The birth control pill has become a vital instrument for the modern woman. Preventing a potential baby from disrupting your life is nothing short of a miracle. Many women champion the benefits of taking the pill. But how does it all work? And more importantly, what can you expect from your first period on birth control?
1. Barely-there flow
Rejoice in the new benefit of buying less pads and tampons! Through the month you take pills with hormones to restructure your menstrual cycle and prevent pregnancy. The last week of the birth control pack is placebo pills. During this week, you will “bleed.” However, the bloodshed here is different than normal menstrual blood. It is also lighter in amount. With less bleeding, you can expect minimal funky odors and uncomfortably wet situations down there. Some women report skipping their period entirely and only having minute discharge. This is completely normal, but it may not happen on your first period after birth control. The body takes about three months to adjust. Also, the hormones in birth control pills aren’t manufactured by your body, and can therefore create their own discrete effects.
2. No color coordination
It takes time for your body to recognize the hormone withdrawal the pills induce. Effects of the wait time include no period, or a late period. The length it takes your body to realize what’s occurring differs from person to person. This hang up in timing seems bizarre, but is definitely preferable to ‘normal’ menstruation. Even under high stress and inadequate nutrition, your birth control placebo pills will still deliver your ‘period’ in a grace window of several days from the expected shed time, as based off of your pill pack.
3. Zero cravings
Before basking in your newfound birth control pill freedom, you were subject to the crazy cravings for sugar and salt. You’d guzzle these foods guiltily, huddled on your couch, feeling an empty, dismal satisfaction – until now. When on the pill, your body believes it’s pregnant most of the time, so you become accustomed with the intensity of cravings that are capable of feeding two, until they become unnoticeable. By that logic, when it’s placebo pill time, the lack of hormones poses no threat to wrecking diets. Furthermore, the nutrients lost in menstruation blood have been hypothesized to be the reason women crave certain ‘junk’ foods during their periods. With lighter flows, less blood is lost, and fewer nutrients need to be replenished.
4. Brown and bulky or red and thin
Light-stomached ladies, turn away now! If you’re curious, and have an iron gut, read on. Again, your first period on birth control isn’t likely to be a huge change. After that however, bleeding in delicate amounts isn’t the only change in flow you can expect in your birth control pill course. Typically, the color of a placebo period is a vivid crimson, bright with pink undertones instead of standard brown undertones. This color is paired with a fluid consistency, and minor clumps. But some months, the placebo period appears as a maroon and soil-colored sludge that only deposits in chunks. The latter occurs because placebo periods are short in length, so the amount of blood your body intends to eject isn’t fully released. This means that last months older, stagnant blood to may wait until now to come out.
5. Tiny cramps
Unfortunately, cramps don’t completely go back into the fiery, hellish underworld where they belong. Instead, they start to be of a kinder and more tolerable magnitude when your withdrawal period begins. Before the pill, cramps could be enough of a limitation to cause women to cancel plans, including necessary ones like going to school or work. In fact, many women utilize the pill not as a contraceptive, but as a cramp-reducer (especially women with endometriosis). Personally, my cramps when on the pill have disappeared for the most part, and strike only occasionally. Either way, whatever discomfort you experience now will be minimized or even eliminated with your first period on birth control (and all those in the years to come).