Periods are downright painful to several women. It hampers daily life and can also make them reliant on medication to deal with the pain. For others, it is just a plain nuisance. Many women are now choosing to give up on this biological process altogether.
By taking oral contraceptives, one can either stop or considerably lighten the bleeding. These contraceptives are usually taken to prevent pregnancy. A recent drop in tampon sales are indicative of the fact that women are using these tablets to stop the bleeding. About a fifth of women using the contraceptive implant no longer bleed, while many who take contraceptive pills without a break often achieve the same result. – and they are not the only methods.
There are other methods to stop the bleeding too. “I started taking the mini-pill purely for the fact it would stop my periods,” says Jaimi Kendall, 25, from Exeter. “For years, I had extremely heavy periods that would drag on for eight weeks or so and left me severely anaemic to the point where I started experiencing pulsatile tinnitus. Not having periods any more is a blessing.”
Catriona Clarke, 25, from Cambridge, also realised that bleeding could be stopped with tablets and was thrilled. “My periods weren’t even that bad,” she said, “just uncomfortable and a mess. And, given how expensive period products can be, an expensive mess.”
During menstruation, the body sheds the lining of the uterus along with the unfertilised egg. It is triggered by fluctuating levels of the oestrogen and progesterone hormone. By not having periods, the body doesn’t create a “backlog”, and nor is the process of bleeding a ‘cleansing of the body’ Menstruation can, however, affect physical and mental health. It can lead to endometriosis and depression and also be a problem for those with gender dysphoria. A survey conducted by Public Health England of 7,500 women, aged between 16-64 reported that they faced menstrual issues in the last year.
“Historically, women would spend much of their time pregnant or breastfeeding (which can delay the return of periods). It would be a minority of people who had a couple of children only and menstruated all the way through their lives,” explained Dr Jane Thomas, a consultant gynaecologist at Homerton university hospital. It is a modern phenomenon, having so many periods, reported The Guardian.
If women don’t want to have their periods, there is no medical reason for it to continue happening. Regular periods are supposed to be an indication of good health. Dr Anne Connolly, gynaecologist, said “Ninety-nine per cent of women don’t need to bleed.”
Not bleeding has a myriad of benefits. You can save money, mitigate health problems including Polycystic ovarian syndrome. PCOS is caused by cell build up in the uterus and it can be prevented by taking oral contraceptives as it keeps the lining of the womb thin.
Many have raised concerns that bleeding is a sign that the woman has not conceived. Experts also stress that stopping periods won’t affect future fertility. “When you stop taking the hormones, they get flushed out of your system very quickly, and your periods will return to what they were before you started taking the pill,” said Connolly.