Types of birth control that stop periods: Guide – Medical News Today

A person may wish to stop or delay their period for a variety of reasons, including to reduce cramps or headaches. The timing of a person’s period may also be inconvenient and disrupt daily life.
This article explores how birth control can stop a period and which type to choose and answers some frequently asked questions.
A person can stop or delay their period using birth control methods. It is also possible to reduce the number of periods a person experiences.
There are various methods a person can choose from to stop their periods.
Several types of birth control can stop periods.
The following table is a direct comparison of some examples of birth control options and their features.
Approximately 25% of females in the United States who use contraception report using birth control pills as their method of choice. Pills that suppress periods are the same as regular birth control pills. However, birth control pills usually involve taking this medication for 21 days and then a further 7 days of taking a placebo.
If a person takes contraceptive pills to stop periods, they will usually take them consecutively with no placebo drug. They may still experience light spotting or breakthrough bleeding.
When taking a break from hormonal birth control, a person may experience withdrawal bleeding, which may resemble a period.
Combination birth control pills (COCs) are a method to pause a person’s period. COCs contain estrogen and progestin.
Examples of COCs include:
Learn about the side effects of long-term birth control use.
A person places a contraceptive ring inside their vagina that releases hormones into the body to prevent ovulation.
When using this as contraception, users remove the ring after 3 weeks to have their period. However, a person can opt to leave it in if they wish to skip their period.
Learn about the differences between spotting and a period here.
This method involves a health professional inserting a T-shaped device into the uterus. It releases a small amount of daily progestin. The device usually stays in place for 3—6 years, but a health professional can remove it at any time.
This device will stop periods altogether for some people, but it may reduce or lighten periods for others.
A 2018 study indicates that this form of contraception is safe and highly effective.
Learn more about the insertion of intrauterine devices here.
The Depo-Provera (DMPA) injection is available in the US and requires a shot every 3 weeks.
It protects against pregnancy and can result in lighter or no menstrual periods. However, it may also result in irregular periods.
Learn more about Depo-Provera injections here.
A person can wear a birth control patch, which they need to change weekly. They can wear it on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body. The patch releases hormones directly into a person’s bloodstream.
Typically, a person would remove the patch for the fourth week to allow for a menstrual period. However, if a person keeps the patch on for this fourth week, it can delay or stop periods altogether.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that it has a failure rate of around 7%, which means 7 out of every 100 people using the patch will get pregnant.
Learn more about birth control patches here.
There are advantages and disadvantages of birth control that stop menstrual periods.
Advantages include:
Disadvantages include the possibility of breakthrough bleeding.
There are many forms of birth control that do not necessarily stop a person’s period, depending on how people take them. They include:
A person will need to discuss which birth control method is suitable for them with their doctor.
A few other things people may wish to discuss with a doctor include:
The following are common questions and answers about birth control and stopping periods:
Generally, it is safe to use birth control to stop periods. However, there may be some types of birth control that certain individuals should not take. People should always talk with their doctor before taking anything to stop periods.
Learn more about the safety and risks of skipping periods on birth control here.
There is very limited research into the long-term effects of skipping periods by using birth control. However, alongside the usual side effects that birth control methods can cause, occasional spotting or irregular bleeding may occur.
Learn about the 10 side effects of the birth control pill here.
Under some circumstances, a doctor may recommend surgery. However, they will only recommend this if a person has specific medical conditions, such as endometriosis or persistent heavy periods.
This surgery will be a final resort if other treatments are not working.
Learn more about managing and stopping heavy periods here.
Many types of birth control can stop or delay a person from having a period. Some of these methods may only make the period lighter. A person should always discuss the options with their doctor before using any birth control method to stop periods.
Last medically reviewed on March 17, 2022
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