Sometimes, our periods make us feel like amazing god-like creatures. A testament to the wonder of nature! A reminder that our bodies are capable of some truly out-of-this-world things!
And sometimes…not so much. Many people have long, drawn-out periods that leave them anaemic, or severely depressed. Some people experience menstrual pain that feels off the charts, and gets in the way of daily life like work or school.
Or, periods can cause a monthly bout of gender dysphoria. But, there’s nothing you can do about it right—periods are a fact of life?
Well, there are actually ways you can put your period on hiatus, even permanently. Here’s what you need to know about your options.
Long-term Solutions for Ending Your Period
One of the easiest ways that people can skip periods is by using combination birth control pills. These contraceptive pills combine estrogen and progestin, which suppress ovulation and stop the lining of your uterus from thickening.
Generally, your combined pills come in a 28-day pill pack. It has 21 days of ‘active’ pills and then seven days of sugar pills. (These sugar pills help keep you in the habit of taking your pill at the same time every day, which is great for forgetful folks!)
If you simply don’t take the placebo pills and start your next pack of active pills, you won’t have your period, though you may experience some spotting.
But, if you’re looking for something a little more long term, there are other things you can try:
Have you ever seen an IUD in real life? They’re adorably teeny tiny! IUDs (intrauterine device) is a type of contraception that a doctor inserts into your uterus through the cervix. It stays in your body for 3-10 year depending on the type, assuming you don’t remove it early.
There are non-hormonal copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs that slowly release the same hormones as a contraceptive pill. The latter type stops your period, about 80% of the time.
Progestin shots are a type contraceptive you may not have heard of. The most common brand name is Depo-Provera, and unlike the pill, you only get a dose of medication every 3 months. It’s estimated that after getting these contraceptive shots for a year, about 70% of people stopped having their period.
There are other side effects you may notice (like any contraceptive) so be sure to talk to your doctor in depth about this choice.
Some trans men and non-binary people opt for testosterone therapy. Along with stopping your period, it will cause your voice to deepen, for facial hair to grow in thicker and a change in how fat and muscle are distributed in your body. Some of these changes are permanent, and some are temporary.
It’s a big decision, which may affect your future fertility. So, if you’re considering testosterone therapy, it’s best to talk to doctors who are knowledgeable and have experience with trans patients. That may mean looking outside your community for clinics that specialize in treatment for transgender people.
Remember, it’s okay to prepare questions! And, choosing not to have hormone therapy doesn’t make you ‘less’ trans than anyone else.
Ending Your Period Permanently
If the above long-term solutions to ending your period aren’t going to cut it, you can ask your doctor about the below treatments:
You may not have heard of this procedure, but it is a solution to lighten or stop heavy periods. Essentially, it involves surgically destroying the lining of your uterus using small tools. It may be done in a doctor’s office, or in an operating room. And, different methods are used: extreme cold, heated fluids, microwave energy or high-energy radio frequencies.
Ablation might need to occur several times to fully stop periods, but pregnancy can still be possible. However, these can be particularly high-risk pregnancies and result in miscarriage or with implantation happening in the fallopian tubes or cervix instead.
So, your doctor may suggest permanent sterilization with the ablation or other contraceptive methods to prevent a dangerous pregnancy.
When you are sure that pregnancy and periods are things that have absolutely no place in your life, then a hysterectomy is a permanent solution. This means the removal or partial removal of your uterus, and can include the removal of your ovaries and fallopian tubes as well.
It can be done vaginally or through the abdomen.
As many as 1 in 3 women in the United States will get a hysterectomy by age 60, according to the CDC. Many people get hysterectomies in response to fibroids, uterine prolapse or cancer. Unfortunately, you may run into many roadblocks if you’re seeking an elective hysterectomy at a younger age.
Many doctors are reluctant to offer them to people during their reproductive years because it is so permanent.
If you do find a doctor willing to help you get a hysterectomy, be sure to ask a lot of questions about life after the procedure. You may want estrogen therapy for example. And, if you have questions about your sex life post-hysterectomy, make sure that you are very specific. Most doctors mean ‘penis in vagina intercourse’ when they refer to sex, so ask questions about oral sex, masturbation, etc.
Are You Ready to Put an End to Your Periods?
The only one who can answer that question is you! But, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do plenty of research and ask your doctor (or several doctors) a lot of questions. As you’ve read above, there are plenty of options for ending your period on a long-term or permanent basis!
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.