We love popping pills, don’t we now? Be it a common cold, a usual bout of indigestion or messing with our ovaries to avoid the monthly visit of the crimson brigade — just potentially harming your reproductive system in the long term — no biggie. What I am talking about is taking pills to skip your period, even if only as a last resort in an extreme situation.
Now here’s a word of caution, ladies, while some events might truly be unavoidable and you need to absolutely skip your period for them, your menstruation cycle is still not something to be meddled with. And doctors agree.
Dr SN Basu, Senior Director and Head of Department, Max Super Speciality Hospital, Shalimar Bagh, concurs with the same in no dubious terms. Yes, you may take the tablet in some rare situations, but under no circumstances should it be unsupervised by a doctor, she warns.
"“Repeated unsupervised intake of such tablets can lead to menstrual problems and mask an underlying problem or an undiagnosed pregnancy, especially if they have irregular or long cycles.”" - Dr SN Basu
Dr Nupur Gupta, Director, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, adds to this in the following manner:
"“See, anything that disrupts the natural rhythm of the body should be avoided. However in case of an urgent requirement, a pill can be taken. However one must not take the pill more than twice a year. It is not safe to take it more than that.”" - Dr SN Basu
‘I Have Endometriosis Which Means It’s Alright For Me to Take it, Right?’
WRONG. There is no concrete evidence to show a link between the two, says Dr Gupta.
"“There is no proof that it would help those with endometriosis. It is harmful for them too because it can really disturb the natural rhythm of the menstrual cycle. It will take a lot of time for the body to regain its original balance, and therefore this should be avoided.”" - Dr Nupur Gupta
Dr Basu defines endometriosis as a condition where the “inner lining of the uterus, called endometrium, begins to grow and develop outside the uterine cavity. It continues to develop and can cause painful periods and abnormal bleeding.”
Complex, isn’t it? Which is why it’s not a great idea to experiment with your reproductive system, it is the only one you’ve got.
‘But I Took the Pill, Now What?’
A common symptom is excessive bleeding when you finally get your period, along with cramps, though these may not occur with everyone.
"“When we delay the period, the lining of the uterus increases in size. So, we bleed more. Therefore, there is more pain. This period will not be like a natural cycle because you have delayed it. However, this does not happen with every woman.”" - Dr Nupur Gupta
If you do experience any of these symptoms, consult your doctor immediately, advises Dr Basu.
"“Excessive bleeding and cramps and other problems should not be ignored and a gynaecologist should be consulted. Taking unsupervised medication can be dangerous as a serious disease may be masked and diagnosis delayed.”" - Dr SN Basu
‘What Are Some Other Guidelines to Keep in Mind?’
According to Dr Basu, women who are under the care of physicians or other specialists should stay away from pills of this kind. In case of a problem where they seem like the only option, it’s best to consider a senior and experienced gynaecologist, she advises.
Dr Gupta adds,
"“If you have taken an emergency pill or have irregular periods then you should be careful about taking such a pill. It won’t prove to be extremely helpful, that’s for sure.”" - Dr Nupur Gupta‘Lastly, If I Absolutely Need to Delay My Period, What do I Do?’
Just consult a doctor, it really is a no-brainer. But if that bit of advice isn’t sufficient, here’s the stamp of a doctor’s credibility on it
"“Consult a gynaecologist first. This is important because women with long or irregular cycles may be unaware that they are pregnant and take the medicine unknowingly.”" - Dr SN Basu
While period-related problems might truly become debilitating for several women, it is still best to let your menstrual cycle be. Instead, work on pleasing the ovary gods, get some dark chocolate in your system, and most importantly, let it just flow, sister.
(Rosheena Zehra is a published author and media professional. You can find out more about her work here.)
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