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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Birth Control Question

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Author Topic: Birth Control Question
wildechild
Neophyte
Member # 109387

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Hello! I started birth control last month and, unsurprisingly, my period was weird because it was adjusting to the hormones. In short, it came a week before the inactive pills and continued into the first two days of inactive pills. I continued taking the pills throughout the rest of the pack. On the week of inactive pills after my period had ended I had sex and the condom leaked. As a precaution I took Plan B within 12 hours of the incident. My question is, if this happens in the future (my period comes early and I take take the inactive pills while off my period) am I protected from pregnancy during that time? I just don't see how the pills would stop me from ovulating if I was on the inactive ones so long after my period had stopped. Thanks in advance!
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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So, just so you know, if you are taking a combined birth control pill properly, there is never a need for Plan B, since a) it is less effective than your pill, and b) your pill is already doing the things Plan B does.

When your withdrawal bleed -- what "periods" on hormonal methods are called -- occurs has nothing to do with your pill's effectiveness. So long as you are taking your pills properly and in the right order, you are equally protected from pregnancy every day of your cycle, including during the placebo period.

I'm not sure I understand what you aren't getting about how the pill works for suppress ovulation, or why you think that the withdrawal bleed has any impact on that, so maybe you could try asking me more specifically about that, or try voicing your confusion in a different way?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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wildechild
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Member # 109387

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I'm sorry for the confusion. I guess I just assumed that your period had to coincide with the inactive pills for you to be protected on them. Obviously assumptions are not the most reliable source of medical information. So, to summarize your response, if I take the pill perfectly (which I do) then I am protected at all times even if I experience heavy withdrawal bleeding in place of my period. Thank you so much for your reply, my doctor didn't really explain to me how BC works when he prescribed it.
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Nope.

So, to hopefully clear that up for you, when you get a "period" while using the pill, it's called a withdrawal bleed instead, because that flow is effectively manufactured by the pattern of the pills and their hormones themselves. Unlike menstrual periods, it really isn't a reflection of your fertility cycle, just something that happens because the pills make it happen and a person is not pregnant. Does that help?

If you take your pill as directed, you have the level of effectiveness the pill provides, which is over 99% in one year of use. When you have your withdrawal bleed is just when you have your withdrawal bleed: your pill isn't any less or more effective at that time.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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wildechild
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Ok that makes sense. So the absence of an actual period was due to the fact that my withdrawal bleed was so heavy that there was nothing left to shed? I guess it doesn't really matter since you already answered my question about whether or not I was protected during that time. Thanks again!
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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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Well, the absence of an actual period because now that you are using the pill, its hormones give your body different signals, signals that don't tell it to ovulate and menstruate.

But withdrawal bleeds are still a shedding of the uterine lining, so yep, if you get one at a given time, getting another soon after isn't likely: same goes for if you have a lot of spotting.

--------------------
Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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