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"Is it bad to skip the sugar birth control pills?"


I don't understand the whole sugar birth control pill thing. Is it bad to skip the sugar pill? I'm 24 and I've been on the pill for 2 years now, but I often skip the sugar pill because it just seems silly. Is there a 'real' reason to take them?


As a young woman, you should have a gynecologist who does your annual exams and counseling. Birth control pills are important to take regularly because missing a few doses can make their contraceptive effects ineffective and can cause irregular periods, spotting and mood swings. As you understand, most birth control pill are designed to have 3 weeks of active pills followed by 1 week of sugar pills.

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The purpose of these sugar pills is to keep you on schedule so you don't forget to take any doses of your active pill. If you decide that you want to skip the sugar or placebo pills, you should be very careful about marking this on your calendar so that you don't get off schedule with your active pills. Otherwise, it is completely safe to skip these pills. The week that you are skipping your sugar pills or off pills altogether is the week that you will have your period. Another strategy that you should discuss with your gynecologist if taking 6 weeks of active pills, followed by a week off for your period. This will help you to have fewer periods and is generally safe unless you have other endocrine or gynecological conditions. The disadvantage of this strategy is that you may have breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods. Discuss these options with your doctor and if you are meticulous about knowing how many days you are skipping the sugar pill so you don't get off schedule, you can safely skip these.

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