You don’t have to take a pill every day. There are birth control methods that last weeks, months, or even years with little effort on your part - and no surgery. They are safe and effective for most healthy women.
Which one is best for you?
“The best method of contraception for any woman is the method that she’s going to use correctly and consistently,” says Elizabeth Micks, MD, MPH, an acting assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Women often ask if it’s OK to stop their periods, says Tara Kumaraswami, MD, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at University of Massachusetts Medical School. They worry that the period is building up inside.
It’s not, Kumaraswami says. If you’re on birth control, it’s fine to not have a period. Talk to your doctor if you’re looking for a way to skip or lighten your periods. She can help you figure out what’s right for you. There are a lot of options. Here are a few.
This is a small, T-shaped device made from flexible plastic that releases a hormone called progestin. A doctor puts it into your uterus. It can protect you from pregnancy for up to 5 years. Your period probably won’t come as often for the first 3 to 6 months and may stop altogether.
Mirena works by making mucus in your cervix thicker so sperm can’t get in. It also thins the lining of your uterus and stops sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg.
Joyce Gottesfeld, MD, an OB/GYN with Kaiser Permanente Colorado, often prescribes it for her patients. She says it’s highly effective, and most of her patients who are on it don’t have their periods.
“It really does kill two birds with one stone,” she says.
In most cases, you take pills with hormones for 21 days. Then, for 7 days, you take those that don’t have hormones. For many women, it’s safe to skip the ones without the hormones -- and skip your period.
There may even be some health benefits to using them to skip your period, especially if it’s heavy. They can help prevent anemia, keep your skin clearer, and lower your risk of ovarian and uterine cancers.