Health Question:
If I continuously take active birth control pills, will I not have my period?


I have heard that you can take active birth control pills continuously and as a result not have your period. I am wondering if this is safe?

You are right. By continuously taking birth control pills containing hormones (not the spacer pills) you will not ovulate and you will not have periods. Some women experience irregular bleeding with this continuous regime.

This regime was tested with women back before oral contraceptives got FDA approval. There is no medical problem but women were uncomfortable with it. For one thing, not having periods is associated with being pregnant. So, if you are taking pills to prevent pregnancy, it's nice to have some reassurance that you are not pregnant. Also women felt it was unnatural not to have periods. So the spacer pills, containing no hormones, cause a woman to have "break-through" bleeding. Resuming the hormone pills a week later prevents ovulation.

Because pills are packaged with 3 weeks of hormone pills and one week of spacer pills, you need to carefully monitor which pills you are taking if you want to take hormone pills continuously. And one pill package or cycle will last only 3 weeks rather than 4, and you will need to buy pills more frequently.

The risks with taking continuous hormones are not different than with taking them in the prescribed manner. Today's birth control pills contain much lower doses of hormones than when Oral Contraceptives were first introduced and are not associated with the risks earlier versions of the pill carried.

Sources for more info:

Society for Menstrual Cycle Research - a nonprofit organization and multidisciplinary group of women pioneers in understanding the centrality of menstrual cycle research to women's health. - a website that explores menstrual suppresion by using birth control pills.

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