In theory skipping your period sounds like heaven… no bleeding, no cramping, no acne or food cravings. And more women in their 20s and 30s are choosing contraception that may suppress their menstrual cycles. In reality, however, a regular menstrual cycle is a biological marker of general health and not something one should play around with without the supervision of a medical doctor. That said, there are benefits to skipping your period if done in a controlled manner. We chatted with Sophia Yen, MD, MPH, the co-founder and CEO of Pandia Health to find out more about the risks and benefits of skipping your period.
You have the control to decide when and how often you bleed.
Why bleed every month if you don’t have to? “The only reason those with uteri bleed every month is because we built up the lining of the uterus to accept the embryo,” says Dr. Yen. “So if we aren’t trying to get pregnant that month, and all those months from the first period until the first child why are we bleeding every month?” Dr. Yen has a wonderful TEDx talk on the bottom of this page on the science/safety of #NoPeriods, #FewerPeriods.
The number one cause of missed school/work in someone under 25 years old is painful periods or heavy periods.
If you or your daughter(s) are missing school or work or not functioning normally during menstruation, please see a doctor to discuss treatment options. “Just because your mom had it, grandma had it and so on, doesn’t mean you have to suffer. We have medicines to help you be your most productive self,” says Dr. Yen.
Birth control works better if you don’t take 7 days off each month.
“If you are using the birth control pill, patch or ring, the fewer days you are off the medication (while taking the sugar pills or taking the last week of pills), the more effective the birth control is,” says Dr. Yen. “Research shows that for women with a higher BMI (Body Mass Index), there can be escape ovulation (the egg pops out of the ovary) if you are off your active birth control pills for more than five days. The original pill had a much higher dose of estrogen at 150 mcgs, compared to the normal dose now which is 30-35mcg. This is only 1/5th the original dose, so it doesn’t cover the seven days off.”
You can plan your period around special occasions.
“Don’t ruin your wedding, vacation, competition, important day at work or any other event with a visit from Aunt Flo. Using the birth control pill, patch or ring, you have the power to decide when you want to bleed, if at all.”
You can enjoy outdoor activities without worrying.
Do you love going to the beach or pool during the summer? Who doesn’t? “Swimsuits are much more comfortable without the risk of a tampon string coming out to say hello. If you’re the sporty type, know that athletes such as Olympic swimmers and famous tennis players have said they do better when they’re NOT on their period.”
Without losing blood each month, performance in school is better.
Usually, doctors only check for iron deficiency AFTER you’re diagnosed with anemia. However, according to Dr. Yen, one study checked children who had iron deficiency but not yet anemia and found that if you give these kids iron, then they do better on math and IQ tests. “Our daughters who are being ‘blood-let’ by their periods each month might do better on math, tests and school in general if they have extra oxygen via hemoglobin, which comes from iron.”
More Health & Wellness:
- The 6 Best Period Products for Teens and Tweens
- Implantation Bleeding: How Is It Different Than Your Period?
- What It Was Like To Go Through Menopause At 35