Birth Control Pills Do More Than Prevent Pregnancy: Relief for Your Irregular Periods

While it’s no secret birth control pills are one of the most effective ways to prevent pregnancy, did you know that using birth control for an extended time has many other benefits?

Do You Suffer From an Irregular Menstrual Period?

Although most women will tell you their period comes like clockwork, a small percentage experience an irregular menstrual period month after month. If you’re one of them, you know how annoying it can be not knowing when your next menstrual period will arrive.

For one thing, an irregular period can wreak havoc on ones lifestyle in many ways. First of all, just the uncertainty of not knowing when their next period will start causes many women unnecessary stress. For women who may experience heavy bleeding initially, being able to quickly recognize the onset of their menstrual period is very important. If unprepared, it’s unexpected arrival can cause embarrassment and discomfort, especially for teenage girls.

For women who are sexually active, having an irregular period can cause a lot of anxiety. Whether single or in a committed relationship, most women prefer that pregnancy not be a guessing game. Having a menstrual period that greatly fluctuates can cause a woman to constantly wonder if she is pregnant or suffering from an underlying illness.

Women who have an irregular menstrual period often make several visits to their gynecologist or family physician in hopes of finding a cause for the condition. Usually they are told an irregular period is "normal". The doctor will often reassure them that there’s nothing to worry about. Fortunately for these women, a safe and effective way to regulate their irregular period is possible.

Birth Control Pills – An Effective Way to Tame an Irregular Period

Birth control pills, when taken as prescribed and only by women who should take them, are a great solution to dealing with an irregular menstrual cycle. By simply taking the pill on a daily basis, you can have a more predictable menstrual period within weeks.

Most women and teenage girls can safely take birth control pills without any harmful side effects. However, if you do experience pain or discomfort from a specific brand of birth control pills, there are many other birth control medications your physician can choose to administer.

Mothers of teenage girls who suffer from an irregular menstrual period may be reluctant to allow their daughters to take birth control. Many people are misinformed about the dangers and risks of taking birth control pills long-term. For young girls troubled by an irregular menstrual period, the stress and anxiety caused by this condition may be more harmful than the possible side effects from birth control pills.

In addition, some birth control medications have proven helpful in reducing or eliminating acne. For teenage girls who have tried numerous over the counter acne products, birth control pills may clear up their complexion while treating their irregular menstrual period.

Women who experience an irregular period may also have heavier menstrual bleeding during some cycles. This excess bleeding can result in anemia occasionally. By taking birth control pills the amount of bleeding during an irregular period is reduced, which in turn lowers the risk of anemia.

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

Birth control pills are generally broken down into two categories.

  1. The first and most common type is referred to as combination birth control pills. These tablets contain two hormones called estrogen and progestin which are produced naturally in the body by the ovaries.
  2. The second type of birth control pills contains only progestin. This type of birth control is often referred to as a minipill. Although not quite as effective as combination birth control pills (99% effective when used correctly), minipills have approximately a 98% success rate. Minipills are often recommended for women who experience side effects or discomfort from taking combination type birth control pills.

Combination birth control pills are available in both 21 and 28 day packets. Basically each packet contains 21 pills to prevent pregnancy. The purpose of the extra birth control pills in a 28 day packet is simply to remind the patient to take the pills on a regular basis. Most physicians will stress the important of taking the pill at about the same time each day.

In order for pregnancy to occur, ovulation must take place. Birth control pills are highly effective in stopping ovulation, making the risk of pregnancy very slim. Birth control pills can also help treat an irregular menstrual period because they control the levels of estrogen and progestin in the body. Without the use of birth control pills, these hormones are produced naturally in the body but the amounts are not regulated.

Choosing the Right Birth Control Pill

Once you’ve decided to try birth control pills to regulate your menstrual period, the first step is to schedule an appointment with your physician. While your family doctor can prescribe birth control pills, many women feel more comfortable seeking the advice of a gynecologist to treat their problem.

After thoroughly reviewing your medical history, your physician may suggest a brand of birth control pills. Today there are many different birth control pills available, from one of the oldest on the market, Ortho-Tricyclen, to the Ortho Evra patch, to the brand new Lybrel birth control pill, which ends the menstrual period completely. If you do not achieve success with the first pill you try, your doctor can prescribe another.

Many women have successfully treated their irregular menstrual periods with a birth control pill called Yasmin. Besides treating an irregular period, Yasmin has proven effective in reducing the amount of menstrual bleeding. Patients who take Yasmin report shorter periods with fewer or no cramps at all.

Unlike other birth control pills, Yasmin is the only type of birth control medication available that does not contain testosterone. Instead Yasmin is made from a progestin called drospirenone. Drospirenone may even be helpful in preventing unwanted weight gain and bloating.

To learn more about how birth control pills are helpful in treating an irregular period,  browse our Womens Health Information Library to read more about birth control and other health issues.

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