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Taking "breaks" From Birth Control

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Hi, I would really appreciate any information regarding possible side effects or safety concerns that may occur with taking a "break" from birth control.

Here's my situation: I have been on the pill for a little over 3 years now without any problems. My fiance has just left for Iraq and we have been told to expect a 15 month deployment. I see no reason to use birth control while he is away as I will not be having sex. I have also been told [not by a professional] that taking a break from the synthetic estrogen would be a good thing to do for my body.

I am considering taking a break from birth control for now and about 6 months from now or so [during my fiance's R&R leave] starting it again [starting a new pack at least one month before he comes home to ensure it will be effective].

Then when he leaves again [from R&R -this is a 2 week period] stopping the birth control and then eventually [about 15 months from now] starting it again so it will be effective when he comes home.

Questions:

Is this a safe and effective plan for my body?

Would it be better for me to simply continue the use of birth control during this period?

If I do stop using the pill for this 15 month period would it be better to use condoms instead of starting and then stopping the use of pills again during his R&R leave?

Is taking "breaks" from the pill a good idea for my body; are there any positives or negatives in doing so? This is especially relevant to me in that I am not sure how many future deployments to Iraq I can expect.

Thank you for your time!
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replied June 4th, 2007
Experienced User
There is no medical reason to take a break from birth control pills. No benefit for your body. Just ask a doctor.

Source: http://healthnews.uc.edu/news/?/883/

Myth: Women should “take a break” from their birth control pills.
Fact: Research does not show women who are healthy and nonsmokers benefit from taking a break from the pill. More women are actually taking the pill and staying on it longer. Stopping the pill without proper back-up protection can lead to an undesired pregnancy. Discuss the duration of how long you should take the pill with your health-care professional.

You will not harm your body to take a break, restart, break, restart. But, you will likely experience irregular periods when you take a break, and possibly experience side effects when you restart. Whenever you stop or start hormonal contraceptives there is an adjustment period for your body.

Personally, I would just stay on your birth control the whole time he's gone. It's not just for preventing pregnancy after all. Also, for the times he does come home for a visit you want to be sure you're fully protected (not just condoms), since if you are not on birth control you will be .S.U.P.E.R fertile on his R&R leave. It's a natural phenomenon. Plus, it would be good to be protected just in-case he surprises you with a visit home.
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replied June 4th, 2007
Especially eHealthy
I agree-there's no medical reason why you should take a break. And it would cause irregular periods every time you went on and off, you might feel really messed up and experience lots of side effects.

You can do it if you want, it wouldn't be bad for you except that your cycle would get really confused Smile but it might be more trouble than it's worth!
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replied June 4th, 2007
Thanks for the info!! I think I will continue using birth control while he is away... if there's no medical benefit it's not worth stopping!
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replied October 18th, 2009
Nobody can honestly say that taking any kind of medicine for a longer time period is harmless.You should take a break from any kind of birthcontrol after 3 years for one year or longer.
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