Sunday, August 5, 2007
No Period Birth Control Pill
The FDA has approved Lybrell, the first oral contraceptive pill that allows women to Cease having periods! This "no period" OCP works the same way as the usual pill. It uses the same low dose estrogen/progesterone combination but instead of 21 days on and 7 days off, this pill is taken continuously throughout the month.
Menstruation occurs in a normal monthly cycle when estrogen, in combination with progesterone plumps up the lining (endometrium) of the uterus in preparation for the fertilized egg to nest there. With no fertilized egg, the lining sluffs off and bleeding occurs.
The OCP (birth control pill) shuts off your normal production of hormones and supplies a small amount of estrogen/progesterone so you don't get pregnant. Instead of 7 days off the pill when withdrawl bleeding occurs, the "no period" pill continues throughout the month so there is no withdrawl bleed and no period. You are just eliminating that week of no hormone in the pill.
May women ask "Don't I need to have a period to flush out the uterus?" The answer is no you don't. The original pill was designed in the early 1960's to artificially cause a withdrawal bleed because the developers thought women and religious organizations would never accept the concept of not having "normal" periods. There is nothing new about the technology of the "no period" pill. The only thing that seems to have changed is a wider acceptance of not having periods. This pill won't be for everyone but I am always glad when women's reproductive health is studied. The Birth Control Pill is one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century.
So for women who are tired of the hassle of monthly periods, and are already taking OCPs, Lybrell may be just the ticket. Because there is no period, if a woman thinks she might be pregnant (oops!) she should use a home pregnancy test.
Check out my prior post for more info on the Birth Control Pill.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 10:59 AM