Did you know that there is a safe and effective way to control your cycle (and you may already have it in your medicine cabinet)? Skipping your period on birth control pills is safe and very common. Your doctor or OBGYN may recommend this method if you have painful periods or heavy bleeding, but it's a safe way to skip your period for anyone taking birth control pills! Here’s what you need to know.
How Birth Control Pills Work
Birth control pills control your fertility using synthetic hormones. Depending on the type of birth control you are taking, they may use a combination of synthetic estrogen and synthetic progesterone, or only synthetic progesterone (also called the “mini pill”), to prevent your body from releasing an egg. If no egg is released, there is no egg to be fertilized if sperm makes it into the reproductive tract.
Birth control pills also thicken your cervical mucus, the substance produced and released by your cervix. Thicker cervical mucus makes it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg if one does happen to be released. Finally, your birth control pills also thin the lining of your uterus, making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant.
Essentially, traditional birth control pills are designed to help manage different stages of the reproductive process, ultimately preventing pregnancy. As a result, birth control pills are 99% effective when used perfectly. However, human beings aren’t perfect, and with typical use, the pill is about 93% effective (about 7 in 100 pill users get pregnant every year). If you miss a dose or are late taking the mini pill (all estrogen-based birth controls don't have to be taken at the same time daily, only the mini pill), the effectiveness of pregnancy prevention decreases.
What Are Birth Control Placebo Pills for?
In each pack of birth control pills, you’ll see that 4 days or up to 1 week has several pills that are a different color or are marked differently than the others. These are placebo (inactive) and hormone-free pills. You’re still protected from pregnancy while you’re taking these pills, but these placebo pills allow for bleeding to occur. This bleeding is a “false period” or a “withdrawal bleed”—it’s not medically necessary, but it can assure that you are not pregnant. If you find this bleeding inconvenient, there’s no reason you need to have it! There’s a simple way to skip your period using birth control pills.
Fun Fact: Dr. John Rock, one of the inventors of the birth control pill and a Catholic, later made an argument that the Catholic Church should accept the birth control pill as a form of contraception because the bleeding brought on by the placebo pills made it a “natural” form of contraception. His argument was made in vain—the Pope declined approval of the birth control pill for the Church’s followers.
Skip Your Period Safely
There are several reasons why it’s perfectly safe to use birth control pills to skip your period. While menstruation is a natural biological process, it’s not physiologically necessary and today we experience many more periods throughout our lives compared to people of previous generations. These days, we: Start menstruating at an earlier age
- Have fewer pregnancies on average
- Breastfeed for a shorter time
- Reach menopause later in life
If you’re interested in skipping your period due to painful period symptoms like cramping, unpleasant mood changes, heavy bleeding, or just because it’s an inconvenience to living your life, you can!
How Do I Skip My Period?
There is no medical reason you need to have a menstrual cycle while you’re on hormonal contraceptives. As the hormones in your body decline when you take the placebo pills, this triggers your body to begin a period or withdrawal bleeding. However, if you continue to take the active pills, you maintain a consistent daily dosage of estrogen and progesterone allowing you to skip your cycles. Skipping your cycles on birth control has no impact on your future fertility or risk for cancers.
You will take a pill every day but will skip over the placebo pills (all formularies we're offering for skip have 7 placebo days). When you take the last active pill in your pill pack on week 3, you will discard the remaining pill pack with the placebo pills intact and start a new pill pack the following day starting on week 1. This will allow you to skip your cycle successfully.
Wisp is offering a variety of birth control options that can be delivered four packs at a time (a three-month supply) so you can skip your period safely: Azurette, Sprintec, Ocella, Cyred EQ, Levora, and Junel FE 1/20. All you need to do is choose the pill you’d like, and we’ll deliver it to your door!
What’s the Difference Between Delaying Your Period & Skipping Your Period?
Wisp offers Norethindrone Acetate as a short-term way to delay your period for a special occasion like a vacation or competition. Norethindrone Acetate pauses your cycle for one week, but it does not prevent pregnancy and should only be used to delay your period in the short term as the dosage is much higher than typical contraceptives and you're taking the dosage much more frequently.
Skipping your period allows you to stop your period indefinitely and prevents pregnancy while doing so. Please be aware that breakthrough bleeding is common with skipping cycles and can be discouraging for people if they don't expect it.
Both methods are safe and effective—talk to your Wisp doctor about which may be the better option for your lifestyle!
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Delay Your Period (30 Tablets Norethindrone Acetate)
Delay Your Period short-term for special events, competitions, or vacations.
Skip Your Period
Skip Your Period long-term with birth control pills delivered to your door.
Starting at $22.00/monthGet Started
Ocella® Birth Control (generic)
Similar to: Yasmin, Zumandimine, Zarah, Syeda
Starting at $5.00Get Started