For most women, periods are a fact of life.
Every month the fairer sex will suffer bloating, cramps and irritability as they menstruate for up to a week.
But one doctor says modern medicine means women don’t actually need to do this at all – and more and more women are taking contraceptives constantly to avoid having a period.
Dr Elizabeth Micks, an obstetrician gynaecologist at the University of Washington, Seattle, told NPR: ‘In general, I think views are changing really rapidly.
‘That need to have regular periods is not just in our society any more.’
The Pill, implant or injection all alter hormone levels, so eggs are not released from a woman’s ovaries.
This means her womb does not shed its lining every month in a period.
If taken as directed, women can appear to menstruate on the Pill because.
This is because some types have 21 days’ worth of hormones, and seven ‘sugar pills’ – which do not contain hormones at all but simply remind the woman to take it as part of her routine.
Other brands only provide 21 pills and tell women to take a seven day ‘break’.
In this time, they will experience a bleed which resembles their period.
But it is in fact artificial – and caused by withdrawal of the hormone rather than as a result of the lining of the womb shedding after ovulation.
Dr Micks said pills were only designed in this way because of a historical quirk – as the person who invented them was Catholic.
Therefore, he believed if women continued to have periods while taking the Pill it would be seen as more palatable to the Catholic church.
But there is no biological need for this break, and women can simply take the Pill continuously, meaning many will not get their period, she said.