Saying Goodbye to "The Dot"

May 23, 2006

Marry or stay single? Have a family or not? Work out of home or stay at home? Period or no period? Well, it appears that having a world of choices, even “the dot” (as my daughter calls it), is optional.

If you’re using birth control, you know that after three weeks of hormones, you get a week of placebos; skip the placebos, skip a period. Already, the Seasonale birth control pill limits periods to four a year.

Soon to be available? The first continuous-use birth control pill, Lybrel. The good news about Lybrel, which is a new continuous, low-dose (20 mcg ethinyl estradiol/90 mcg levonorgestrel) birth control pill, designed to be taken daily with no hormone-free intervals, showed complete ovulation suppression in a small study, and significant control of premenstrual symptoms in a larger, but not placebo controlled, study.

(You can see results of the study here.)

According to this article suppressing menstruation is very common:

Most doctors say they don’t think suppressing menstruation is riskier than regular long-term birth control use, and one survey found a majority have prescribed contraception to prevent periods. Women have been using the pill for nearly half a century without significant problems, but some doctors want more research on long-term use.

If you’re choosing contraception, then there’s not a lot of point to having periods,” says Dr. Leslie Miller, a University of Washington-Seattle researcher and associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology whose Web site, noperiod.com, explains the option. She points out women on hormonal contraception don’t have real periods anyway, just withdrawal bleeding during the break from the hormone progestin.

I am just as guilty as the next person of skipping a period here and there, especially when planning a vacation. But having just recently been armed with this information, I have just placed a call to my gynecologist.

So ladies, period or no period?