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Do you take birth control to make your period come every month? If you do, you’re not alone. Of all the women who take the Pill, almost 1 in 3 take it to regulate their period.
But why does your period need regulating? Perhaps your doctor told you, you have a condition called hypothalamic amenorrhea. Or perhaps she said you have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Or perhaps your doctor doesn’t know why you don’t get a period.
To her, it may not matter very much—because the treatment is always the same. Take the Pill, and have Pill bleeds.
But wait a minute. Are Pill bleeds the same as real periods?
A real period is a withdrawal bleed from the hormones estradiol and progesterone—made by your ovaries. A pill bleed is a withdrawal bleed from pharmaceutical steroids such as ethinylestradiol and levonorgestrel.
Those steroids are kind of similar to real hormones—but they’re not the same. They have different structures, and that small difference can make a big difference in your body.
For example, progesterone calms your brain and can reduce anxiety But levonorgestrel excites your brain and can cause anxiety.
There’s another difference between a real period and a pill bleed.
A real period happens approximately every 28 days because.that’s how long it takes for your ovaries to make estradiol, and then to ovulate, and then to make progesterone.
The timing of a real period is about the healthy functioning of your ovaries. The timing of pill bleed is about the dosing of a drug.
A pill bleed doesn’t have to be every 28 days. It could be every 46 days, or every 93 days. Or not at all.
There is no medical reason to bleed monthly when on birth control. So why do it?
It all started in the 1950s, when it was not legal to prescribe birth control. A doctor could prescribe a drug to.“regulate periods” so that’s what they did.
And that little lie led to the legalisation of birth control, which is something that we can all celebrate!
But now we can stop pretending that pill bleeds are periods. If you need contraception, you can take hormonal birth control, or you can use condoms, IUD, or Fertility Awareness Method
If you want a real period, you can help your body to do that. There is a better way.