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I was reading the newspaper and they said it was safe to take all of your hormonal pills and skip the non ones. I have been doing that for 6 months is this considered safe???

A woman can avoid menstruating for a cycle — skipping her period — by beginning a new pack of combination pills immediately, instead of taking the non-active reminder pills (the placebo pills) from the previous pack. This works regardless of the dosage of hormones in each pill.

Combination pills usually come in 28-day packs and are taken without interruption. The first 21 pills in the pack are called “active” — they contain hormones that prevent pregnancy. The last seven pills in the pack are called “reminder” pills. They’re inactive placebo pills that do not contain hormones. They’re taken during the fourth week, when menstruation usually occurs, to help a woman stay in the habit of taking a pill on a regular basis.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved a three brands — Seasonale, Seasonique, and Lybrel — specifically for menstrual regulation. Like other combination pills, they contain synthetic versions of the hormones estrogen and progestin, and they’re up to 99.7 percent effective when used correctly. Here’s the difference: With Seasonale, for example, a woman takes active pills for 84 days straight, followed by seven reminder pills. Therefore, she’ll have her period once every 84 days, instead of once every 28 days.

Menstrual regulation may be an attractive option for women who have severe menstrual discomfort and want to have fewer periods. On the other hand, many women like the reassurance of having their period every month. It should be noted that bleeding and spotting as side effects may happen more frequently with continuous use of active pills than with the usual three out of four week schedule.

It’s important to talk with a health care provider about how often you should get your period, and what type of birth control is best for you. You can make an appointment with the nearest Planned Parenthood health center to talk about your options.

Tags: the pill, periods, birth control