Contraception and menstruation: what influence on the menstrual flow?

Contraception and its different methods are known to have an influence on menstruation. Some contraceptives can block menstruation, others make menstrual discharge more abundant... What are the different influences of contraceptive solutions on the menstrual cycle and menstruation?

Why does contraception affect menstruation?

Different contraceptives can have an impact on menstruation, although it differs depending on the method used. Hormonal contraceptive methods, such as the pill, affect our body's ability to produce its own hormones, thus putting the hormonal system on hold. The bleeding that occurs is actually withdrawal bleeding, not a period!
Non-hormonal contraceptives, on the other hand, mechanically block implantation. The endometrium may be thicker, which usually leads to a heavier menstrual flow, such as with a copper intrauterine device (IUD). The use of the IUD and menstruation are thus closely linked.
There are as manyimpacts on menstruation as there are contraceptive methods!

What is the impact of each method of contraception on menstruation?

Each contraceptive method has a variable impact on menstrual flow, depending on its action on our hormonal production. Let's discover them together!

Estrogen-progestin contraception

Combined contraceptive pills containingestrogen and progesterone work by blocking ovulation. In fact, the endometrium, which lines the wall of the uterus to facilitate implantation, develops little or not at all under the action of estrogen-progestin. And since it is the degradation of the endometrium through the cervix that causes menstruation, if this uterine lining is very thin, blood loss will be less abundant when the 7-day supply is stopped. In fact, in the absence of an active pill, this period triggers what is known aswithdrawal bleeding. This is why this pill tends to cause a less abundant flow than its natural cycle. If the 7-day break is not observed, for example if you take two packs in succession, then the period disappears completely, as there is no drop in hormones.

Progestin-only contraception

There are several types of contraceptives based on synthetic progestins:

  • Progestin-only or microdosed pills
  • Contraceptive implants
  • The IUD or hormonal intrauterine device
  • Injectable contraceptives

Contraception based on this single hormone has variable effects depending on the woman: some progestogen methods do not prevent ovulation, so real periods can occur, while others suppress it and can even block menstruation. For example, thecontraceptive implant has an impact on menstruation, with one third of women seeing their periods disappear.
You should check with your health care professional or gynecologist to make sure that the dosage for this type of contraceptive is appropriate for you, and spotting, or light blood loss, may occur while your body adjusts. If you experience the slightest inconvenience after a few adaptation cycles, do not hesitate to consult your general practitioner to consider a change of contraception.

Hormone-free contraceptives

Of course, there are non-hormonal contraceptive methods that form a mechanical barrier to prevent pregnancy. There are several types:

  • The condom
  • The IUD or copper intrauterine device
  • Spermicides
  • Cervical cap
  • The diaphragm...

As they act without hormones, your body is not put to rest: it therefore functions naturally, without blocking ovulation. Your cycles are thus spontaneous and your menstrual periods are "real" menstrual losses, unlike the pill and deprivation periods.

Is it possible to regulate my period with a contraceptive?

When some women suffer from painful or heavy periods or endometriosis, it is possible to use contraception as a means of reducing or even stopping menstrual bleeding.
By takingtwo packets of the pill without a week's break, it is also possible to temporarily stop your periods for the duration of a cycle.
Whatever happens, if you suffer from painful symptoms during your menstrual flow, know that this is not normal and that a visit to your medical referent is necessary!

What should I do if the contraceptive method is not suitable?

First of all, it is important to recognize the signs that should alert you! How do you know when your pill, IUD or other contraceptive method is not working? Here are some clinical symptoms that can be good indicators that it's time to change your contraceptive:

  • Spotting, the light bleeding that occurs outside of menstruation. This may indicate that the dosage or the body's tolerance is not optimal; it is a common side effect of a poorly tolerated pill
  • Headaches: some contraceptives can cause headaches if they have occurred since starting the contraceptive
  • Chest pain or mastodynia
  • Recentweight gain after taking the contraceptive
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heavy legs and circulatory problems
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased libido: synthetic hormones can affect sexual desire
  • Repeated forgetfulness, in the case of a daily intake of tablets such as the pill

In general, any side effect lasting more than 3 months, an impact on your quality of life and your sexual relations should lead you to consult your doctor to make an assessment on the contraception that is personally the most suitable for you.

    Contraception and menstruation FAQ

    Do I get my period with contraception?

    There are different types of contraception. Depending on whether it is hormonal or non-hormonal, the contraceptive will have radically different effects on your periods and your menstrual flow. Some contraceptives will, for example, completely eliminate menstruation, others will reduce it or make it more abundant!

    What kind of contraception takes away my period?

    Progestin-based contraceptive solutions are known to be able to suppress menstruation, for example the progestin-only pill! Of course, if you suffer from a menstrual disorder that makes you want to block your periods, your gynecologist will be there to help you choose the most suitable device.

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