The details are revealed by our expert, obstetrician-gynecologist Natalia Artikova.
In fact, the focus is not new. Since the late 60s of the last century, an extended regimen of COCs (combined oral contraceptives) has been used to treat certain hormone-dependent female diseases. For half a century, enough evidence has accumulated about the safety of the method, in 2003 it was officially approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) – a recognized international expert in the field of drug safety. Today, every woman who has no contraindications to the use of COCs can regulate her cycle herself and avoid menstruation.
Awareness of this fact in the medical environment did not happen immediately. By and large, it still has not happened to the end: doctors “not gynecologists” find it difficult to perceive such information, hormone phobia is generally a big problem in domestic medicine. But ordinary female users are actively introducing the “extended regimen”, or “menstruation on demand” into life. Long-distance travel, a wedding, military and especially navy service, active sports with many competitions, a business with a tight schedule that is scheduled six months in advance, an operation or an injury with limited mobility – life is full of situations when menstrual bleeding greatly complicate the already difficult fate of women. Girls cancel their periods, but at the same time they are still afraid: what if I go against nature, what if a terrible punishment will befall me sooner or later? Won’t get it! You don’t go against nature, you go back to it.
How dangerous is this
When newborn sea turtles take their first ever steps on the hot sand, their heads turn in synchrony to the brightest part of the horizon. For thousands of years, the shining horizon line meant only one thing – the ocean. Light is reflected from the water, the ocean is life, we go into the light – we will live. In the 21st century, ocean beaches are entangled in a network of comfortably lit trails and buildings. And the light, reinforced by centuries of instinct, now turns out to be not life, but death for the baby turtles. Evolutionary mismatch: traits that have developed in one environment are detrimental in another.
So women found themselves in the 21st century in the role of “turtles crawling into the light.” About 100-200 years ago, menstruation began in a girl at the age of 13-14. And soon after that, they tried to urgently fuse the girl in marriage. And then pregnancy, breastfeeding, the next pregnancy, new lactation … At the age of 40-45, menopause occurred. During the entire reproductive life, no more than 100 menstruations occurred. In any human community where contraception is not commonly used, menstruation is a very rare event.
However, the world has changed. A lady of the 21st century is not going to give birth at 18, doubts the need for even two children, breastfeeds little or does not feed at all, and the average age of menopause has moved to 52. A modern woman experiences about 300-400 cycles before retirement – ovulation and menstruation. The payoff came immediately. Everything that used to be considered a “disease of nuns” went to the masses – uterine fibroids, endometriosis, mastopathy, ovarian cancer … Therefore, scientists decided to “remember everything”. Well, if not all, then at least the fact that menstruation in itself does not bring any benefit to the body, but is a by-product of the reproductive cycle. This means that they can be canceled – without harm, even with some significant health benefits.
How to cancel menstruation
In Russia, only one drug “for a flexible prolonged regimen of oral contraceptives” is officially registered. If you use it, then you can set the schedule yourself. To delay the “temporary nuisance”, any monophasic contraceptive (pills, ring or patch) can also be used if used without interruption for seven hormone-free days. And from packs of COCs, in which there are 28 tablets, remove four placebo pills and immediately start taking a new package. True, if you have not used hormonal contraception before, but now you have gathered immediately according to an extended scheme (for the sake of a vacation!), then the details should be discussed with the gynecologist: if your own cycle, for example, is shorter than the standard 28 days or menstruation is longer than four days, then it is possible all sorts of nuances.
Do you understand ladies? This is another level of your independence: you can set yourself an individual cycle, for example 42+7, 48+4, 63+7, 72+4 and many other variations. The body often itself “tells” what interval between periods is optimal for it, by means of “signals” in the form of spotting spotting: for someone this happens after two “missed” menstruations, for someone after five. So it’s time to take a four- or seven-day break.
Minuses? It has been proven that they are not, if you generally tolerate COCs well. Pros? Active professional, academic or personal life, reduced blood loss, reduced economic costs of personal care products. And the most important plus: if there is some kind of hormone-dependent gynecological problem: endometriosis, algomenorrhea, menstrual migraine, then with this mode it will not bother you.