What are the effects of taking estrogen pills without a break?

Dawn Marcus
Many people wonder if taking estrogen continuously for several months without a break is harmful. Traditional birth control packs have a placebo week to allow for estrogen withdrawal that leads to shedding of the endometrial lining, resulting in menstrual bleeding. It was thought in the past that a woman had to shed her uterine lining every month to reduce the risk of endometrial or uterine cancer. This has been shown in recent years not to be necessary. Often when a woman takes a low-dose estrogen-containing birth control pill continuously, she will notice spotting. If this continues or is heavy, her healthcare provider may recommend that she stop the estrogen-containing pill temporarily for 5-7 days to induce a period. Alternatively, the provider may try to induce a period by having her take progesterone for 3-5 days. In either case, the estrogen-containing birth control pills can be restarted when the bleeding significantly slows or stops.
The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

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The Woman's Migraine Toolkit: Managing Your Headaches from Puberty to Menopause (A DiaMedica Guide to Optimum Wellness)

Migraines are a common, controllable type of headache that affects one in every six women, more than 20 million in the United States alone. The Woman’s Migraine Toolkit helps readers take charge of...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.