An unexpectedly large number of women are choosing to delay or skip monthly menstruation by deviating from the instructions of birth-control pills and other hormonal contraceptives. That's according to a team of University of Oregon researchers who have published their findings in the journal Contraception.
Most women who alter bleeding cycles do so for convenience rather than to avoid menstrual symptoms, and many learn about the option from nonmedical sources, says researcher Christopher Minson.
In Minson's survey, 17 percent of the nearly 1,800 women reported altering their scheduled bleeding pattern by deviating from the instructions of hormonal contraceptives. Half of these women reported that they did so for convenience or scheduling purposes. Others cited personal preference (29 percent) or reducing menstrual symptoms (17 percent) as reasons they altered menstruation patterns.
Among the women who delayed or skipped a scheduled bleeding for convenience or personal choice, a comparatively large number - 53 percent - indicated the knowledge was obtained from nonmedical sources, such as a family member or friend.
"These findings emphasize the need for health care providers to carefully interview combined hormonal contraceptive users on how they are using their method - for example, many women may be skipping pills to extend their cycles," Minson concluded. "With a greater understanding of the issues, health care providers may be able to more effectively engage in conversations with college-aged women and educate them about available options."
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Source: University of Oregon