Keep reading for more information about how to skip a period, birth control options that reduce the frequency of periods, and other factors to consider.
Is it safe to skip or delay a period?
Before skipping a period, a person should check with a doctor.
According to the National Women's Health Network, skipping a period is just as safe as having a regular menstrual cycle. In fact, people can safely skip periods for several months in a row.
Still, it is best to check with a doctor before skipping a period. If a person has an underlying medical condition or health issue, it may be a good idea to allow the period to occur naturally.
Skipping a period once or several times in a row will not affect the overall effectiveness of taking birth control.
A person may wish to skip their period for many reasons, including to:
- avoid mood swings
- avoid painful menstruation
- avoid cramps
- help prevent complications from bleeding disorders
- avoid migraines
Having fewer periods may also mean spending less money on personal hygiene products.
Some people try to skip periods to avoid inconvenience, while traveling, for example.
How to skip or delay a period using birth control
To skip a period using a traditional combined pill, a person must take active pills every day without interruption.
If a pack contains active pills and placebo pills, they are usually clearly labeled. Or, the placebo pills may be a different color from the active pills.
A person can continue taking active pills until they are ready to have a period. Taking no active pills for 1 week will trigger menstruation.
Some types of birth control pill suppress periods for a set amount of time.
Pill brands that suppress menstruation for 3 months at a time include:
Other methods of birth control also reduce the frequency of periods. Some examples include:
- NuvaRing, a type of contraceptive vaginal insert
- an intrauterine device, or IUD, that releases progestin
- a progestin implant or injection, such as the Depo-Provera shot
Risks and side effects
Breakthrough bleeding may look like spotting.
It is generally safe to use birth control pills to skip a period. However, there can be a few risks and side effects.
One risk is breakthrough bleeding.
Breakthrough or withdrawal bleeding can occur after a person misses a few periods or more. The bleeding may look like spotting, but it can resemble a regular period. The timing of breakthrough bleeding is variable, and it may not happen in some people.
Some brands of pill are more likely to causing breakthrough bleeding than others. If this type of bleeding occurs frequently, a person should speak to a doctor about alternatives.
Anyone interested in switching types of birth control should also check with their insurance provider about which brands their policy covers.
Another risk involves accidental pregnancy. A woman may not realize that she is pregnant for weeks or even months if she does not expect her period.
If a person wants to skip a period, the birth control pill provides a safe and effective method. There are little or no risks associated with skipping one or more periods this way.
However, a person should check with a doctor before skipping a period and if withdrawal or breakthrough bleeding occurs.
A doctor may also be able to recommend a type of birth control that either delays periods or has fewer side effects.
Is it safe to skip your period? What are the benefits and risks?
Skipping periods using a hormonal contraceptive is generally considered safe. The hormones protect your uterus and keep the inner lining thin so that you do not have periods as often. One drawback that some people experience is unexpected bleeding. If this happens often, people may have to schedule their period to occur every 2–3 months, rather than spacing out the cycle longer. Other people never have issues with breakthrough bleeding and can space out periods so that they only have a couple a year. These are things to discuss with your doctor when deciding which approach is right for you. People who are not using hormonal contraception and not having regular periods should see their doctor, as there may be an underlying health concern.Answers represent the opinions of our medical experts. All content is strictly informational and should not be considered medical advice.