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Popping birth control pills can disturb your menstrual cycle

Birth control pills are an effective way of contraception but do you know in exactly what way does it interrupt your menstrual cycle? Read on to find out.
birth control pills
You must know how birth control pills can help you. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
Team Health Shots Published: 21 Aug 2021, 12:00 pm IST
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We must not view menstruation as a matter of a couple of days but as something that occurs over the course of a month. The reason many call it a menstrual cycle is due to the cyclical nature of the rise and fall of different reproductive hormones.

Initially, there’s a rise in the hormone called estrogen. This rise goes on for about 14 days. During this time, your ovaries ripen eggs to be released. Before ovulation, two more hormones come to rise. One is called the follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the other is the luteinizing hormone (LH). Right after ovulation, the level of estrogen starts to go down.

Post ovulation, also known as the luteal phase, the level of estrogen starts to rise again. This time around, another hormone that is known as progesterone also increases. Both these hormones rise in order to support conception and implantation. They drop once again before the next period if no implantation occurs that particular month.

birth control pill
Birth control pills can impact your menstrual cycle. Image Courtesy: Shutterstock
Using birth control pills for contraception

We all have certain ideas in mind when it comes to starting a family. Hence, many women are choosing the birth control pill as a contraceptive. They are extremely safe and effective. In fact, a study published in the journal Cancer Research found that oral birth control pills can reduce the chances of developing cancer in women.

Our menstrual cycle depends on a very interlinked play of multiple hormones. When you introduce a birth control pill to this play, your hormones react accordingly to ensure you don’t get pregnant. As you know, ovulation is an integral part of the menstrual cycle but a birth control pill works towards ensuring you don’t ovulate.

birth control pills
Birth control pills interrupt the menstrual cycle by stopping ovulation. Image Courtesy: Shuterstock
How does the birth control pill affect your menstrual cycle?

A combined hormonal birth control pill contains hormones that trick the body into not releasing an egg that particular month. Hence, it works by preventing your ovaries from preparing and releasing eggs. This way, your usual hormonal ‘cycling’, which includes ovulation, growth of the endometrium (uterus lining) and the natural period, is interrupted.

The lining of your uterus is basically what you shed when you’re on your period. From a day after your period ends to the beginning of the next one, this lining actually grows but taking a birth control pill doesn’t quite allow this lining to thicken. Moreover, the rise and fall in hormones plus the ovulation also don’t take place. This means that when you’re on a birth control pill, your bleeding is also different. This sort of bleeding is very different from a natural period. In fact, you may or may not bleed at all.

You must keep in mind that everyone’s experience on the birth control pill is different, primarily because it depends on the type of pill you’re taking and your own body. Some may only bleed for a day and some may experience an extremely light period over the course of a few days. But, in case you don’t bleed at all, you must take a pregnancy test timely in order to be sure.

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