Global Health Asia-Pacific May 2022 May 2022 - Page 21

Can I put my period on hold ?

It ’ s doable and safe with a plan recommended by doctors

If that time of the month is looming and you ’ re anxious it could get in the way of an important meeting , no need to panic — you can now postpone your period .

In fact , women can safely delay menstruation for a month or even longer to suit their lifestyle needs by regulating hormones through birth control pills , explained Dr Sharifah Halimah Jaafar , a consultant obstretrician and gynaecologist at Dr Sharifah Women ’ s Clinic and Laparoscopic Surgery in Malaysia , in an interview with Global Health Asia- Pacific .
She said that business women and students often sought help to temporarily stop their periods to avoid the discomfort that would make it hard for them to work productively or take exams successfully . Mothers have also asked her to put off their daughters ’ menarche , or first menstruation , until they turned 12 or 13 because they ’ re considered too young and immature before that age .
Other women may simply want to stop their periods just to get some respite from the severe pain , heavy bleeding , or migraines that it causes .
“ If you can prolong the progesterone , that ’ s the most effective way to stop your period ,” said Dr Stasia Jhaveri , an obstetrician and gynaecologist at the Cleveland Clinic , on its website .
Progesterone , a key female hormone , is released in the body to get the uterus ready for pregnancy , but its levels drop when there ’ s no fertilised egg . When this happens , menstruation begins .
But don ’ t make the decision to stop your period lightly . Dr Jhaveri suggests that patients seek the advice of their doctor to choose the best way to do it , while offering a timeframe and a word of advice . “ With birth control pills specifically , it ’ s recommended that you have a period every three or four months to get rid of any additional tissue that is built up , otherwise it could lead to very irregular bleeding ,” she cautioned .
Other approaches for delaying menstruation include implanting an intrauterine device ( IUD ) that releases progesterone continuously so that women don ’ t have to think about taking pills regularly , placing a removable birth control patch on the stomach to control ovulation , and having high dose shots of progesterone every three months .
An IUD is an option for women who want to stop their periods for longer than one cycle , advised Dr Jhaveri . But “ the shot has the highest success of
stopping your periods long-term because it ’ s going to suppress the estrogen the most and suppress the buildup of tissue the most ,” she said . “ So , if somebody really needs to suppress their periods because of heavy flow or other problems , the shot has got one of the highest success rates .”
Shots , however , are also associated with a greater chance of side effects like bloating , mood changes , and weight gain . They also retain progesterone in the body for three months , unlike daily pills and weekly patches that can be stopped at any time , after which the hormone will be fully absorbed and eliminated from the body .
Online remedies , such as drinking lemon juice , salt water , or water with vinegar , as well as taking ibuprofen and the morning-after pill , unfortunately are not effective strategies and can be potentially harmful .
GlobalHealthAsiaPacific . com MAY 2022
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