Controlling Your Menstrual Cycle with Birth Control

Do you have a big event coming up? Such as a wedding, vacation or sporting competition? If you are using birth control methods such as the oral contraceptive pill, patch, or vaginal ring, you can delay your period until a more convenient time.

The Pill

Currently there is a birth control pill available specifically for extended use, called Seasonale. Seasonale contains a combination of female hormones that prevent ovulation. Seasonale also causes changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus. It is designed for extended use, meaning that an active hormonal pill is taken for 84 days straight, followed by 7 days of sugar pills. This means that a woman will have a period four times a year instead of every 28 days, which can help reduce interruptions during important events such as a weddings, vacations, or sporting competitions.

If you are using a different brand of birth control pill, there is still a way to skip your cycle. First determine the month that you wish to skip your period. Continue to take all the pills in your pill pack during the month prior to wanting to skip your period. After finishing the three weeks of active pills, do not begin the week of placebo pills. Instead, start day 1 of your next pack on the day that you would have taken your first placebo pill. Continue taking all the pills in your new pill pack. When you reach the placebo week in your new pill pack, your period should return.

The Patch or Ring

Once you have completed 21 days of either method, instead of having a week off and menstruating, continue immediately with another patch or ring. With the patch, you can add one, two, or three more extra weeks. For the ring, once the second three-week ring is done, remove it and have a week with no ring.

During the additional weeks of treatment, you may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding. This is not harmful and the contraception effect will continue to work even if there is bleeding or spotting. Continue to take your contraceptive method according to the plan you and your health care provider have agreed upon.

"