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Do Women Really Need Monthly Periods?

Posted by Carmen Chu on

  

How great would it be to not have periods or PMS anymore?


Actually, there have been many FDA approved birth control pills that has promised women no periods at all, such as Lybrel and Seasonale.  They make the idea of menstruation a lifestyle choice, and not really a monthly must.  


So the question is, is suppressing periods actually safe?


It's estimated that women in today’s generation have about 450 periods in their lifetime, which is about 3x more than our early ancestors.  


This can be generally attributed to 4 reasons:

  1. Girls are entering puberty much earlier, thus getting periods faster
  2. Women are getting pregnant much later on in their lives
  3. More women in the workforce means less time for breastfeeding
  4. Women have longer lifespans now vs. before

So if our ancestors had way less periods but stayed relatively healthy, then why can’t we do that now?


Is there any real benefit to all the pain, moodiness, and hassle we have to endure every month?


In actuality, there is a bigger risk factor for cardiovascular disease when we eliminate too much iron from our bodies.   Our blood pressure significantly reduces so actually, the chance for heart attacks and strokes are less when we are in our fertile years.  


Some doctors believe that monthly menstruating can also increase our chances for getting cancer.  When we ovulate and produce an egg, this scars the ovary. If the egg remains unfertilized, then the built-up of the uterine lining sheds as a period.  This can also create more scars and can cause cells to divide and regenerate. If something goes wrong during this process, then this can increase the chance of ovarian and endometrial cancer.  


Studies have shown that if a woman gets pregnant, thus giving the ovulation and menstruation cycle a rest, her risk of cancer can drop by 10%.  Other research has shown that you can reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer by 40 per cent by suppressing your period on the Pill.  



Since the Pill is known to regulate your period cycle, is it safe for a woman to take birth control pills back to back?

 

In theory, a woman can take a Pill every day for a year without having any medical problems.  Yes, you can actually be PMS free for a year and save a ton of money on feminine hygiene products! 

 

There is a myth that if they suppress their periods too long, too much blood will build up in their womb.  However, the hormones in the Pill keeps the uterine wall thin so there won’t be any blood to shed. There are instances where after a prolonged period, some women might experience what’s known as a “breakthrough bleed”.  This is when the womb lining has gradually built enough blood for a very light period. It is advisable at that point to come off the Pill during this week to let the body do its work.

In the end, there have been multiple studies done and all have concluded there is no risk to menstrual suppression.  However, there are women who want to be reassured that they are not pregnant by taking the placebo pills. Personally, I’m not sure how I feel about this as this topic is really new to me.  I’ve been programmed to think that periods mean a healthy body and not menstruating indicates something is wrong.  

 

However, I thought this subject would be something of interest, and probably a lot of you haven’t heard about.  I’d love to hear your thoughts on this matter.

 


Email me anytime at yummy@foodcraft.hk and let me know whether you think stopping your period is safe and healthy :)


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