I’ve been taking it back-to-back for 10 years

On Sunday night, Twitter was in uproar – and this time, it wasn’t because of Brexit or the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary. The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH), which sets standards for the NHS, has announced it’s OK for women to skip the seven-day break taken by most of us who are on the combined contraceptive pill.

“We don’t need a regular monthly bleed to be healthy, and lots of women welcome the option of avoiding bleeding,” says Dr Sarah Hardman, Co-Director of the Clinical Effectiveness Unit at the FSRH. “If a woman wants to avoid periods on combined hormonal contraception, she can run the packets together.”

So, great news, right? Well, kind of. Everyone was happy until they found out this isn’t actually news: apparently, the break was only introduced to convince the Pope (yes, the POPE) that the pill was a natural form of contraception. And women are pissed.

When writer Sian Norris alerted Twitter to the news, she pointed out, “This is INSANE and just shows how women’s bodies are held hostage to men’s feelings. Women have been LIED to for sixty years to please the Pope.”


“I’m so angry, my boyfriend’s probably angry. The whole population of women are probably angry,” added @mianicollee.

It’s no surprise women are furious. Because taking the pill back-to-back really is OK – and I’ve been doing it for over ten years.

I went on the combined contraceptive pill almost as soon as I started my periods at 14, when my body decided that a great way to tell me I’d come on each month would be to make me vomit, violently and without warning. (It’s not a great way. It is a garbage way).

My GP put me on Loestrin, which smoothed out my symptoms. But during the seven-day break, there were still plenty of things I wasn’t shouting about – from nausea and exhaustion, to more complicated stuff like having to figure out whether I was more likely to leak out of the front or back of a pad, and feeling lied to by tampon ads.

When I turned 21, I heard about ‘tricycling’ – taking the pill for three months nonstop before a break. Dr Google told me there was no harm in it, and my GP agreed, so I started having four periods a year. And eventually, I asked if there was any reason I couldn’t just… stop my periods altogether.

“No reason,” my GP said. “Most women just prefer to know they’re not pregnant every month. But if you trust the pill to do its thing, that’s fine.”

Ten years and half a dozen GPs later, and I’ve taken the pill back to back for over a decade. I take a break around once a year, sometimes when I experience a (very light) breakthrough bleed – those occasions, which can happen to everyone on the combined contraceptive pill, when you bleed when taking your pill.

Each of my GPs has approved my choice without hesitation. I wasn’t worried about getting pregnant without realising – when a gynae nurse found out what I was doing, she described my cervix as ‘like Fort Knox.’ And the positives are pretty much endless.

This incredible woman encouraged 100,000 people to join her in ending period product waste

No periods. Which means no headaches, cramps or sickness. Being able to have sex whenever you like without dealing with an unholy mess afterwards. Holidays you can be sure won’t be affected by your period – which can actually be triggered by the stress of travelling. And no financial outlay, or guilt over period product waste.

Plenty of my friends have been cynical about my choice – despite being evangelical, I’ve persuaded precisely zero of them to join me on the period-free bandwagon. Some have even begged me to stop, certain I was ruining my body or affecting my fertility (I don’t want kids, so no worries there). Studies show these are common misconceptions – but the new guidelines will hopefully banish these fears forever.

Of course, all women are different. “Contraception should always be about what works best for you – for some women, taking the pill back-to-back is perfect, while others hate it,” says former gynaecologist and bestselling author Dr Adam Kay.

“It can cause unpredictable, unscheduled bleeding and spotting, and some like the ‘reassurance,’ as it were, of a monthly cycle. But there are dozens of options when it comes to contraception – so have a chat with your doctor or nurse.”

This six month micro-needle skin patch could soon replace the contraceptive pill

So it’s official: If you’re on the pill, you don’t have to have periods. Instead of raging, we should all be embracing the freedom offered by these new guidelines. Because although it might feel wrong at first, I promise: when you’ve tried it for a while, going period-free feels completely right.

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