Contraception and menstruation: what influence on menstrual flow?

Contraception and its various methods are notorious for influencing 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 this varies according to the method used. Hormonal contraceptive methods, such as the pill, affect our body's ability to produce its own hormones, putting the hormonal system on pause. Bleeding in this case is in fact withdrawal bleeding, not menstruation!
Non-hormonal contraceptives, on the other hand, mechanically block implantation. The endometrium may be thicker, which generally means a heavier menstrual flow, as with a copper intrauterine device (IUD). IUD use and menstruation are thus closely linked.
There are as many ways ofaffecting menstruation as there are methods of contraception!

What is the impact of each contraceptive method on menstruation?

Each contraceptive method has a different impact on menstrual flow, depending on how it affects hormone production. Let's find out together!

Estrogen-progestin contraception

Combinedestrogen and progesterone contraceptive pills work by blocking ovulation. In fact, the endometrium, which lines the uterine wall to facilitate implantation, develops little or not at all under the action of estrogen-progestin pills. And as it is the breakdown of the endometrium through the cervix that causes menstruation, if this uterine mucosa is very thin, blood loss will be less abundant during the 7 days when the pack is stopped. In the absence of an active tablet, this period triggers what is known aswithdrawal bleeding. As a result, this pill tends to produce a lighter flow than its natural cycle. If the 7-day break is not observed, as in the case of two consecutive packets, menstruation may even disappear completely, as there is no drop in hormones.

Progestin-only contraception

There are several types of contraceptive based on synthetic progestins:

  • Progestin-only or microdosed pills
  • Contraceptive implants
  • Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs)
  • Injectable contraceptives

The effects of contraception based on this single hormone vary from woman to woman: some progestin-only methods do not prevent ovulation, so real menstruation can occur, while others suppress it and may even block menstruation. For example, thecontraceptive implant has an impact on menstruation, with a third of women seeing their periods disappear.
You should check with your health professional or gynecologist that the dosage for this type of contraceptive is right for you, and spotting (light blood loss) may occur while your body adjusts to it. If you experience the slightest discomfort beyond a few adaptation cycles, don't hesitate to consult your GP about changing contraception.

Hormone-free contraceptives

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

  • Condoms
  • Copper intrauterine device (IUD)
  • Spermicides
  • Cervical cap
  • The diaphragm...

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

Is it possible to regulate my periods with a contraceptive?

When some women suffer from painful or heavy periods, or endometriosis, it's possible to use contraception to reduce or even stop menstrual bleeding.
Takingtwo packets of the pill without a week's break can also be used to temporarily suppress menstrual bleeding for the duration of a cycle.
Whatever happens, if you suffer from symptoms that are too painful during your menstrual flow, you should know that this is not normal and that a visit to your medical referent is essential!

What to do if your contraception isn't working?

First of all, it's important to recognize the warning signs! How do you know when your pill, IUD or other contraceptive method isn't working for you? Here are a few clinical symptoms that may be good indicators that it's time to change your contraceptive:

  • Spotting- light bleeding outside the menstrual period. This may indicate that the dosage or the body's tolerance is not optimal, and is a common side effect of a poorly tolerated pill.
  • Headaches: some contraceptives can cause headaches, if these have appeared since the start of the contraceptive.
  • Chest pain or mastodynia
  • Recentweight gain after taking contraception
  • High cholesterol levels
  • Heavy legs and circulatory problems
  • acne
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased libido: synthetic hormones can affect sexual desire
  • Repeated forgetfulness, when taking daily pills such as the Pill

In general, any undesirable effect lasting more than 3 months, or any impact on your quality of life or sexual relations, should prompt you to consult your doctor for an assessment of the contraception best suited to you personally.

    Contraception and menstruation FAQs

    Do I get my period with contraception?

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

    Which contraceptive removes menstruation?

    Progestin-based contraceptive solutions are particularly well known for their ability to suppress menstruation, as in the case of 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 happy to help you choose the most suitable device.

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