Sexuality and U

Birth Control

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Controlling your period with birth control


Is your period supposed to start next week, at the same time as an upcoming event such as a wedding, holiday, sports competition, or exam? If you are using birth control methods such as the oral contraceptive pill, patch, or vaginal ring, you can delay your period until a more convenient time.

Birth Control Pill

There is currently an approved birth control pill available in Canada made specifically for extended use, called Seasonale. It is designed for extended use, meaning that an active hormonal pill is taken for 84 days straight, followed by 7 days of sugar pills. This means that a woman will have a period four times a year instead of every 28 days, which can help reduce lifestyle interruptions during important events such as a weddings, holidays, sport competitions, or exams.

Other oral contraceptive pills that are available in Canada can also be used either in an extended fashion or continuously, however it is important to check with your health-care professional to make sure that this is a good option for you, and to get advice on how to take the pill this way.

Contraceptive Patch or Vaginal Ring

Using the patch or the vaginal ring? Once you have completed 21 days of either method (one ring or three patches), instead of having a week off and menstruating, continue immediately with another patch or ring. With the patch, you can add one, two, or three more extra weeks, depending on your schedule. For the vaginal ring, once the second three-week ring is done, remove it and have a ring-free week.

During the additional weeks of treatment, you may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding. This is not harmful and the contraception effect will continue to work even if there is bleeding or spotting. Continue to take your contraceptive method according to the plan you and your health care provider have agreed upon.