Do Birth Control Pills Stop Your Period?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 11, 2014
Quick Bites

  • Birth control stops period
  • The hormones in the pill affect the cycle
  • The pills mimics natural periods
  • Has a close connection with menstrual cycle

Pregnancy can be the best news of someone's life but only when the time is right. Otherwise people prefer to consider birth control options to avoid pregnancy until the time is right. Oral contraceptive, popularly known as the birth control pill, is one of the easiest and most effective methods of contraception. These pills, usually offering 98% success rate in preventing pregnancy, have proven to be extremely popular in the last decade.

birth control pills

Its popularity can be understood by the fact that it is readily available over the counter all round the world. Over the years these pills, as a result of continuous researches, have become more effective with fewer and less severe side effects. The risk of side effects is has been significantly reduces as the latest pills contain lesser amount of the hormones. But due to the presence of hormones in the tablets, they can be used to delay your period as well.

Usually a pack of birth control pills contains 28 pills out of which only 21 are called active pills. An active pill contains hormones that help suppress the fertility and performs the real job of preventing pregnancy. The rest of the pills are called inactive pills as they don't contain such hormones. The birth control pills basically mimic a natural menstrual cycle. A woman on birth control pills experiences bleeding similar to that of periods. However, the bleeding that one experiences while on the pill is quite different from bleeding that occurs during the menstrual cycle.


When a woman takes the inactive pill after 21 active pills, she experiences bleeding as a response of the body to stopping the hormones that were present in the active pills. It is called the withdrawal bleeding which may appear like a period. It is even possible to control the bleeding caused by the pills personal reasons by simply skipping the inactive pills in your pack. This is especially convenient for women who experience heavy, prolonged, frequent or painful periods, or have any condition in which it becomes inconvenient to use tampons or sanitary napkins. Such women can just skip the inactive pills and start a new pack of active pills. That way they will be able to avoid the withdrawal bleeding. This connection of the pills with the bleeding and the periods poses the question; do birth control pills stop menstruation?

Can Birth Control Pills Stop Your Period?

However, despite the great benefit and the ease of use, the presence of hormones in the pills also poses a common side effect that birth control pills can stop your period. The answer to the question lies in the contents of the pill. The pill contains hormones that can affect the menstrual cycle of a woman. The hormones present in the pill can delay the periods in the women who are on these pills. Now that it is clear and commonly observed that these pills can delay the periods but can taking birth control pills stop your period? The answer to this question also lies in the hormones present in the pill. The answer to the question is a yes. The pills can not only delay the periods, they can completely stop it as well. The delay is common and occurs from all the birth control pills. When delaying periods with contraceptive pills, it is common to experience spotting, also known as breakthrough bleeding, between periods. However this type of bleeding usually decreases with the consistent use of pills over a few months, as the body begins to adjust to it. Breakthrough bleeding occurs more frequently and significantly if the woman on pill smokes or misses a pill. It can also occur when taking some other medication like antibiotics along with the birth control pills.


The latest pill called Lybrel has been approved by regulators for stopping your period with birth control. The pill has a lower dose of hormones than almost any other oral contraceptive, about 90 micrograms of a synthetic progestin and 20 micrograms of an estrogen. The pill will stop your period completely after a period of use. However, a downside of stopping periods is that women will no longer have the monthly reassurance that their contraceptive pills are working and that they are not pregnant.


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