How to Skip Your Period Using Hormonal Contraceptives

Your period is due to come right around your wedding day. Talk about ruining the honeymoon! Is there any way to avoid this from happening?

Woman in a white sun hat wading into crystal clear water
Woman in bathing suit. M. Swiet Productions / Getty images

Such a great question!

Who wants to worry about ruining their wedding gown because of a menstrual mishap? It is hard enough to just go to the bathroom in most gowns let alone trying to change a tampon! Maybe even worse than that is the thought of worrying about bleeding through or even changing your tampon on that remote Caribbean beach! Although it is safe to have sex during your period, do you really want to deal with that during a special occasion?

Fear not, with a little bit of preplanning there is a way to keep Aunt Flo away. The key to controlling your menstrual cycle is by controlling your hormones.

How Does It Work?

You bleed at a regular interval every month because of the hormonal changes that happen when you ovulate. Suppressing your ovulation is the key to stopping your period from coming.

In fact, this is how combined hormonal contraceptives work. By controlling the concentration of estrogen and progesterone in your body, the combined hormonal contraceptives suppress your ovulation.

When you are on a combined hormonal contraceptive you are not actually getting your period. Instead, you are having what is called a withdrawal bleed. In other words, you are bleeding because the hormones are being “withdrawn” from your body.

The important point is that you don’t have to have a withdrawal bleed when you are using a combined hormonal contraceptive. These types of contraceptives were designed to mimic the natural menstrual cycle because it was believed that that would be the most acceptable for women.

Medical Reasons to Skip Your Period

There are certain gynecologic conditions that can be helped by what is known as continuous dosing. What that means is the hormone-free 7 days are eliminated and the combined hormonal contraceptive is given continuously every day. Skipping the withdrawal bleed can be helpful for women who have very heavy periods or a lot of pelvic pain just before or during their periods. Also, women who have migraine headaches associated with hormone withdrawal may choose to use continuous dosing to avoid changes in their hormone levels.

How to Do It?

You do need to plan ahead. This is a bit easier if you already using a combined hormonal contraceptive method including:

If you are not using one of these methods you will need to discuss starting one of them with your healthcare provider. You will need at least 2 months before the period you want to miss if you are not currently taking one of these forms of birth control.

If you are already taking one of these forms of birth control here’s what to do.

Oral Contraceptive Users​

If you are taking the birth control pill you probably know that the last 7 days of the pack do not have any hormones in them. Skip these pills and instead start a new pack right away.

Contraceptive Patch Users

If you are using the contraceptive patch just put on a new patch right away starting week 4. Skip the patch-free week.

Contraceptive Ring Users

When the 3 weeks of your ring have finished take it out and put a new one in right away. Skip the week without the ring. You may want to try out this way of taking your birth control to see how it works for you before your big day. You may need to ask your healthcare provider for a new prescription for your birth control because you will need to refill your prescription sooner than allowed.

Bottom Line

It is perfectly fine to skip your period even if it is just for convenience or lifestyle reasons. But as always, it is important to discuss any changes to your medication with your healthcare provider.

2 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Edelman A, Micks E, Gallo MF, Jensen JT, Grimes DA. Continuous or extended cycle vs. cyclic use of combined hormonal contraceptives for contraceptionCochrane Database Syst Rev. 2014;2014(7):CD004695. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD004695.pub3

  2. Hillard PA. Menstrual suppression: current perspectivesInt J Womens Health. 2014;6:631–637. doi:10.2147/IJWH.S46680

By Andrea Chisholm, MD
Andrea Chisolm, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN who has taught at both Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School.