The Food and Drug Administration is expected to announce approval of a new birth control pill, called Lybrel, which would be the first to be taken continuously and suppress menstrual periods indefinitely. Gynecologist say they have seen a steady increase in the number of women seeking to limit and even stop monthly bleeding. Surveys have found up to half of women would prefer not to have any periods at all, and most would prefer to have periods less frequently. (Reported by ABC News)And this, referring to a story in the Wall Street Journal:
"The reason most traditional oral contraceptives have [placebo-pill] periods during which bleeding occurs was to increase women's comfort levels with taking something they might otherwise view as an unnatural disturbance of menstrual cycles," according to the Journal. But, "[t]here's no real medical need to have the withdrawal bleed at all," Paula Amato, a gynecologist and professor at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said, adding that there are advantages to eliminating the withdrawal bleed, such as reducing pain, headaches, moodiness and bloating. Women without periods also could improve their productivity at work and would not have to purchase feminine products, which could save them money, she said. Women's perceptions of Lybrel still could pose challenges to Wyeth, according to the company. Some women might think that not having a period is "unnatural," be concerned that daily doses of hormones could harm their health or worry that they will not be able to menstruate normally or become pregnant after taking the drug, according to the Journal. "There are some women who feel they need to have a period," Ginger Constantine, vice president of Wyeth's pharmaceutical unit of women's health care and bone repair, said. However, Lybrel is no less "natural" than other oral contraceptive pills and has similar risks, including blood clot, stroke and heart attack, she added.I'm sure we'll be hearing more about this in the weeks ahead.