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Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism
Health Vagina Sex Periods Std Feminism
Molly Longest / Her Campus

Can Periods be Optional?

Earlier this quarter, Her Campus UCSB was lucky enough to speak with Dr. Sophia Yen of Pandia Health about Vaginal Health. This topic is often overlooked and regarded as taboo, and those who menstruate are mostly left to their own devices to seek out answers. Our “Vagina Dialogues” with Dr. Yen however, was a refreshing open discussion. 

One such topic that many of us menstruators may not be aware of, is that we may not necessarily need to have monthly periods. Our periods always seem to come at the worst time: right in the middle of midterms and you’ll have the worst cramps of your life, or maybe your period arrives the night before that Hawaii trip. But, Dr. Yen discussed what she refers to as the #PeriodsOptional Movement. Sounds too good to be true? That’s what I thought. 

According to Dr. Yen, through birth control– either the ring or pill method– periods can be just that: optional. Hormonal birth controls can actually thin your uterine lining, causing you to lose less blood during your period, making your period lighter and less burdensome. 

You know that week in your birth control pills that you have your period? Those are placebo, A.K.A. sugar pills. In skipping that week of sugar pills and going directly to the new pack, your body will not know to have its period. For menstruators on the ring method, one can simply change out the ring every 4 weeks, or on the same day each month. According to Pandia Health, the ring has 35 days of hormones, meaning if changed monthly, your period will skip itself. 

Now, if you’re like myself, you may be wondering: is it safe? Well according to Dr. Yen, it is! As a society, we have been trained to think that those of us who can menstruate, need to have our periods each month, or the world as we know it will come to an end. However, one of the developers of the original birth control, Dr. John Rock put in the placebo week of pills, only in order to receive support from the Catholic Church. This was to suggest couples use the rhythm method (monitoring one’s fertility)  in tandem with birth control. All this to say, if Dr. Rock was not using this to persuade the church, women may have been skipping their periods for decades by now. 

If like me: a victim to the unbearable cramping, heavy flow and ridiculous cravings of the menstrual cycle, you may want to consider your choices in making your own period optional. Of course, I do want to recommend speaking with your doctor (As I plan to soon!) and making sure this is the right choice for you and your body. Here’s to happy vaginas!

Sophia Lovell is a third year Philosophy and English double major at UCSB. She is originally from San Diego, but embraces Isla Vista as her second home. Her passions include trying not to kill her houseplants, cold brew, and dismantling the patriarchy.
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