birth control pills

page updated: 31-Mar-2004

I don’t know why birth control pills are all aligned to 28 day cycles. For most brands, all of the pills are exactly the same, and don’t modulate your monthly cycle except that you bleed when you stop taking them. I assume the people who designed birth control pills just picked the average cycle length, which was conveniently an exact number of weeks long (4 not 4 and 3 days). It would make sense to me to make custom pill packs as long as a woman’s usual cycle, as you would think she would be cycling that frequently for some reason or other, but maybe pills wouldn’t work that way. If a woman’s personal natural cycle length wasn’t important, you’d think that pill makers would at least devise a pleasantly long cycle like 6 or 7 weeks, so that women on the pill could enjoy not only lighter periods, but less frequent periods, and be the further envy of other women. Again, I don’t know if this would actually work. I need to find a doctor who can properly explain pills to me, in more detail than "What the pill does, is stop you from getting pregnant…" Why, for example, does missing a pill in the middle of a pack allow for possible ovulation, when not taking pills during the week between packs doesn't?

Some folks are now claiming it is safe (even preferable) to take packs of pills back-to-back and skip the period week in between. How come, if you can take pills for any length of continuous time, can you not stop any time? Why do you have to finish the 3 week units or risk pregnancy? What is so magic about 3 weeks of hormones? Why couldn't I skip every other week of pills if I felt like it? Or 3 days every 30 days sort of like my old cycle? This idea has a whole page to itself now, under bleeding.

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