Thursday, April 26, 2007
Ready for the end of the period?
When I realized I was having terrible mood swings at the same time every month, I started to take action to protect the people most important to me.

Me: Hey hon, so I'm pretty hormonal this week. Just a friendly warning...

Hubby: *Blink.* So, I've got to work late tonight. And tomorrow night. And the night after.

Me: [unintelligible because of my uncontrollable sobbing]

I can't fault the poor guy for wanting to avoid me. He's got the patience of Job but even he'd get run down after a few takes of me flipping out about the simplest things. "What do you mean your phone isn't charged? I really needed to talk to you! What if I was seriously injured and needed to reach you from the ambulance?" You know, the everyday stuff.

So in 2003 when the makers of Seasonale started to market their birth control pill as a chance to cut down to just four menstrual periods a year, I seriously sat up and listened. How great would it be to side-step the inevitable back pains, bloating, and bad attitude that much longer? It would probably make for a happier married life, I thought. But it seemed, I don't know... unnatural. And too new. So I sat back and waited for some scary study to come out saying that missing your period is actually bad for your health.

Instead, I just learned that the FDA is now about a month away from approving Lybrel, a contraceptive that allows you to get evade your period for even longer than three months. Like, forever. Or at least as long as you want.

So this whole period-skipping must not be so bad for us then, right? I mean, studies so far show that there are no added risks to your health if you do it. My doctor told me that I could do the same thing with regular birth control pills, just keep taking the white ones, and that some women do it for various health reasons. But other docs will point out that there are still no long-term studies out there to prove that the health risks won't surface later on down the line.

I know I'm not alone in still wondering whether this is a good idea. Wyeth, Lybrel's makers, said that almost two-thirds of women they surveyed said they were interested in giving up their periods, the New York Times reported.

But what about that comforting monthly sign that you're not pregnant when you don't want to be? And that feeling you first had when you started to menstruate back in junior high - that feeling of hey, I'm a "real" woman now, complete with menses and bra straps? Is having a period a biological phenomenon that we should just accept and respect as the way God made us? Or do you think if we have the technology to make our lives a little easier and less painful, then we should take advantage of it?
I agree with wanting to diminish the period. But, like some women, I have wondered before in the past if it is at all healthy to stop this process. Well, it didnt bother me too much because I have been on Depo-Provera for 5 years now and havent had a period since. As a matter of fact, the idea of getting off Depo and regaining my period scares me more than not having it at all. This is the first time I have heard of that Lybrel product. I would consider switching to that if the effects are the same; minus the increased osteoporosis risk for long term use of Depo.
I read the Health Section of CNN on-line everyday, and have had an experience that I would love to share with all women. Today the topic finally came up. For as long as I've had it my period has been awful. Heavy flow lasting 8-9 days, mood swings you name it. Then birth control came along and WOW it wasn't like even having a period. Then I had my children and the horrible cycle began again. Now I'm over 40 so products like Seasonale kind of worry me because of the risks associated. But there is hope! On July 30, 2006 I under went an out-patient procedure called Novasure. Thats the "trade" name. The procedure has changed significatly over the years. Initially it was "cryoblation" where the ling of your uterus is frozen, the it went to a procedure where they scaled the lining. Novasure is this little tool that apparently scrapes enough of the uterine lining that you get a reduced flow as a worst case and it disappears forever in the best case. It's a 4 minute procedure done under general anethesia, the cramping afterwards lasts for exactly 1 hour, you have a watery discharge for about 10 days and I haven't had a period, or PMS since. If taking a pill everyday isn't your thing - talk to your doctor. If your done having your family (shouldn't get pregnant after having this prcedure)and want to start living your life without worrying when it's coming or how bad it will be - make the call. It has made such a difference in my life - I wish I hadn't waited so long to have it done.
i'm more concerned about taking hormones than i am about the effects of skipping periods. i'd love to skip them though!
How healthy could it be to never have a period. What if you want to get pregnant at some point, and now cannot? I think that at some point all this technology will have a heavy price for women. Look at hormone replacement therapy.
When I was 17 years old, I'd be first in line to jump the No Periods For Life Train. But now, at age 38, I rely on them to tell me everything is in working order. A metronome, a barometer. You can tell so much about your health by variances in your menses. It's the first question my doctor asks me: has everything been regular. And when it's not, he's the first person I call.
I have been on a "seasonal" period now for about 5 years and I must say that it is certianly gods-sent for me. I experience debilitation migraines the entire week I am having period. Only having a period every 10th week means that I no longer miss two out of five days of work with a migraine that prevents me from even getting out of bed. To date, I have had no new medical conditions crop up as a result of not having a period every month and instead enjoy a longer period of time migraine free. To me it is the best of both worlds: less money spent on products and less time missed at work due to unbelievable pain.
The idea of altering something as important to a woman as our hormones is distressing. The artificial hormone progestrin (sp?), most commonly used in typical birht control pills, is associated with heart attack and stroke. Furthermore, "that time of the month" is really not that big of a deal to the average, healthy woman. How harmless could it possibly be to eliminate a physiological cycle that has existed since the dawn of females and made us who and what we are? We're made a certain way for a reason, and we shouldn't fight what nature intended.
I personally don't mind having my period because it's regular and I don't experience the crankiness, cramps, or bloating that other women do. It's a part of nature so altering it too much kind of spooks me out. I'd be more afraid that I couldn't be able to have children later in life because of the drastic alterations the newer drugs would make in my body.
I think that,like you, millions ofwomen arein doubt whether it is safe and a good idea and if they should change the way we are. Still, I am sick of flipping out at ramdom people becuase of raging hormones or missing work due to cramps. Here's to finding a safe alternative to periods.
I am concerned about the health effects of these new birth control methods and even current oral contraceptives. I experienced very real changes in my personality and health on the pill (I tried several different brands). I became lactose intolerant, had itchy eyes, and felt dull. The scariest thing is that I didn't notice these changes were due to the pill until I accidentally went off it (forgot my pills on an extended vacation). I felt so much more alive after going off it: I seemed smarter and more alert, my eyes felt better, my libido was higher, and my lactose intolerance vanished. It was like this veil was lifted. Being married and not opposed to having kids (although I'd prefer to wait a couple of years), I really don't think these side effects are worth it--we'll just use a condom during the times in the month when I'm fertile and hope for the best. I think women in a similar situation to mine should really examine how important the pill is to them, since I don't feel the quality-of-life side effects are worth it.
I have had an IUD for the past 2 years and haven't had a period in about 14 months. I can tell you from personal experience, it is a God send. Not only do I not have the annoyance of a period, I don't have the let-me-crawl-into-a-corner-for-a-week-I-hate-life feelings anymore.

Life is hard. If there is something to make it a little easier, I am all for it!
I take regular birth control pills continously. After taking 3 months worth of pills I allow myself one period to reassure myself that I am not pregnant. I don't think there is anything wrong with skipping periods. They are uncomfortable and messy. Dealing with it doesn't make me feel like a "real" woman. There are many biological phenomenoms that we use technology to change. Viagra anyone? Women's issues are just as important.
Having your period is not only a pain to you (and possibly your significant other), but it actually puts you at risk for getting bacterial vaginosis (BV). BV is associated with an over-proliferation of anaerobic bacteria that are part of the normal flora in the vagina; these anaerobes are normally outweighed by other bacteria such as different species of Lactobacillus.

Menstrual blood provides a convenient source of nutrients for the anaerobes and can lead to a shift in the flora, and sometimes BV. Studies are currently under way here at Johns Hopkins that have shown that a woman's flora shifts to more anaerobes after her period; thus, having your period increases your risk of coming down with BV.

BV can actually put women at an increased risk for STDs, so I am all for women being able to choose not to have a period. I think even conventional monthly pills may help the BV situation, though, since the pill typically decreases the duration and flow of your period.
I am down with the no period pill
i do not want kids so i wouldnt worry about not being able to
i just do not care
i go through so much pain and bitterness two weeks before i am due and the biggest you-know-what on my period.
I find it an odd coincidence that this we are living in the first significant era of history where women have NOT spent the majority of their childbearing years gestating or lactating - and at the same time - the incidence of "female" type cancers has skyrocketed. Could it be that our bodies were never supposed to go thru this many menstrual cycles? Is the up & down, month after month causing more harm than good? Maybe if someone were to develop hormone-regulated birth control that more closely approximated proGESTin (gestation replication - we have this) AND also approximated proLACTin (lactation replication - without the actual lactation part, Lol), then our bodies wouldn't go so wacko? I realize this is oversimplified, but hopefully I'm making my point... Maybe if carefully administered in nine month, followed by 12 month cycles, we might have less of these side effects, blood clots, cancers, what have you, caused by more estrogen than our bodies were ever supposed to get in a lifetime. Just some thoughts...
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