are given either for 84 days continuously or even 365 days all year, are supposed to give no menses at all, but there are still some bleedings.
It’s very difficult to have a complete absence of menses. There are fluctuations in terms of absorption of these drugs by each individual woman will have a different metabolism. And therefore, they can have some spotting which is, in fact, very light bleeding, irregular and not predictable. So some women are happy with that, but some women may prefer to have predictable bleeding every three weeks or every 21 days or once a month.
Also, some women would be reassured by having menses every month, indicating they are not pregnant when they don’t want to be pregnant. Now with the efficacy of these compounds and if they have been really compliant, not forgetting any pill, there is no probability at all that they would be pregnant, and therefore they can be reassured that having no menses doesn’t mean they are pregnant.
If they have been irregular in taking the pills and being exposed to having intercourse without having their tablets, they may in fact verify if they are not pregnant.
About Dr. Sitruk-Ware, M.D.:
Dr. Régine L. Sitruk-Ware is a reproductive endocrinologist and the executive director of research and development at the Population Council’s Center of Biomedical Research. She supervises the basic research in reproductive biology as well as the pre-clinical research and clinical development of new molecules designed for reproductive healthcare in men and women suitable for use in developing countries. Prior to joining the Council, she had a successful academic career in Paris, France and then an international career in research and development. She taught and conducted clinical research in reproductive endocrinology at the University of Paris for ten years. From 1983 to 1989 she was a member of the International Committee for Contraceptive Research (ICCR), established by the Population Council in 1970. RSW is now chairing the ICCR since January 2007. She is a member of several national and international medical societies. She has been a founding member of the International Menopause Society and a member of its Board for several terms and is presently the General Secretary of that society. She is also member of the Expert group on Hormonal Contraception of the European Society for Contraception. She is the Program Director and Principal Investigator of a NIH Center grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.
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