Confirmed: You CAN take the pill back to back with no health risks
Basically, you don’t ever have to have a period if you don’t want to
We've all been told that taking your contraceptive pill back to back will result in health horrors. The whispers about infertility and blood clots made us think we can't continuously take the pill, terrified of the rumoured consequences.
But it turns out women don't have to face the crap combination of the side effects of the contraceptive pill (which can include migraines, mood changes, and weight gain) and a monthly period.
In new guidelines from the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) released yesterday, it has been said that there is no health benefit to taking the seven-day hormone-free interval. Basically, you can back to back your pill and it literally won't matter.
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According to the new guidelines, which are accredited by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE): "Women can safely take fewer (or no) hormone-free intervals to avoid monthly bleeds, cramps and other symptoms."
So why have we been told we need to take a compulsory seven day break?
Experts say taking the pill day-in, day-out will actually prevent more unwanted pregnancies occurring. Why have we been told we need to have a compulsory seven day break each month?
Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor John Guillebaud explained: “The gynaecologist John Rock devised [the seven day break] because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use.”
How could it be that for 60 years, we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?”
With more women than ever speaking out about the side effects of the pill and electing to choose other forms of contraception, now is the time to challenge the constrictions placed on women's contraceptions to appease the male Pope, who definitely wouldn't be a contraceptive pill user himself.
Is it safe to double back your pill?
However, there has been extensive research into the potential links and there has been no change in blood clot risk between the traditional 21/7 day pill cycle and 91-day pill regimen.
What happens if you do it for consecutive months?
The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, which sets the national guidelines for the safe prescription and use of the contraceptive, said there is no health benefit to taking a week-long break from the combined contraceptive pill.
Experts say taking the pill day-in, day-out will actually prevent more unwanted pregnancies occurring. Which is surprising considering that many women see their period as a reassurance they're not pregnant.
Doctors can recommend continuous use of oral contraceptives for treatment of conditions such as endometriosis, as well as to ease heavy or painful periods. This means women don't have to have monthly periods to stay healthy.
Will taking back-to-back packs of pills affect my fertility in the long term?
There has been no evidence to suggest that infertility is caused by continuous use of the pill. Fertility bounces back very quickly after the seven hormone-free days, explaining why unplanned pregnancies can occur after a long period of time off the pill.
So if these new guidelines are followed, what does this mean for current pill users?
– Women can safely take no hormone-free intervals to prevent their monthly periods
– If a hormone-free break is taken, shortening the interval to four days could reduce the risk of pregnancy should pills be missed
– Online provision is possible and many women can safely be proscribed a one year supply rather than the current three month supply, perfect for uni students who are still registered with GPs at home
And whilst we all might be a bit pissed off that we have had to unnecessarily have monthly periods, at least we now know it's all up to us.