Will the pill improve my fertility?

Question

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant, but I have not had a period for over 45 days (and a negative pregnancy test). My physician suggested that I go back on birth control to get a period, but I am very reluctant to do so. Is there another alternative to restart my cycle?

Answer

Last Updated: July 10, 2013
Restarting birth control pills will most certainly be counter-productive. The birth control pill completely overwhelms and shuts down a woman’s fertility cycle; it may induce a monthly “bleed”, but this will not be a period reflective of a return to normal fertility. You will be even further from getting pregnant after a number of cycles on the BCP.

You and your doctor must determine why you are not having a period. You don’t indicate how old you are, or what your recent medical history is (recent miscarriage? ever been pregnant? usually have regular periods?recently on the BCP?), but the most likely possibility is that you are not ovulating. Without ovulation, you cannot get pregnant, nor can you have a normal period. A progesterone challenge test (where you are given a shot of progesterone or a course of progesterone pills) can be helpful here–if progesterone induces a period, then you are most likely not ovulating.

Other possibilities include lack of estrogen (slow recovery of ovarian function after a miscarriage or use of the BCP, peri-menopause, premature ovarian failure…)–it would be difficult to be more specific without conducting a history and physical exam.

In general, it is not healthy for a pre-menopausal woman to go longer than 3 months or so without a period. The solution, though, is to figure out why you are not having a period, then solve that problem (especially if you want to get pregnant!), rather than just “go on the pill”.

Good Luck!

Dr. John Gisla

Answered By:

John Gisla, MD
Dr. John Gisla, Board Certified by the American Academy of Family Physicians, pracitces in the Sacramento Region.

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