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4 Periods a Year: Is That Safe?

The commercial for Seasonale, a birth control pill, raves about getting only 4 periods a year. So what's the deal? Is that safe?

Birth control pills can either be monophasic, where you get the same amount of hormones each day, or triphasic, where you get a different amount of hormones over 3 weeks.

When you take a monophasic birth control pill, each 4 week supply contains 3 weeks of hormones and one week of sugar pills. So if you want, you can get your period every month by using as directed, or you can skip the week of sugar pills and start on the second pack of hormone pills. Seasonale makes things eaiser by skipping the sugar pills all together thus keeping Aunt Flo at bay for 3 months at a time.

When you're on any birth control pill, when you get your period, it isn't a real period because you're not actually releasing an egg (the pill stops you from ovulating). It's called a "pill period," and is a result of your body's reaction to withdrawing from the hormones. Having this kind of period once a month is just as safe as only having it 4 times a year, hence taking a pill like Seasonale.

Dear's Tip: Monophasic birth control might be right for you if you suffer from painful periods, excessive bleeding, bad PMS symptoms, or unbearable mood swings, but definitely consult your doctor before altering your prescriptions.


Join The Conversation
becksjeep23 becksjeep23 9 years
I have had horrible periods(severe cramps, HEAVY flow, clots) for about 2 years now. I finally had a hysteroscopic resection of a fibroid tumor that was bulging into my uterus. My Doctor thought that is what was causing the bad periods. Well, my first period after the surgery was a little bit better, but still limits me in what I can do.. I mean for 2 days I can't leave the house. i am starting a new job so any other procedures will have to wait. I started taking Jolessa(generic Seasonale).. I am on my 4th day of my first pack and for the last 3 days i have had pretty bad cramping on my left side and everytime i eat something i feel lousy.. I don't know if i should just wait a few weeks or if this is a bad sign..
nicolebfarmer nicolebfarmer 9 years
I had two packs of Seasonale and hated it. I took the last white pill 10 days ago and still no period. Anyone else have this happen?
euiduc euiduc 10 years
It is natural to have natural cycle of period and women should not interfere with the cycle of natural law by taking these kind of medications. Let me ask one thing! Is it okay to have a full moon every 3 months? Or is it okay to have sun light for 4 months out of the year? It will totally mess up the earth. That goes the same for us as microcosmic being. We are the small universe and should do our best to maintain the natural cycle.
mrscaru mrscaru 10 years
I hate having my period but I don't want to mess with nature this much. There are plenty of ways to ease the symptoms of PMS with diet and supplements - I know because I've done it. If you want to try it, go for it, but it sounds a little too scary for me.
ktjones ktjones 10 years
I believe there is a reason we have it monthly...not going to mess around with mother nature!!
MsWalton MsWalton 10 years
I heard about Seasonale a couple of years ago from my gyno and at the time, it was a pretty sweet deal. However, I'm one of those people who tends to get most of the side effects of a medication, so I'm not going to push my luck w/Seasonale, lol.
Phasekitty Phasekitty 10 years
I've been on this for years and I love it. I went from the shot to this and it's so much better- like fluffy, I had a lot of bad side effects from the shot too. But this is much different and I can't imagine going onto a regular monthly pill.
pinkdaisies pinkdaisies 10 years
I think that it may mess you up!
cassedy04 cassedy04 10 years
I was changed from ortho-evra to the 4-period a month seasonique last year (similar to seasonale, but different manufacturer) and i had to get off of it right away. i thought my pms symptoms were horrible as they were, but when i was on that i became a raging lunatic - happy one minute and yelling and crying the next. i had headaches all the time and lost sex drive. my best friend had experienced similar symptoms so i got off of it immediately - before i had finished the first pack. also, when i got off of this pill, i didn't get my period for two months.... and you thought it would be scary not to know you're pregnant while on the pill!? that was a nightmare. i know it's definitely not going to happen for everyone, and that the symptoms may have relaxed once i was on it for more than one pack, but i just wanted to share my story with all of you.
Daisy6264 Daisy6264 10 years
I'd be worried if I skipped one period.
absolut_lauren absolut_lauren 10 years
You should never mess with your body's natural rhythms. Sure, getting your period sucks, but it also lets you know that your body is functioning properly.
michstines michstines 10 years
I had wicked spotting on Seasonale and bailed on it. I tried to deal with it for a while but there's only so much you can take. Great idea, just didn't work for me.
kh312 kh312 10 years
it sounds a bit scary.who knows what it'll be doing to your system and hormones?
azuresugar azuresugar 10 years
I've been on the Depo Provera shot for 4 years now. I did take a year off to make sure I didn't have any negative side effects. I'm very fortunate because I've heard stories about bad reactions. I went on it because my periods were horrible, and it was very effective as birth control. I get my period a couple of times per year if that. It's not for everyone obviously, just like the other methods of birth control. One size doesn't fit all.
bugness bugness 10 years
I was on Seasonale for 9 months. The first three months were fine. I was happy and glad to not have monthly periods. And then during the 6th month (2nd pack of 3-month pills), I missed a pill one night. I took it the next day like you're supposed to when you miss one. And then the breakthrough period started and didn't end until a month later when I started the next pack. I thought I had a cyst, I thought I was maybe pregnant and having a miscarriage, I was in severe pain. i chalked it up to a fluke, but it happened again 3 months later. I had a breakthrough 3 weeks early. And THEN, my doctor told me that Seasonale isn't for everyone. I'm on Yaz now, which is for a shorter period. It has a few extra than normal monthly packs, so if I need to "schedule" my period, it's a lot easier.
Sara-C Sara-C 10 years
You can take most pills one pack after the other to skip your period. Just ask you doctor. I have been doing it for about 2 years now. I love it!!! It is great for special even't that come at the "wrong" time like vacations, weddings and so forth.
Penny4545 Penny4545 10 years
thank god someone finally explained this to me. i was always curious but worried about this. it seems like a miracle pill. starting to wonder if i should try it out.
sciencegirl sciencegirl 10 years
I believe Seasonique is a triphasic pill, like ortho-tricyclin, and has different hormone levels (this is just what I remember reading when I was researching my options) thus is not quite the same as Seasonale. If you're having a spotting problem, chances are the hormone levels aren't right for you. You can also take whatever pills you're on normally and do what the article mentions about skipping the reminder pills and going straight into the next month, but check with your insurance plan first: my insurance plan only covers 13 refills of birth control per year, so if I had done that I would essentially be paying out of pocket for 2 of my refills (and that's expensive!), but it fully covers Seasonale. Just something to think about
Fancy04 Fancy04 10 years
I never had this problem.
designergirl designergirl 10 years
I was on Seasonale for two years. It was good because I do have very severe PMS symptoms- I was getting a yeast infection every time I had my perios, as well as sever cramping. But after I was switched to Seasonique, the spotting was too annoying. The ring is working ok for now.
kikidawn kikidawn 10 years
I think this is a wonderful idea. I once read that when the scientists first designed birth control pills (in the '50s or '60s) there wasn't a "pill period" and women took the pill straight through the month with out any sugar pills (therefore no periods). Many women felt unsafe doing this so the scientists put in the "pill period" so that it would mimic a natural cycle. -- Dear could you see if you can verify that for me? I can't seem to find where I read it.
verily verily 10 years
I trust my doctor and she has me on 4 period plan in order to combat my severe endometriosis. If it weren't for birth control, my insides would be way worse than they already are. And I definitely don't want any more surgery to cut all the endometrial tissue and adhesions out. To those who reacted terribly to the pill, perhaps you should talk to your doctor about switching to a different dosage. On regular ortho-cyclen, I was nauseous day in and day out. So, I switched to lo-estrin and it was so much better. There's actually a version of pills (lybrel) that will stop your period altogether that just got approved by the FDA.
priceless priceless 10 years
I love seasonale I have been on it since it came out and I love the 4 periods a year thing. I have had no trouble at all. I did just switch to seasonique , no trouble so far its only been about a month though. Really if you have the option of fewer periods why not take it
katie225 katie225 10 years
sciencegirl has a very good point: getting the "pill period" is not the same as your real period, thus it's not an indicator of pregnancy! and i'd like to add that i heard somewhere that women aren't supposed to get many periods anyways since when we were evolving we were either pregnant or breast feeding most of the time. so periods are what happens when something doesn't go right (i.e., the egg doesn't get fertilized). just saying that's what i heard.
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