If you’ve ever wondered whether or not it’s safe to skip the placebo week in your birth control pack, let me give you a definitive answer: yes, it is absolutely safe.
Menstruation serves no other purpose than to help you get pregnant, so if you have no current plans to increase your family by one (or two or three) then there is no medical reason as to why you need to get your period.
If you’d like to know more about why it’s ok to skip your period, we’ve got all your answers below.
What Happens in Your Body When You Skip Your Period?
Ok, so first a little biology lesson: In the menstrual cycle, the uterus prepares by thickening mucous membranes lining in the off chance that an egg is fertilized and lands in the uterus.
So when that doesn’t happen, your uterus sheds the lining, releases the blood, and surprise!, your panties are ruined.
If you don’t intend to get pregnant, then there is no need for your uterus lining to thicken, no need to then shed that lining, and no need to get your period.
What Happens to Your Eggs If You Don’t Get Your Period?
So, if you skip your period, what happens to all the eggs that weren’t released down the fallopian tube? Easy — they’ll disintegrate. Well, actually all of your eggs are constantly “expiring.” Let Planned Parenthood explain:
“Your eggs are just hanging out in your ovaries until they are called upon. Not ovulating doesn’t do any damage to your body, including your eggs. They don’t all ‘expire’ at the same time, but your eggs have been dying since you were in your mother’s womb.”
Why We Have the Placebo Week to Begin With
You might be curious why we even have a placebo week in our BC packs at all. There’s actually a pretty simple explanation for that.
When activist Margaret Sanger (aka Founder of Planned Parenthood) and scientist Gregory Pincus created the birth control pill, they knew it would be extremely controversial. So, in order to make the pill seem more “natural,” they told women to stop taking the pill for the last 5 days of the month in order to mimic menstruation.
Of course, this is a relatively simplified version of the story of the birth control pill. But the result was the same: the creators felt that in order to get the birth control in the mainstream, they could not appear to alter a woman’s cycle too drastically. And so, the placebo week came to be.
What Present-Day Doctors Say
If you’re curious about whether doctors are on-board, then we’ve got you covered. Below, a few medical professionals weigh in on skipping your period:
“It’s 100 percent safe to skip your period… This ‘incessant menstruation’ is actually a modern construct.” — Sophia Yen, Clinical Associate Professor of Adolescent Medicine at Stanford Medical School, to Vice
“There’s no physiological reason why it is necessary to take the placebo pills or to not jump right into a new pack.” — Dr. Peter Rizk, Fairhaven Health, to Shape
“There’s a myth out there that not having a period is bad because women’s uteruses need to be cleaned out. But a uterus is not like a mouth—it can take care of itself under most circumstances, and it definitely does not like minty disinfectants.” — Dr. Maria Isabel Rodriguez, for Bedsider
What It’s Like Not Getting Your Period for Years
Personally, I have been skipping my period for many years and it’s freaking awesome! When I first started skipping the placebo week, I experienced some spotting for the first 6 months or so. But in the 2-3 years since, I haven’t had to use so much as a pantyliner.
Not only does skipping my period save me money (tampons are so expensive!), but it also saves me from the excruciating pain of my period cramps.
So, Should You Skip Your Period?
This is a personal choice and you should only do what makes you comfortable. And of course, you should always consult with your doctor before making any major changes to your medications.