Birth control has come a long way since it was first introduced to the market. We went from birth control options that still gave us a monthly period to birth control that allowed us to have only four periods a year. And now there's a birth control that can suppress your cycles for an entire year. But how does “continuous” birth control work?
How extended cycle birth control stops your period
Extended cycle birth control works exactly as its name suggests. It extends your cycle, making the time between your periods longer. Seasonale and Seasonique, which were approved by the FDA in 2003 and 2006, extend users' cycles to 84 days (four times a year) by taking daily hormones. Users then take seven days of low dose or no dose hormones to get their period.
In 2007, Lybrel was approved, which is the first birth control pill to make your period go away for a year. Users have 365 days worth of pills that will balance their hormones and extend their cycle an entire year before they have a period again.
For those who have heavy cramping or heavy periods, these types of medications may be a good option, not to mention when you’re planning for a long trip, final exams, or any time when you just don’t want to be on your period. For those with endometriosis, online reviewers have complained about side effects and ineffectiveness, while many doctors recommend these types of birth control as a potential pain reliever. Either way, having a discussion with your doctor about what options will work best for you. But keep in mind that none of these birth control options protect against STDs.