Health Alert Over Contraception Pill

The growing trend for women to take their contraceptive pill continuously to avoid having monthly periods may not be safe, a health expert warned yesterday. The pills are designed to be taken daily for three weeks out of four.

But an increasing number of women are taking their pill packs back-to-back with no gap in between to allow for menstruation. And the trend is likely to gather pace after a new Pill called Seasonale was launched in America designed to be taken for 84 days at a time, leaving women with only four periods a year.

A rival product which works in the same way, called Lybrel, is expected to be launched in the UK later this year. But now an American psychologist has warned that no one knows the long-term health impact that stopping monthly bleeds will have.

Paula Derry, from Baltimore in Maryland, said that although there was no evidence it could cause harm, the research had never really been done. Writing in the British Medical Journal, Ms Derry, a health psych­ologist, said: “The argument that menstruation is obsolete is illogical and unscientific. Reduced to its essentials, the argument amounts to this – too many periods can make women sick because women were meant to be constantly pregnant or breast feeding.”

Scientists announced last year that a new Pill which could reduce the risk of breast cancer while controlling women’s PMT is also being developed by scientists. It works by stopping monthly periods and could, therefore, signal an end to the symptoms of pre-menstrual tension. It could even slash the risk of deep vein thrombosis in women who smoke or are overweight.