Suffering from painful or heavy periods? There are several different forms of birth control which can help to reduce pain and make your periods lighter.
We've given details of a few of the most popular options below. Before starting birth control, talk to your doctor and ask for advice on the best method. They'll be able to take a thorough look at your medical history and tell you which form of birth control is likely to work best for you. It can sometimes take a little experimentation, so don't be too disheartened if you don't see results straight away.
Combined oral contraceptive pill
The combined oral contraceptive pill contains oestrogen and progestogen, which work together to stop your ovaries from releasing eggs. This reduces the risk of pregnancy, and can also make periods lighter and less painful. Most pills are designed to be taken for 21 days in a row, with a 7-day break each month. During the pill-free week, you'll experience a 'withdrawal bleed', which will feel similar to a regular period. In some cases, your doctor may recommend skipping the 7-day break to reduce the number of bleeds you have each year. The pill is a good option if you like to know exactly when your next period will be.
The copper IUD (intrauterine device), also known as 'the coil' is a plastic and copper device which is inserted into your womb by a medical professional. It works by preventing sperm and eggs from surviving in the womb, preventing pregnancy. The IUD is effective as soon as it's inserted and can be removed by a nurse at any time. It can make periods lighter and less painful, although this isn't the case for everyone. It's important to be aware that you may experience increased period pain and bleeding in the months immediately after having your IUD fitted, although this should settle down over time.
The contraceptive implant is a small, flexible tube which is inserted under the skin of your upper arm. It works by releasing progestogen into your body to prevent the release of eggs from your ovaries. This dramatically reduces the risk of pregnancy. Unlike the pill, you won't need to worry about forgetting to take anything, as the implant works without you doing anything. Many people find that their periods become lighter or stop altogether after having the implant fitted, so it's well worth asking your doctor about this option.
Don't suffer from painful periods without trying birth control. If you're worried about the cost, ask your doctor about bulk billing.