Are periods really necessary? Maybe not

Sophie Gilliland, Online Editor-in-Chief


Every month, girls suffer from bleeding, backaches, headaches, nausea, cramps, bloating, fatigue and hormonal changes. However, instead of suffering through their period, girls can choose to skip their period by using birth control pills.
There are different types of birth control pills girls can use and most of them are effective in preventing pregnancies and allowing girls to skip their periods if they are used correctly.
Women today generally have more periods in their lifetime than women of any other time because they start their periods earlier, have fewer pregnancies, don’t breastfeed for as long, and reach menopause later in their lifetime.
The most common type of birth control pill has 21 pills per month that change hormonal levels and the rest of the pills for that month are placebo pills. These placebo pills allow for girls to have period-like bleeding because initially, pharmaceutical companies assumed women wanted a birth control that mimicked a woman’s monthly cycle.
Some birth control pills have more active pills with hormones so that there are fewer or no days of menstruation. These can allow a girl to skip her periods entirely.
Despite general agreement about the safety of skipping periods, some girls are uncomfortable with that option.
“I don’t want to mess with my body with those types of chemicals,” senior Linh Phan said. “I would just let nature do its thing instead of trying to change it [with birth control pills].”
Birth control pills do alter a female’s hormonal balance and they can increase chances of blood clotting or cervical cancer; birth control pills That allow girls to skip their periods can also make it harder for them to realize if they are pregnant or not.
Today, however, may physicians — and females — agree that these “fake” periods are unnecessary.
“There are also many women who just don’t want to have a period every month and who take the pill continuously,” OB-GYN Carolyn Thompson said in an interview with “The Atlantic.” “This carries no harm, either short or long-term.”
In fact, birth control pills provide many health benefits including reducing the risk of ovarian and uterus cancer, pelvic diseases, anemia, breast and ovarian cysts, and even acne. It isn’t recommended that a girl skip her period every month and girls should stop taking their birth control pill to start a “withdrawal” bleeding period every three to four months so that her fertility will return in about two months after stopping a continuous birth control pill.
It is recommended that girls with extreme menstrual symptoms take birth control pills to skip their periods, but for those who don’t there are still benefits of birth control.
“Not having to spend a lot on feminine products, that is a benefit,” junior Caitlynn Doucette said. “Not having to deal with the pain and all that stuff that goes with the symptoms.”
Periods for people without debilitating symptoms are still inconvenient and painful. Birth control can help girls avoid the monthly session of pain and bleeding which can benefit them in school and sports.
“It’s stopped me from sports because of the cramps hurting really bad and making me not want to go to practices,” Doucette said.
Whether or not a girl has extreme period symptoms, she can avoid the inconvenience by taking birth control pills after consulting her doctor and reviewing the possible side effects and consequences.