And it may take several tries to find the right pill. There's no go-to formula that will continuously suppress menstruation for most women. Seasonale, a relatively new pill taken 84 days in a row to get four periods a year, is the closest thing on the market. Rebecca Banks d'Andrea, a 32-year-old culinary student in New York, tried Seasonale. "I thought it was kinda cool," she says. "I didn't have to worry about carrying tampons around. But there's something about getting my period that I definitely like. It's just a reassurance that everything's going well."
Is there any reason to worry that things might not be? Critics of menstrual suppression do fear that the everyday risks associated with hormonal birth control—blood clots, heart attack, stroke, and a potential loss in bone density—will increase with continuous use of the pill. But proponents of the practice say we could be doing our bodies a favor, since nature never intended us to menstruate so often.
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"Is [skipping your period] natural? No, of course it isn't!" says Dr. Lauri Romanzi, a urogynecologist at Cornell University-New York Presbyterian Hospital. "But it's also unnatural for women to live until they're 100 and have only one or two children throughout their lifetimes."
What about that other little reason to take birth control pills?
Although it is unlikely that a lower-dose pill taken daily will be less effective in preventing pregnancy, reports have suggested that heavier women require a higher dosage to avoid failure. And all women who are suppressing should pay close attention to their bodies' signs.
The payoff for that vigilance is short-term freedom—and potential long-term health benefits. "I'm very confident that the suppressive birth control methods will significantly decrease rates of ovarian cancer in the future," says Dr. Romanzi.
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For more information on menstrual suppression and Dr. Miller's work, go to www.noperiod.com.