Have you heard? Having a period is up to YOU!

For over 50 years, doctors have been helping women avoid their periods for a number of reasons; sometimes it’s for medical reasons – like preventing severe pain and cramping, and sometimes it’s for practical reasons – like a going on a military mission or avoiding a period on a honeymoon.

Well, it turns out that it is safe for all teens and women to skip their periods, even for many, many years by using the pill, patch, ring, Depo injection, the implant, or the levonogestrel (Mirena) IUD. If a woman is not having monthly periods and is not using one of these methods (or not using them regularly!), she should FIRST make sure she is not pregnant, and also see her provider to figure out why her periods are so irregular.

Do you want to have fewer periods or no bleeding at all? Most women do, once they find out that it is a safe option. There are no increased health risks by skipping your periods on these birth control methods; and there is no increased chance of infertility (having trouble getting pregnant when you want to) later on.

If you are interested in (or already have) the levonorgestrel IUD, less bleeding or no bleeding at all can be considered one of the biggest benefits of this method. Health providers actually use this IUD to treat women with heavy and painful periods (even if they don’t need birth control) because it works so well. In the first 3-6 months, it’s normal to have some spotting, bleeding, and brownish discharge. This happens because the small amount of progestin hormone in the IUD makes the lining of the uterus very thin; but, over time, that means you will have lighter periods or no periods at all.

If you are already using the pill, patch, or ring – or you think one of these is the best method for you – it is a pretty simple step to have fewer periods or even none at all. Talk to your health provider about how you can skip the placebo week, or even switch to a pill brand that is designed this way. Expect to have some unexpected bleeding and spotting at first- this is nothing to worry about and it almost always stops if you stick with your method for 3 months; spotting/bleeding doesn’t mean the method is not working- it just means things are getting adjusted!

If you are interested in (or already using) the Depo Provera injection, then you can expect to have almost no bleeding at all after being on it for 6-9 months. Expect to have bleeding when you start Depo – sometimes it can even last a few weeks in a row – but it’s very likely that you will have no periods at all once you’ve been on Depo for several months.

If you are interested in (or already using) the implant, you may or may not have bleeding. Either way, you’ve got a GREAT birth control method, and it’s important to know that no bleeding, a little bleeding, or bleeding for a few weeks in a row is to be expected and not something to worry about on the implant.

Is it too good to be true? NO! If having fewer periods or no periods at all is important to you, it’s a great idea to use your birth control to make this come true.