For decades, women who take the contraceptive pill have been advised to take a seven-day break every month to trigger a withdrawal hemorrhage, but in the United Kingdom, that is about to change. The School of Sexual and Reproductive Health (FSRH) has updated its guidelines to reflect the fact that no benefit is known to have this interruption, and there is no medical reason not to take the pill every day of the month.
"It should be clear to women that this bleeding does not represent a physiological menstruation and that it has no health benefits," the authors of the new guidelines say.
According to a survey conducted between 2010 and 2012, more than a third of British women between the ages of 16 and 44 had used oral contraceptives in the past year. Most use the combined oral contraceptive pill, which usually comes in packs of 21 active pills and seven sugar pills (placebo) to trigger a monthly haemorrhage. Less common, but also available, are brands such as Seasonale that contain more active pills and fewer placebo pills, which results in less extraction bleeds per year.
However, apart from the risk of breakthrough bleeding, which usually decreases over time, there is really no reason to have an extra bleeding, period.
"It is not really necessary to take a break from the contraceptive pill for a withdrawal hemorrhage, it does no harm to skip this interruption or to take the combined oral contraceptive pill continuously," Karin O'Sullivan, Clinical Leader of FPA, an organization A charity for badual health, based in the United Kingdom, previously told IFLScience.
That seems to be the general consensus among gynecologists today, and yet medical guidelines have not changed to recognize this fact. Or the fact that one of the main reasons why it was added in the first place was to please a man, specifically the Pope.
In fact, while there is nothing wrong with having a withdrawal bleeding as such, some women actually benefit from taking the active pills continuously, for example, if it is a health condition such as endometriosis or dysmenorrhea. . Even those with milder menstrual symptoms may find it more comfortable to skip or shorten the monthly bleeding. A 2014 study found that women who took the pill continually experienced fewer headaches and less fatigue, bloating, menstrual pain and bad irritation than those who took breaks.