The FDA has approved a new birth control pill designed to put an indefinite end to a woman’s monthly periods.
Called Lybrel, it’s the first such pill to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for continuous use. When taken daily, the pill can halt women’s menstrual periods indefinitely and prevent pregnancies.
Unlike false periods (withdrawal bleeding) that occur when a woman takes a placebo for one week after 21 days on a regular hormonal BC pill, this pill is designed to dismiss all need for that monthly bleeding. Many women, I imagine, are thrilled to pieces. Not many of us, if any, enjoy bleeding for a few days each month. Even fewer of us enjoy the other symptoms that coincide with that function such as tender breasts, cramping, bloating, irritability, headaches, and so forth. I know some ladies who have such horrific periods that they are bedridden for days in agony, pained beyond measure from cramping and other aches. For those women, I can understand a desire to cease what seems to be a terrible time of life that repeats over and over until menopause finally sets in (which I hear isn’t all that fun).
Here’s one oddity about this “new amazing advancement”: birth control pills that are on the market right now could be taken indefinitely without the one week placebo substitute. Withdrawal bleeding does not need to occur since hormones are kept in balance and the uterus lining remains thin for as long as the pill is consistently taken. Remember, one doesn’t have a true menstrual cycle while on the pill; it’s a fake period for (so far as I can tell) appearances only. The second link above describes this better than I can. So to women who take the pill to “regulate your period”: it doesn’t seem to regulate your true cycle at all. It works to stop your cycle and instead gives you a monthly bleeding session to make you feel more normal. It’s a bit sad, when I think about it.
Another concern I have about this new pill is on the tails of a general concern many women deal with while taking other BC. How do you know if/when you become pregnant while on the pill? They aren’t 100% effective. Pregnancies still occur. With Lybrel, wouldn’t it take longer to detect? Couldn’t there be serious consequences inflicted on the baby if one becomes pregnant while on this “amazing pill”?
In case it matters, I am not a fan of hormonal birth control. I am blessed with easy, regular periods and find a joy and not shame in my natural body cycle. I don’t want to mess with it just because of convenience or the illusion that life will be easier and more free with hormones adjusting what my body already does naturally. Some women may have a motivation for taking this, but I don’t like the sound of it. I am a woman and my periods are part of that womanhood, which I love.