A person may wish to stop or delay their period for a variety of reasons. For example, some people experience cramps, headaches, bloating, or other painful symptoms during periods. The timing of a person’s period may also be inconvenient and disrupt daily life.

This article explores how birth control can stop a period, which type to choose, and answers some frequently asked questions.

A person can stop or delay their period using birth control methods. It is also possible to reduce the number of periods a person experiences in a given time.

There are a variety of methods a person can choose from to stop their periods.

The following birth control options may stop periods:

Birth Control Pills

Approximately 25% of females in the United States who use contraception reported using birth control pills as their method of choice.

Pills that suppress periods are the same as regular birth control pills. However, birth control pills usually involve taking this medication for 21 days, followed by 7 days of taking a placebo.

If a person takes contraceptive pills to stop periods, they would usually take them consecutively with no placebo drug. They may still experience light spotting or breakthrough bleeding.

When taking a break from hormonal birth control, a person may experience withdrawal bleeding, which may resemble a period.

Combination birth control pills (COCs) are the most common pill method to stop or pause a person’s period. COCs contain both estrogen and progestin. Examples of COCs include:

  • Jolessa: This drug does not stop a period entirely. A person taking this drug brand will have a period every 12 weeks. Jolessa requires a person to take pink tablets for the first 84 days, followed by the white ones for a week.
  • Amethyst: A person takes this pill every day for a year and should not get any periods during this time. However, people may get the occasional spotting.

Learn about the side effects of long-term birth control use.

Birth control ring

A person places a contraceptive ring inside their vagina that releases hormones into the body to prevent ovulation.

When using this as contraception, users remove the ring after 3 weeks to have their period. However, a person can opt to leave it in if they wish to skip their period.

Planned Parenthood recommends that a person changes the ring every 3-5 weeks if they are using it to skip periods. It notes that people may still get some spotting when skipping their menstrual cycle.

Learn about the differences between spotting and a period here.

Intrauterine contraception

This method involves a health professional inserting a T-shaped device into the uterus. It releases a small amount of the hormone progestin every day. The device usually stays in place for 3-6 years, but a health professional can remove it at any time.

This device will stop periods altogether for some people, but it may simply reduce or lighten periods for others.

A 2018 study indicates that this form of contraception is safe and highly effective.

Learn more about the insertion of intrauterine devices here.

Depo-Provera Injections

The Depo-Provera (DMPA) injection is a commonly used contraception method in the United States. People using DPMA require a shot every 3 weeks.

As well as protecting against pregnancy, regularly getting this shot can result in lighter or no menstrual periods. However, it may also result in irregular periods.

Planned Parenthood states that when used perfectly, the DMPA shot is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. When a person forgets to get their shot on time, it becomes 94% effective.

Learn more about Depo-Provera injections here.

Patch

A person can wear a birth control patch which they need to change weekly. They can wear this on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body. The patch releases hormones directly into a person’s bloodstream.

Typically, a person would remove the patch for the fourth week to allow for a menstrual period. However, if a person keeps the patch on for this fourth week, it can help to delay or stop periods altogether.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that it has a failure rate of around 7%, which means 7 out of every 100 people using the patch will get pregnant.

Learn more about birth control patches here.

A person will need to discuss with their doctor which birth control method is suitable for them, particularly if they wish to use it for stopping periods.

A few other things people may wish to discuss with a doctor include:

  • Stopping periods entirely or reducing: Some birth control methods may reduce menstrual bleeding or make them less frequent. A person who wishes to stop their period completely may have a more limited choice of birth control.
  • Time to work: Some methods may take 6 months before a person sees a reduction or a complete stop of their periods.
  • Long or short term: Methods vary depending on whether a person wants to stop their period temporarily or permanently.
  • Side effects: Birth control methods can cause a range of side effects that will affect people differently.
  • Effectiveness: Particularly if also using the method as contraception, a person may wish to view the statistics on effectiveness.

The following are common questions and answers about birth control and stopping periods:

Is it safe to use a birth control pill to stop periods?

Generally, it is safe to use birth control to stop periods. However, there may be some types of birth control that certain individuals should not take. A person should always discuss with their doctor before taking anything to stop periods.

Learn more about the safety and risks of skipping periods on birth control here.

Are there any side effects to skipping periods on birth control?

There is very limited research into the long-term effects of skipping periods by using birth control. However, alongside the usual side effects that birth control methods can cause, occasional spotting or irregular bleeding may occur.

Learn about 10 side effects of the birth control pill here.

How can a person stop their period permanently?

Under some circumstances a doctor may recommend surgery. However, they will only redommend this if a person has specific medical conditions, such as endometriosis or persistent heavy periods.

This surgery will be a final resort if other treatments such as certain birth control options have not worked.

Learn more about managing and stopping heavy periods here.

Many different types of birth control that can stop or delay a person from having a period. Some of these methods may only make the period lighter.

A person should always discuss the options with their doctor before using any birth control method to stop periods.