When to resume active BC pills?
September 12, 2006 8:55 AM   Subscribe

When should I resume my active birth control pills?

I'm not panicking or anything, just curious and hoping my question isn't that weird. I started taking Loestrin 1/20 two months ago for birth control and the first month, I bled for three weeks straight. So I stopped taking it, waited for it all to stop, and then resumed the active pills (at the advice of my doctor). This month everything was fine. I ran out of the active pills on Saturday, and wondered when to start them again (Loestrin is the pill that gives you 24 days of active therapy so you're only supposed to have 4-day periods). I read in the huge information booklet that I'm supposed to resume them the day after I run out of inactive pills, but that will be Thursday and I haven't started my period yet (it's Tuesday) but I'm anticipating it starting very soon.
The booklet also mentioned the famous Sunday start, so I'm wondering if I should wait til then or go for Thursday?
Any advice? I'm going out of town next week and don't want to be on my period, and I shouldn't be, but I also don't want to mess myself up!
That's my main concern, and why I feel silly calling my doctor to ask her.
Any help would be great! Thanks!
posted by slyboots421 to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I don't know about Loestrin (i'm on Marvelon, a regular 21-days on/7 off cycle), but I would start your next pack when you're supposed to, otherwise you won't be protected against getting pregnant. If you're still having your period when you're due to take a pill, take it anyway - you're period will stop pretty quick. (You might have some spotting, however) You can't "mess yourself up" by starting a pack too soon, but you can become pregnant if you start it too late. You can always stop a period, and hence reschedule the next, by starting the next pack of pills. It's probably not something i'd do regularly, but i've done it for special events with no ill effects to date.

Disclaimer - IANAD, obviously. Personally, I'd just follow your doc's advice and failing that, do what it says in the package.
posted by cgg at 9:05 AM on September 12, 2006

Take it when you run out of inactive pills, whether you've started your period yet or not. You may not have a period this month, or it may be very short, but the best way to get your body on the cycle you want is to take your pills as directed.

By the way, if you're having problems with breakthrough bleeding while taking the Loestrin active pills, you may want to try switching to a more traditional 21-active, 7-inactive type of pill for a few months. This will get your body used to the hormones in a more "traditional" cycle, which may decrease breakthrough bleeding. Then, once you have that working for you, you can try switching back to the 24-day active pills. IANAD, but it worked for a friend of mine who was having problems with breakthrough bleeding.
posted by Amy Phillips at 9:13 AM on September 12, 2006

It's a bit confusing. After you stopped your pills did you start a new pack or resume the old one? If you resumed the old one, there probably haven't been enough days for your uterus to rebuild its lining.

If you started a new pack then you will likely get your period. There is no rule that says you have to have completed (or even started) your period before starting the new pack. And unfortunately there isn't a way to program the exact timing of your period - especially in the first few months of a new pill. Because you've already been on the inactive pills for a few days you will get your period - and hopefully it will end by the time you go away - but it may not.

You have to remember that the first 3-6 months on a new pill can be totally messed up. And continuing in spite of this is probably best.

If you want to do the sunday start that's ok, but if you go more than 5 days after the start of your period, your chances of ovulating this month increase enough that you need alternative contraception. Of course you actually haven't started your period yet, but the principle still exists.
posted by commissioner12 at 9:22 AM on September 12, 2006

Ask your pharmacist. They probably know more about these sorts of things than your doctor anyways.
posted by neckro23 at 9:48 AM on September 12, 2006

yep, take it when your inactive pills run out. otherwise you'll just be messing up the cycle you've started to establish.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:54 AM on September 12, 2006

What everyone else said. I regularly don't get my period until 4-5 days after I start taking the inactive pill, so I still have it when I take the active ones again. I'm also NAD, but I think that it just takes your body longer to adjust to the hormones than it does others. But yeah, don't mess with the timing of the pills unless your doctor tells you to, or you miss a pill or two (in which case you should follow the instructions on the insert that came with your prescription).
posted by echo0720 at 10:27 AM on September 12, 2006

Um, stay on your pill schedule or it won't work (for contraception). Not all women have a period when on birth control pills, and what you have is actually very little like a real menstrual period, anyway.

To repeat, stay on your pill schedule, or the pill won't work.

Also, you should feel free to call your doctor's office and ask to speak to the nurse when you have a question like this. The nurse can allay your concerns, and if there's an issue, can help get you into the office sooner rather than later.
posted by caitlinb at 5:28 PM on September 16, 2006

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