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Image / Editorial

New findings say contraceptive pill can be taken ‘every day of the month’


By Jennifer McShane
23rd Jan 2019
New findings say contraceptive pill can be taken ‘every day of the month’

Women are now being told they can take the contraceptive pill every day of the month, after scientists in the UK have said there is no benefit to the seven-day break that is routinely advised.

The reproductive health body setting standards for the NHS has produced new guidance to assure women the contraceptive pill can be taken every day of the month.

Related: How my hair changed when I came off the pill

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) said there is no health benefit to a seven-day break while taking the combined contraceptive pill – a practice first introduced in the hope the Catholic Church would “accept” some form of contraception.

‘The Pope’s Rule’

 John Rock, a Catholic gynaecologist, explained that he had hoped that it would persuade the Pope and the Catholic Church to approve its use by imitating the natural menstrual cycle.

“The gynaecologist John Rock devised [the break] because he hoped that the Pope would accept the pill and make it acceptable for Catholics to use,” Professor Guillebaud told The Telegraph.

Now, new guidelines from the Faculty of Sexual And Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) will be issued to the UK’s NHS GPs and family-planning clinics to clearly state that the traditional 21-day cycle offers women no health benefit.

“The guideline suggests that by taking fewer hormone-free intervals – or shortening them to four days – it’s possible that women could reduce the risk of getting pregnant on combined hormonal contraception.”

Experts have said they hope the “updated advice” can help prevent more unwanted pregnancies.

“How could it be that for 60 years we have been taking the pill in a sub-optimal way because of this desire to please the Pope?” he added.

How indeed.

There is no word at the time of reporting if we’ll see similar guidelines on Irish shores.

So, as yet another example of women’s health being trivialised, for decades, women were told to have periods to as one woman put it, to “essentially please a man.”

Many took to Twitter to protest the news and ask the question: if we have been kept in the dark about this, what else have we not been told?