When Your Period Isn’t A Period

While it’s not something that I consider vitally important, I have had many friends and students who think that the time that they bleed while on the hormonal birth control (like the birth control pill or Nuva Ring)  is a period. But it’s not. It may look like a period, and you may have cramps, PMS, etc. However, it’s still not a period. I found an article to back me up, and this can also be known as withdrawal bleeding, a fake period, or a hormonal period. This “period” happens because the hormone levels in the blood stream have changed – even if just slightly – so the lining of the sheds. This can also explain why someone women may feel that their “period” is shorter or lighter while on hormonal birth control (the uterine lining doesn’t usually get the hormonal signals to fill with blood). I have a friend who has pretty rough “periods” even on the birth control pill, and I’ve asked why she won’t just choose to skip the placebo week. She says that she feels better having a “period” and it feels more natural to her. I say do what works for you, and don’t feel the need to pick up some Ben & Jerry’s and explain to a friend “Oh, you know, I’m just having my withdrawal bleeding!” 

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About Holly Moyseenko

Holly Moyseenko is a sex educator living in Ohio. She is an advocate of positive and healthy sexuality. Holly currently works for a non-profit health organization as a health educator, and also teaches workshops that focus on many topics within the realm of healthy sexuality. In her spare time, she also is an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, gardens, reads anything within reach, drinks copious amounts of tea, and naps with her two dogs.