You Don't Have To Get A Period, So Here Are Five Reasons To Consider Stopping It
Did you know that you can make yourself stop getting periods, and it's safe and wonderful, but not a lot of doctors will tell you about this? It's true! Alana Massey wrote about this in The Atlantic today, and she may have singlehandedly convinced me that I should join the growing group of women using medication or an IUD to lessen or eliminate their periods. Even though she talks about all the weird pushback she gets from people about her choice — "Aren't you worried you'll get pregnant and not know about it, or become infertile?" — Massey deflects all the criticism deftly. She has science on her side, too. According to all the doctors she quotes in her article, stopping your period is not only safe, but can even be healthier for women who aren't looking to conceive.
Now, not everyone will be convinced to stop the bleeding each month — some of us like that reassurance that we're not pregnant and do in fact know how to put on condoms properly no matter what the situation — but you deserve to know the truth about the benefits of putting your period on hold. And this isn't about period shaming; finding your period kind of annoying isn't the same as thinking it's "dirty" or that it deserves to be hidden away or obscured by some sort of weird blue liquid. It's possible to acknowledge both that periods are a fact of life and not weird or anything and that they're not always pleasant to deal with. Comedian Cameron Esposito had it right when she compared menstruation to a whole host of things that are expressly not magical, unicorn-like beings.
So here, I present to you some reasons you should at least consider murdering your Aunt Flo. It's not anti-woman or anti-feminist to do so, but it can be very helpful for some people. Here's why it's worth thinking about.
1. It's Cheap
You can stop your period through use of regular birth control pills or an IUD — things that are likely covered by your health insurance plan. What definitely isn't covered by your health insurance are tampons, pads, and menstrual cups. In fact, tampons are considered a "luxury" item in 40 states. That's unfair and definitely needs to change, but in the meantime, one of the benefits of not having a period is not having to spend money on those items. Why not save a little cash?
2. Sex Might Be Better
Far be it from me to scare people away from period sex — which can definitely be awesome. But look, you can ruin sheets that way. Plus, if you're one of those people who gets painful physical symptoms when you're on the rag, period-free sex means you don't have to deal with cramps or sore breasts or nipples while you're getting it on.
3. It's Safe
“There is no medical reason why a woman has to menstruate every month,” says Alyssa Dweck, an OB/GYN quoted in the Atlantic article. “And there is nothing wrong with tweaking the system if bleeding is difficult for women.” Stopping your period also does not increase the risk of infertility if you want to have kids in the future, so let's just shut that argument right down.
4. It Can Actually Make You Healthier
Some women get horrible migraines before they get their period (me included!). Instead of taking migraine medication, another option is to simply eliminate your period. Same with pre-period nausea, pain or other menstrual issues. It's a solution doctors don't often talk about, but it works. Also, you get to avoid the gross ingredients found in some feminine hygiene products.
5. Your Period Doesn't Make You a Nature Moon Goddess
In her article "5 Reasons Why Menstruation Is Awesome (Despite What We're Told)," Sarah Trotta writes:
We must fight to defend menstruation! Just as feminists once fought for equal rights for menstruating women in the workplace and for better products for functional menstruation management, we must fight now to keep menstruation a norm in our society.
We must send the message to pharmaceutical companies that we will not be shamed into taking their period erasing drugs.
But to be honest, I disagree. A lot. I have pretty mild periods compared to most, but even my periods are a nuisance. They stain beautiful underwear, they give me literal headaches, and they give me mood swings that make me feel crazy. This is not about what is convenient for men — I could give two shits what a man thinks of me menstruating — this is about recognizing that many women experience pain and frustration during their period. By all means, reclaim your period; just don't invalidate the real experiences many women deal with while you're at it.
I don't want women on their periods to be oppressed by our society. Yes, let's definitely demand free tampons and more sick days and a greater respect for women in general. But celebrating menstruation itself may not be the way to go. Don't get me wrong; I love women who make their periods more visible as a political act. Women are not gross for getting periods. But let's not transfer what's great about women onto the periods themselves. After all, that leaves out a lot of women — women without uteri, trans women and older women, for a start.
I say eff periods. All hail science for empowering women to get rid of them, if that's what they want.
Images: Dawn Foster/Bustle; Giphy (5)