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August 17, 2011 6:18 AM   Subscribe

I don't want to have periods ever again. Over a decade I got used to not having to deal with it and now its rather cumbersome.

I started Depo when I was 18, it quickly led to me not having any periods or spotting at all. I stayed on it till I was 28, when I learned that bone thinning was a real issue. I have since learned that I do in fact have some bone thinning so I can't use Depo anymore. Boo.

I started the ring immediately after Depo and changed it a bit early and never menstruated. Then after that I went through a rather long celibate period and decided to get off birth control. My periods resumed that month. I don't know how to explain this, but having gone a decade without, it seemed rather appaling and unneccesary to deal with all this blood 1/4 of my waking life. I got back on the ring, but my periods won't stop. I change it every 21 days now and have for about 7 months now. I still bleed for maybe two days pretty substantially, right about day 20 and day 21 of having it in. Its almost like I've reset my schedule.

I've always felt very fertile, I can't explain it. I just feel it, my mom said everytime she decided to have a kid she was pregnant in less than a month, so its genetic too. My body wants to make babies or bleed, I just don't.

What can I do to stop the bleeding? Should I change the ring even sooner for a little bit? Alternative birth control options that would do the trick would be grand. I am especially interested in Mirena.
posted by stormygrey to Health & Fitness (31 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Continuous birth control will do the trick. In addition to the pills marked specifically for continuous use, many others will work -- talk with your doctor.
posted by Forktine at 6:26 AM on August 17, 2011


IANAD, I don't even like Scrubs, but there are a few studies completed recently that suggest bone loss during Depo Provera use is reversed after use ceases. Ask your doctor about them. When was your bone density last measured?
posted by Trivia Newton John at 6:32 AM on August 17, 2011


Do you use/have you thought about using a menstrual cup? It really and truly changed my life. I went from having periods be THE THING WHICH CONTROLLED MY LIFE to having them just be this thing that happens and makes it slightly annoying to have sex. Just pop it in and forget it. Make one of your twice-a-day cleanings happen in the shower, and you really only have to deal with it once a day. Amazing.
posted by phunniemee at 6:37 AM on August 17, 2011 [9 favorites]


[This is a response from an anonymous commenter.]
I was in your exact shoes. Depo for a decade, happy happy no bleeding no worries, and then BAM! Osteopenia, no more Depo. At first I tried a couple of different BC pills continuously, but both of the ones I tried still left me bleeding a lot, and my gynecologist at the time (a woman!) was highly unsympathetic and told me "every woman has to deal with some bleeding" and basically that I needed to get over myself and suck it up. I refused to accept that, and so should you. Eventually I got another doctor who found me another BC pill that I take continuously and I'm blessedly bleed-free.

It's true that taking pills every day is a bit of a pain compared to getting a shot in the butt every three months or changing a ring every few weeks, but I don't care because YAY NO BLEEDING!

So talk to your doctor about continuous BC, as Forktine suggested, and if your doctor is reluctant, or talks down to you, or tells you to get over it -- find another doctor. It's the 21st century. There's no medical reason women should have to bleed every month if they don't want to, any more than men have to "just live with" erectile dysfunction when there are solutions available to help.

Good luck!
posted by cortex at 6:57 AM on August 17, 2011 [3 favorites]


You might want to look into getting a Mirena IUD. This link says that "After 3 months use, the average blood loss is 85% less, and by 12 months the flow is reduced by 97% every cycle [2]. About one third of women using the IUS will not have any periods at all." I don't have any bleeding now -- I have to look for other clues that I'm having my period.
posted by amarynth at 6:58 AM on August 17, 2011 [5 favorites]


My Wifey is a huge advocate of Mirena -- she had some spotting in the beginning, but I don't think she's had any period in years. She had it put in in her late thirties, now in her mid-forties, and has had it replaced once at the five-year mark. Other than that, it has required little to no care at all, other than the usual checkups and so forth. Also, she has had no sexual or physical side-effects either, as opposed to her experience with oral/injected/etc birth control. If you memail me, I can maybe forward your info to her for more questions.

To anyone who may be concerned that I'm disclosing Wifey's private info, do not worry: she will tell these things to my relatives at a family reunion, strangers on the street, and my coworkers at company picnic. She likes to talk, that one does...
posted by AzraelBrown at 6:59 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok Azrael, let me ask YOU something. Since I'm not shy and you don't seem to be either. Can you feel it? If so, is there a particular position that hits it more?
posted by stormygrey at 7:02 AM on August 17, 2011


When it's first installed, the "string" is noticeable, but the string eventually works its way into a place that's out-of-the-way, so to speak. This maybe last a couple days. The doctor had said that if the string is still a problem after a few days they can trim it down a little, or it might be a sign that things are out of place. I wasn't in her life when she had the first one installed, but since the replacement was put in a couple years ago I haven't noticed anything.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:09 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I should add -- "noticeable" didn't mean painful or interfering with sex at all. There was a brief "what was that -- oh yeah..." and then things continued as planned.
posted by AzraelBrown at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2011


I've just had Mirena put in. I'm still in the "spotting" phase which is very annoying but varies between people. Neither me nor my partner can feel it or anything different regarding it. Raise that issue with your gyno and see how they address it. Mine said she keeps the strings at a length that allows them to kind of lie down to the side and they should not be felt.
posted by amanda at 7:14 AM on August 17, 2011


I plan on having my Mirena replaced next spring, and after the first spotting phase, haven't had a period since having it put in.

As to "feeling" it - I do occasionally check to see if the strings are still there, usually after seeing a commercial for it and thinking "hey, I should probably check that." My doctor trimmed them after insertion and warned me that after things shifted they may need trimmed a second time but that didn't happen. I've asked my husband if he ever notices it, and frankly I think 95% of the time we both just forget it's there. LOVE IT. (And like Azarel's wife, I will shout it from the rooftops because I love it so much. Seriously, I should get a commission.)

I do get what I call my "fake periods" - boobs are tender, stereotypical salt/sweet craving, some mood swings. But considering I used to have crippling cramps and headaches, the lack of bleeding is just a bonus. (As a data point, some doctors may give you grief if you haven't had kids yet. I don't have kids, nor do I plan to. Just know that you might have to shop around a bit to find the right doctor to do the install.)
posted by librarianamy at 7:25 AM on August 17, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have a Mirena, but I am one of those people who spotted pretty continuously for the first several months of having it inserted, so keep in mind that it might get worse before it gets awesome.
posted by padraigin at 7:26 AM on August 17, 2011


Adding my experience to the IUD suggestion - after six months, my periods were gone. It's been that way for the better part of five years now, and I never ever want them back, ever. Which means I'm definitely going to get another IUD for the next five years. Hope you find something that works for you!
posted by harujion at 7:27 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I take Yasmin continuously and the only irritating part is having to pay a co-pay every three weeks instead of four. (Can we have our free birth control now?)

I do end up having a period two to three times a year. I start spotting, go off the pill for a week, have a little bit of bleeding. It's way better than before.
posted by sugarfish at 7:28 AM on August 17, 2011


I take normal (i.e. non-continuous) birth control pills and I don't bleed at all during my week off. This could happen for you too.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:31 AM on August 17, 2011


[This is a reply from another anonymous commenter.]
I have a Mirena and love it. My periods were incredibly light and on/off for the first couple of months, and I haven't had one now in a about a year.

I never had bad pms symptoms and I don't have any now (it's possible I've stopped ovulating, which does happen to some women on the Mirena). I was nervous at first because of the hormones but I was so sick of the extra long periods from the copper IUD, and my gynecologist was really reassuring about the actual rate of negative side effects, that I decided to try it.

Without a condom, my boyfriend could feel the strings for the first couple of months, and occasionally by some combination of their movement and ours it would be uncomfortable/poky on him. We'd just pause, I'd reach up and push them to the side of my cervix, and it would be fine. After a while the strings get soft so even when he does feel them, he says it's not unpleasant.

It hurts to put in if you haven't had kids, but if your insurance covers it, it is so definitely worth trying.
posted by cortex at 7:41 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm on month 5 with my Mirena and I still get week long periods. I'm hoping this will stop in time, because the only reason I'm on the Mirena is to manage my endometriosis.

Statistics are in favor, yay!, but I tend to always be the unlucky odd-one-out in these situations.
posted by lydhre at 7:41 AM on August 17, 2011


nthing Mirena. i absolutely love mine. i spotted for about six weeks, and now my periods are basically gone - maybe some very light spotting here and there.
posted by woodvine at 8:13 AM on August 17, 2011


I'm on a monophasic pill (Reclipsen, forget what it's a generic for) that I take continuously. When I started, my NP told me that after a while I'd start having some breakthrough bleeding, and at that point I should stop the pill for four days and then restart. She said that these breakthroughs would get further and further apart until they disappeared. To my dismay, though, I seem to have plateaued at about eight weeks between breakthroughs. I'm planning to ask at my annual in a couple months whether switching to a stronger pill might help, but for now I'll just say that your mileage may vary on the continuous-pill approach.
posted by ootandaboot at 8:16 AM on August 17, 2011


Well...I love my Mirena, too, because it's amazing to not have to think about birth control ever, but my periods have never stabilized after nearly three years on it. The flow is definitely lessened, but they're very unpredictable. I'll go a couple months without, and then spot for sometimes three or four weeks at a time. That particular benefit never happened for me. It's typical to lose your period; it's also typical not to.

Just saying, it's not guaranteed that Mirena will do what you want if your primary goal is to stop your periods.
posted by peachfuzz at 8:20 AM on August 17, 2011


with Mirena my periods got heavier and longer so it doesn't always go as planned. And after a bout of extremely energetic "conversatin'" Mr Wilder had scratches so we had it removed. YMMV
posted by Wilder at 8:44 AM on August 17, 2011


You may be interested in NovaSure - endometrial ablation. I haven't done it myself, but a friend of mine did and is really happy. It is absolutely permanent birth control that stops periods completely (but doesn't involve early menopause, hysterectomy, or hormones). I's definitely not for everyone, but if you don't want kids then it may be an option.
posted by acridrabbit at 9:40 AM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another vote for the Mirena IUD. I got mine in two years ago and I will never go back to another form of birth control. I spotted for a month after insertion (I haven't had children by the way, and it didn't hurt that bad -- it was certainly uncomfortable but not unbearable), had the most insane period of my life, and then haven't had a period since. It is awesome. Nothing to think about or remember, no periods, and its good for 5 years. I highly recommend it.
posted by danielle the bee at 9:47 AM on August 17, 2011


Not to derail, because this is about Mirena, but I had the NovaSure procedure this past May to deal with my continuous bleeding. It stopped for about 6 weeks but then resumed. Two of my friends who did NovaSure only experienced temporary relief, as well. I actually came in here to find out if Mirena might be a solution for me. My point being, YMMV whatever you try. Rats.
posted by probably not that Karen Blair at 11:02 AM on August 17, 2011


In previous questions about IUDs and BC, IUD Divas has been recommended. I found it a useful site, when considering the mirena.
posted by annsunny at 11:15 AM on August 17, 2011


I take Loestrin 24 and haven't had a period in the three years I've taken it...supposedly a high percentage of women on it don't menstruate. Bonus! Something to ask your doc about maybe.
posted by agregoli at 1:09 PM on August 17, 2011


I'm into my 8th year of Mirena IUD and I have had a regular period every single month since I've had it. My periods are usually much lighter than they used to be, but they last about a week.
posted by goshling at 1:18 PM on August 17, 2011


I was in the exact same position as you - on depo for a decade and stopped over bone thinning concerns. I know people are evengelical about IUDs but I was VERY nervous about the pain associated with the insertion and didn't want to have to remember to take a pill every day. I ended up getting the implant and asked this question about it. After a couple of initial irrecgular periods, and a few small bouts of subsequent spotting, my body seems to be settling down now. No more breakouts and a few weeks ago I had a light spotting for about one day. I expect to be fully period and spotting free pretty much from here on out. So I'm pretty happy with the implant at this point. Something to consider.

I also tried the ring and the patch and was underwhelmed by both though I guess the patch wasn't all that bad.
posted by triggerfinger at 4:05 PM on August 17, 2011 [1 favorite]


For all of the birth control options that promise some people will experience no periods, I know of at least one person who wasn't so lucky. This may or may not be you. So I recommend trying each option (I guess you might as well start with the cheapest), and seeing what works: taking the pill with no breaks, the implant, or a mirena. For what it's worth, my friend who had the arm implant said she had four years with no periods (obviously not with the same implant the whole time - she did get it replaced after a couple of years) and then suddenly for no reason she started getting spotting, until she had one continuous period for months.

Personally I take the pill with no breaks, but once a year or so I get a period anyway. Weird.

I also use the menstrual cup when I do bleed, and it is seriously awesome. I shower twice a day when I have my period and clean it then, and the rest of the time I can forget it's there.
posted by lollusc at 6:33 PM on August 17, 2011


I had an Implanon arm implant for a little over 3 months. I spotted pretty continuously for 3 months and then bled for the last 2 weeks I had it. I would have had it removed earlier, but I was interstate at the time.
I had previously successfully skipped periods for years at a time on the pill, but the last time I tried the pill (after having the Implanon removed) it left me an emotional mess to the point I would burst into tears at sappy TV ads or emotional songs on the radio.
I'd love to be period free and am immensely envious of those who are period free on Implanon and Mirena. I've considered switching back to the pill or to Nuvaring specifically to skip periods, but the cost, convenience & lack of side effects of Mirena have held me back. Unfortunately it's all a gamble finding whatever works best for you and sometimes you have to compromise.
I wish you luck on your quest!
posted by goshling at 8:05 PM on August 17, 2011


Thanks everyone for the great, varied responses. I have an appt. with an actual gyn. (rather than my usual nurse practioner, their practices only places cooper IUD's). I will discuss Mirena and the implants as I have never been very good at remembering to take pills at the same time each day, much less every day.

I appreciate all your inputs and was tempted to mark every single answer as "best"!
posted by stormygrey at 10:25 AM on August 26, 2011


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