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Missed Period On Birth Control

Missed Period While On Birth Control

Many women often become surprised and even scared due to a missed period while on birth control. Often women will have a late period on birth control and not a missed period. If six weeks passes and a woman does not have a period or menstrual cycle, it’s considered a missed period, or amenorrhea. Having missed a period on birth control or not does not always mean a woman is pregnant. There are many different reasons why a woman might miss her period, including her birth control method or individual menstrual cycle. Other reasons why a woman may miss her period include:

  • Types of birth control, including Depo-Provera and the Mirena IUD
  • Stress or emotional distress
  • Diet or change in diet
  • Lack of sleep or rest
  • Increased activity
  • Normal heavy activity, such as sports, running or dancing
  • Medications, including specific forms of antibiotics
  • Illnesses such as the flu or a head cold
  • Pregnancy

When a woman says her “period is late” she actually means her ovulation cycle is late, not the menstrual cycle. A late period on birth control can cause some anxiety because of the change from the normal cycle. Besides preventing pregnancies, birth control is used to regulate a woman’s monthly cycle, including her menstrual and ovulation days. However, if you’re on birth control and you’ve made changes in your daily routine either physically or emotionally, it can throw off your cycle and cause a missed period.

How Birth Control Regulates Your Menstrual Cycle

Once a month, several eggs mature and one is released from the ovary; this is called ovulation. Until that point the lining of the uterus is so thick it can act as a “nest” for the egg. Once the egg is released, it has approximately 12 hours to get fertilized, but sperm can live in the vagina for up to 96 hours. Two weeks later, the thick lining of the uterus sheds, causing you to bleed or have your menstrual cycle. If you are on birth control pills, the packet contains 3 weeks of active pills and one week of inactive pills. Menstruation usually happens while you are taking the inactive placebo pills, but it’s important to note that some women can start their period while taking the active pills. For others menstruation doesn’t happen at all while on birth control, regardless of which type of birth control they are using.

Causes for Missing a Period on Birth Control

Even though birth control is used to help a woman regulate her monthly cycle, sometimes it is not very effective. Some of the reasons why a woman could miss a period while using a contraceptive are:

  • Stopping the use of birth control
  • Switching the type of birth control
  • Manipulating the birth control cycle
  • Increased activity
  • Extended usage of birth control
  • Menopause or pre-menopause
  • Certain medications
  • Stress

There are plenty of explanations for a woman to miss her period while on birth control. It really depends on individual situations. A woman’s cycle can be affected by what her daily activities, how she is emotionally, what medications or other health problems she has, etc.

Is it Safe to Miss a Period on Birth Control?

The truth is, many women and doctors have been purposely manipulating a woman’s period for decades. Some women think that without their monthly period, toxins can build up, but this is false. It’s not unsafe to miss a period, especially on birth control, which was meant to manipulate a woman’s monthly cycle to begin with. A period that occurs during a woman’s birth control cycle doesn’t have a medical function other than letting her know she’s not pregnant. In fact, contraceptives can be used to prevent a period (such as Depo-Provera), or to produce a cycle length.

Studies have shown that 91% of women who use birth control pills actually wanted a longer monthly cycle to reduce PMS, headaches, fatigue, cramps, bloating, and other menstrual symptoms. Doctors are even able to safely help a woman skip periods and help to manage menstrual related disorders or severe menstrual symptoms brought on by her periods. Other reasons why women may want to manipulate periods through the use of birth control are:

  • Wedding or honeymoon dates
  • Vacations
  • Demanding jobs
  • Other health related issues

Women who want to skip a period do so by simply starting a new pack of birth control pills during the fourth week instead of taking the inactive pills. Before you do this, you should talk with your doctor and notify him or her of your intentions. He or she might have a different solution, such as placing you on Depo-Provera, also known as the “Depo Shot”. This shot prevents your period for up to 14 weeks at a time if you receive the shot at least once every 12 weeks. There are numerous options for a woman when it comes to using birth control and having a monthly period. Woman should also not that the pill is not 100% effective and a missed period while on birth control could be a normal pregnancy. Again, talk with your doctor about these options to see what’s best for you and your situation.

[Page updated May 2014]