Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Skip...Period...Honeymoon

I noticed a lot of people who search for "How can I skip my period for my honeymoon" (or a variant of that) are directed here. Since I don't actually have an explicit post on how to skip your period during the honeymoon, I feel like I'm letting down all those poor brides-to-be. So, in the interest of smooth nuptials and honeymoons, here's a quick primer on how to skip the menstrual period.

Track Your Periods

First, get in the habit of tracking your periods so you can anticipate the start of your next period. Best to have at least 6 months of data to establish a pattern.

Plan In Advance

Second, if your period is scheduled to start during your honeymoon, the ideal time to start managing your period is at least 3 months in advance. The main reason to do this is in order to cut down/eliminate breakthrough bleeding and spotting.

Decide What Method To Use, And Use A Skip Period Regimen

Third, what you do next depends on the method of birth control you plan to use (or are already using).

Today, let's limit ourselves to women who already use birth control, a hormonal method, the Pill.

As you probably know, there are 6 methods in the hormonal group:

1. Pill (two-hormones and one-hormone)

2. Skin patch (Ortho Evra)

3. Vaginal Ring (NuvaRing)

4. Implant (Implants)

5. Shot (Injections/Shots [two-hormones and one-hormone])

6. IUD (Hormone-releasing Intrauterine Device (IUD))

For women who use a combination (two hormones) Pill brand:

Identify the type of Pill

You need to figure out what type of Pill you're taking: a 21-day, 28-day, or 84-day (Seasonale) brand.

Also, make sure it's a monophasic brand (all active pills--the pills that have hormones--in the pack have the same amount of hormones.)

TIP: An easy way to figure that out if your brand is monophasic--in a 21-day pack, all pills are the same color; in a 28-day pack, you only have two pill colors (21 pills are one color, and seven pills are a different color).

Change the way you take the Pill

You need to change the way you take the Pill. (Remember, it's best if you start this change at least three months before the planned event.)

You need to switch from a regular 21/7 regimen, to an extended regimen.

Let's use the 84/7 extended regimen as an example.

For the 21-day pack, when you finish the pack, don't wait for one week to start a new pack; start a new pack right away. Do this for four packs in a row (the fourth pack is the one you take during the actual honeymoon).

For the 28-day pack, you have 21 active pills (all have hormones, and all have the same color), and 7 inactive (or placebo, or "sugar") pills (these pills don't have any hormones, and they're all the same color, a different color than the active ones). Once you finish the 21 active pills, throw away the seven placebo pills; start a new pack right away. Do this for four packs in a row (fourth pack during the honeymoon).

For the 84-day pack (Seasonale), take the 84 pink pills.

That's it. Of course, this only scratches the surface of menstrual management and I do plan to have additional posts on this topic. (I just finished writing a book on this subject, and that wasn't enough. Now I'm blogging about it. Somebody stop me!) Like what is the difference between the real and the fake period (withdrawal bleeding). You have no idea how much confusion and misinformation surrounds this very basic concept!

Last, but not least, it goes without saying that you should never base health decisions on the postings of an anonymous blogger (no matter how lovely the blogger). Rather, use the information as a starting point for an in-depth, personalized discussion with your own Ob/Gyn.

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23 Comments:

At 7:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mention that if you are trying to alter your period schedule you should first make sure the pills you have are monophasic. What about the triphasic pills such as ortho-tri cyclen?

 
At 9:09 PM, Blogger ema said...

If you’re already using a triphasic for birth control, no need to switch to a monophasic. The regimen is the same: take the first 21 pills (for Ortho Tri-Cyclen: white, light blue, and blue—all are active pills; they have hormones), discard the last seven (the green ones—the inactive, placebo pills), start new pack x 4 packs (last pack during honeymoon). The reason I mentioned monophasic brands—since all the active pills have the same amount of hormones, usually there’s less chance of nuisance side effects, like breakthrough bleeding/spotting. (Always consult with your own MD about medical advice.)

 
At 2:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the 21 day pills and they are for sure monophasic. And if I want to skip my period for september, does that mean I have to start by skipping augusts, or can I just start a new pack in september instead of having my period? Will that work, or will it come anyway?

 
At 4:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am on Yaz and am trying to skip my period so I don't get it on my wedding and honeymoon. Yaz is different then the regular 21 or 28 day birth control methods. I am a Sunday starter. The last active pill is during week 4 on a wed. Then there are only 4 placebo pills. If I want to skip my period next month how would I do this? Do I just go on to a new pack after week 3 is done?

 
At 6:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the exact same question as above. I'm about to start on Yaz and am a Sunday starter as well, but I'm scheduled to start on my honeymoon. I can't find any info that's helpful if I want to skip my period next month. How do I do this, and is it ok to just skip these pills? (the Yaz site says that you should never do this--i'm confused)

 
At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am also wondering the same as the above 2 mentioned.. any advice on how to do this??

 
At 8:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I use the NuvaRing. Would I just start the new NuvaRing the last day of the 3rd week, similar to starting the new pack of pills on the first day of the 4th week? Thanks!

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dont use any method of contraception as my boyfriend has had the snip. However, our first holiday together in September will be clouded by the curse....is there anything i can do to change this?

 
At 5:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

YAZ USERS: it is easy to skip your pill! yaz is also monophasic, even though it uses a different ratio of active to inactive pills. you skip youre period just as is described above: once you finish your active pills you skip the white placebos and immediately begin your next pill pack. You will not have any detrimental side effects other than a potential for some minor break through bleeding. Sunday starters will have to modify their schedules because skipping the four days of pills will throw off your week the next month when you have/skip your next "period" (which as earlier stated is not a period at all). Hope this helps!

 
At 10:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To comment on the Yaz birth control takers, I'm also in the same boat. So if I skip the placebo (white pills) and just immediatly start a new pack I shouldn't get my period the week of my wedding and honeymoon (it's cutting it close right now so I'm thinking about just skipping my period for this month because my wedding is Nov. 29) you mentioned break through bleeding, I got my period on Oct. 22 and it's oct 26 and I'm still on it. How long does the break through bleeding usually last? Also, I've only been on Yaz for about a month so I hope I can still skip my period just as the other blogger above me desire to do for my wedding and honeymoon. Please let me know what you think, you seem very knowledgeable in this topic. I would greatly appreciate it!

 
At 2:40 AM, Blogger haleigh said...

I am on YAZ and have been for five months now. As I was scheduled to be on my period during my honeymoon (which is in two weeks) I have skipped my period for the past two months as to avoid breakthrough bleeding etc. However lately I am abnormally nausiated and having the urge to vomit and I am wondering if I need to have a cycle or if the two are related. It could simply be nervousness about my upcoming wedding. Any similiar experiences??

 
At 5:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you're not using any methods of contraceptions...how can you alter your cycle?

 
At 8:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

haleigh, I just went straight into a new pack to avoid my period this month. I am on YAZ too (for 7 months now) and I have also been very nausiated was wondering the same thing, havent had any bleeding at all!

 
At 4:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

if you skip the placebo pills and start a new pack, could i have chance of getting pregnant if i am sexual active?

 
At 10:59 AM, Blogger ema said...

Anon @ 4:31 AM,

No, you are protected. The placebo pills are the ones without hormones, so, as long as you take one active pill per day (from the new pack) you are protected from accidental pregnancy.

 
At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yaz is tricker than other pills. I actually went off Yaz because the high potasium and genetics made it form multiple kidney stones. I would consult your Doctor to be totally honest. They should understand skipping the period thing. As I talked to mine and he walked me through the process cause its not something i plan to keep doing. However, if your getting ill it means two things. the lack of period is literally making you ill which i experienced on depo or because there is no break in the dosage the dosage might be to concentrated. But there are alot of health risks with Yaz which is why I suggest you ask your doc. Yaz and Depo are the two birth controls I URGE every woman to stay away from...

 
At 5:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last month I skipped my period using a tri-phasic pill during my honeymoon. Instead of skipping it entirely, I spotted for about two weeks (during the second week of taking the "week three" pills and during the week following the honeymoon while I took Placebos). Now, a month later, my period is late. I haven't taken a pregnancy test yet, but I am wondering if a late/missing period is "normal" after altering the menstrual cycle. (Please please please.)

 
At 5:15 PM, Blogger ema said...

Anon @ 5:28 AM,

Yes, it's normal. As long as you continue to take the Pill (whatever regimen; no more than 7 days off active pills) you should be protected.

If you're still concerned, an OTC pregnancy test might help put your mind at ease.

 
At 4:54 PM, Blogger Jessa said...

I have four children and my husband has had the snip, but on November 27th we are leaving for a week long vacation to mexico...and of course, i am due to start the day we fly out. since he's fixed, i am not taking anything but have a birth control prescription to fill if i'd like. it's a 28 day pill...but the vacation is less than a month away...do i have any chance of skipping my period? i was planning to begin taking the pill the day we leave. i am expecting some spotting and don't mind that, but would be really bummed if i had a full fledged period...but on the other side, i think i'd rather be bleeding than have side effects like lack of sexual desire and weight gain. I guess what I'm asking is...am I too late in the game to miss my period next month and if I can miss it, will the side effects be bad? We have spent $3000 on this vacation and I don't want to ruin it..who knows if we'll ever be able to go again:) Thank you!

 
At 5:35 PM, Blogger ema said...

Jessa,

Since you've been off OCPs for a while, starting a new pack right around the time of your vacation is more likely than not to cause some spotting/bleeding (less likely, if at all, for decreased libido and weight gain). So you have 2 options:

1) Take your chances with the Pill. If you go for this, don't start the pack on the day of your flight, it will be too late to affect your period. Start ~ about 1.5 weeks before.

2) Use a menstrual cup. Assuming you're comfortable with using one, this will take care of you having to deal with the menstrual flow all day long during your vacation.

One more option, of course, would be to talk to your Ob/Gyn and see if s/he will prescribe some high dose progesterone for you to take for just this occasion (you still have enough time for this regimen).

Hope this helps and have a nice time in Mexico.

 
At 7:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have had a tubal ligation, but have been deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months and am returning home in Decamber, unfortunately right around the time i'm supposed to start my cycle. Is there another way, besides birth control, to not dampen my reunion with my husband?

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger ema said...

Anon @ 7:31 PM,

Other than hormonal birth control, the only other alternative is to use something like a diaphragm. Have your Ob/Gyn fit you with one and only use it during intercourse.

Hope this helps and thank you for your service!

 
At 2:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have the 28 pack of birth control. I read everything about skipping the colored row to not get your period for a week, but I also read that you suggested doing that four weeks in a row. So will it take four packs of skipping the colored row before you will actually not get your period? Do you take the colored row after the week you want to miss your period?

For example, I get my period in two weeks, (my period occurs on the 4th day of colored pills). If I skip the colored row, which will be in like a week and a half, will my period not come?

 

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