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Your Seven Day Break on the Pill is Bogus—Here’s Why

The seven-day break built into the schedule of the contraceptive pill isn’t backed by medical science—it is instead from a gynaecologist in the ‘60s who, by mimicking the natural rhythms of a woman’s cycle as closely as possible, was trying to persuade the pope to let the Catholic Church adopt the birth control form.

Periods on the Pill

Women on the Pill, the most popular method of birth control, know how it goes: take the Pill for three weeks and then either switch to a sugar pill or forgo taking any tablets during the fourth week.

During the fourth week, women on the Pill will bleed; however, it’s important to note that the ‘period’ you get while on the Pill isn’t a real period. It’s called “withdrawal bleeding,” which refers to the withdrawal experienced from taking a week off of the Pill’s hormones. The drop-in hormone levels cause the lining of the uterus to shed, which is what leads to period-like bleeding.

Some women say they appreciate the bleeding as an indication that they’re not pregnant; however, Pill periods aren’t actually a guarantee of that. Monthly bleeding on the Pill is just a reaction to no longer having contraceptive chemicals in your system.

How did we get here?

If the period experienced by women doesn’t fulfill the functions of a period, is it medically necessary to bleed every month?

Not according to the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, who made headlines this week when it announced about the Pill, “there is no health benefit from the seven-day hormone-free interval.”

In fact, the origin of the Pill’s off week comes from John Rock, one of the gynecologists who was involved with the development of the contraceptive. A devout Catholic, Dr. Rock built in the break in order to please the Catholic Church and, he hoped, earn the endorsement of the pope at the time.

“In the Catholic Church the rhythm method is an accepted form of birth control,” said Sophia Yen, M.D., a gynecologist in California and founder of Pandia Health, to Glamour UK. “So his thought was that if he could make women’s periods rock solid and regular, it would make this method easier to practice [and more appealing to the Church].”

His plan didn’t work—the pope didn’t go for it and ultimately decided the Church wouldn’t support Catholics using birth control of any kind—but nevertheless, the built-in breaks to allow for a monthly period stuck.

In other words, the reason women on the Pill have been having regular periods month after month for the past 60 years is because one man was trying to please another man—and it didn’t even work.

It’s ok to not take a break

For many women, taking the Pill continuously may actually have some benefits. The sudden drop in estrogen levels experienced during the off week can lead to headaches. Continuous use can also reduce acne and eliminate the possibility of painful periods.

It might seem obvious, but most women would happily skip monthly bleeding if they knew it was safe, a survey conducted by Pandia Health in 2018 revealed.

So here we are in 2019—a place where the myth about a “build-up of menstrual blood” when you don’t have a period is still widely accepted and our Pill-period schedules are dictated by a misguided and long-deceased doctor.

Menstruation is closely tied to the concept of female identity and fighting the stigma associated with not having one requires cutting through many layers of internalized attitudes about femininity. The word “unnatural” comes up a lot when discussing medically preventing your period. Yet there are several accepted forms of birth control on the market that do just that, like the hormonal IUD and the shot.

Much of the conversation around eliminating menstruation focuses on women who have debilitating periods, and while it’s important to continue research in this area specifically for women who need to control their painful and heavy periods, it’s also worth considering those who are simply inconvenienced by their periods and would rather not have them.

“I love to travel, I love to spend time outdoors. I love not having to worry about a period,” said one woman to The Atlantic.

With FSRH’s new report, she can rest assured that it is safe to do so.


See also: Women’s Health Watch: In Stirrups

Is safe sex becoming less relevant for college students?

Bearina IUD concept aims to make IUDs cheap and accessible

Maxi Pads

Improving Women’s Health, One Period at a Time

Maxi pads have come a long way: Is it time to ditch your tampons?

As Glamour magazine has put it, 2017 was a “good year to be a woman with a period” and we can’t agree more.

Much has been done to de-stigmatize a natural bodily function that affects roughly half of the world’s population: from state legislations requiring schools to stock feminine hygiene products to celebrities taking a stand on period shaming.

One forward-thinking feminine hygiene product company is hoping to take things even further. Now when the society is ready to have an open discussion about periods, they’re springing into action to improve women’s health during menstruation. After all, some reproductive health specialists agree that for many women menstrual cramps are almost as bad as having a heart attack.

Choosing feminine hygiene products is like balancing your diet

Genial Day is on a mission to educate American women on the new breakthroughs in sanitary napkin technology. They have re-engineered a conventional maxi pad and wholeheartedly believe that young women should give it a try.

“Choosing feminine hygiene products is like balancing your diet: the occasional hamburger won’t kill you, but you know you’re risking your health if fast food is all you eat”, says Vilmante Markeviciene, the founder of Genial Day and a mom of a teenage daughter. “Wearing a tampon once in a while is OK; not paying attention to the ingredients of your maxi pads when you’re in a hurry is OK; however, whenever you can, you should seek healthier alternatives.”

Modern maxi pads have come a long way

There’s a reasonable suspicion that conventional pads may contain questionable, unpleasant, and outright toxic ingredients, such as dioxin, formaldehyde, acetone and heavy metals.

“I have suffered from irritation, rash, and painful periods for years”, admits Vilmante. “I’ve traveled the world—from the United Kingdom to Japan—searching for answers. Unable to find a perfect sanitary napkin, I’ve started researching fabrics, got acquainted with the latest innovations, and assembled a team of manufacturing experts to create a better menstrual pad.”

Vilmante’s persistence has paid off. She was able to patent her innovation—a menstrual pad with an anion strip. The strip features silver ions and Tourmaline—a semi-precious gemstone known for its healing properties.

The new generation organic pads were an instant hit in Europe. GENIAL DAY® products (distributed under the name of GENTLE DAY®) are available in 15 European countries and loved by over a million women.

Menstrual pads have come a long way, therefore, young women who may have written off maxi pads in the past may want to take another look.

“It’s not like modern menstrual pads are made of wood pulp as it was the case in the 1800s”, laughs Vilmante. “My teenage daughter loves them… and that says a lot.”

GENIAL DAY® pads and pantiliners are made using the highest quality materials and have been tested and certified by numerous international entities, including Oeko-Tex®100, Made for Health, Leaping Bunny and Vegetarian Society, to name a few.

GENIAL DAY® offers convenient subscription options (and gifts to their loyal subscribers). If monthly commitment isn’t your thing, you can order their products on the website as you need them. Either way—no more last-minute grocery store runs!

5 Reasons why every woman should try GENIAL DAY® maxi pads

  1. GENIAL DAY® feminine hygiene products are free of toxic chemicals and reproductive system disruptors.
  2. Anion strip with silver and Tourmaline neutralizes unpleasant odor, prevents bacterial multiplication and promotes general wellbeing.
  3. Highest-quality super-absorbent polymer made in Japan absorbs several hundred times its own weight and is biodegradable.
  4. Ventilated base film allows your skin to breath. As a result, your skin is not exposed to excessive warmth, it won’t sweat, and you won’t develop a rash.
  5. Non-toxic glue. GENIAL DAY® uses food-grade glue that contains no toxic chemicals; they are safe, won’t cause allergies, and are environmentally friendly.

For more information, visit https://genialday.com.