There are two categories of contraception – hormonal and non-hormonal. Hormonal contraception works by adding hormones to your body to prevent ovulation. Non-hormonal contraception either prevents ovulation, gives you ‘safe’ days or acts as a barrier method (ie condoms).
When you have added hormones into the mix you might notice some changes in your cycle. This could be irregular bleeding, spotting between periods, lighter, heavier or an absent flow.
In this blog, we are going to look at the different hormonal contraception methods and note down some ways your period might be affected.
While some of this blog is based on our own experience, the rest is from online research. We always suggest that when you are thinking about contraception that you research yourself and speak with your own GP about what is right for you.
How Different Contraception Might Affect Your Period
The combination pillThe combination pill is one you take for 28 days then have a 7-day break before moving on to the next pill packet. Here are a few ways it could affect your period
- If you miss a day or a few days you might experience spotting between pill breaks. This might not be the right method if you are forgetful!
- Around 2 in 10 pill users find that in the first 2 months they have a breakthrough bleed. For 1 in 10, this lasts 3 months
- The pill may help with heavy bleeding and reduce it to a more normal flow
- When you take the pill you don’t ovulate. This means that when you stop taking it you might notice your period is delayed as normal ovulation gets back on track
The hormonal IUD
The IUD is a tiny T shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. This device releases progestin and helps to prevent pregnancy. Here are a few ways it may impact your period:
- Mirena coil can decrease heavy bleeding after 3 months
- 20% of women stop having periods altogether after 1 year (2)
- Mirena coil may help to reduce severe menstrual pain
The patch delivers synthetic oestrogen and progestogen hormones to the body in order to prevent pregnancy. It can also have an effect on your period.
- Bleeding between periods is common in the first few months of using the patch (1)
- The patch may help with heavy and painful periods
The implant is a small device that is inserted into your arm. It releases hormones to help prevent pregnancy. Here’s how this little implant might impact your period.
- Bleeding can last longer for some during the first few months of use
- On average, users of the implant tend to bleed or spot for 7 days in the month for the first 3 months
- Periods may become heavier, lighter or stop altogether. While no period sounds like a dream it might cause you to stress each month thinking there’s an unplanned pregnancy on the cards! (3)
How hormonal contraception affects periods – a wrap-up
It is really important to consider how your period might be affected by hormones. After all, your period is a great indication of your overall health and can signal issues. Take your time to research how hormonal contraception might impact your period and weigh up the pros and cons.