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Preparing for Hajj…without your period!
As Ramadan comes to an end and we prepare to celebrate the great holiday of Eid al Fitr, there are many of us with our eyes on a bigger prize…our upcoming trip to Hajj. For younger women, there is always an anxious thought in the back of our minds: what if our period is due during those few precious days?
Generally speaking, the best approach is to start a combined oral contraceptive pill (“the birth control pill”) 2 full menstrual cycles before Hajj. As physicians, we often recommend starting the first pills in the pack during your menses, though you can technically start at any time. There’s a risk of spotting (among other things you have to discuss with your personal doctor) during the first few months of the pill, so I like to have my patients start 2 months before Hajj. Then, when you’re traveling, take an extra pack with you. When you come to the last week of the pill (also known as the “placebo” week or the week of “sugar pills”) you don’t take them, but start the pills in the new pack. You can, in this manner, successfully suppress your period.
If you go in to see your personal OB/GYN, and you communicate that you’ll be on the trip of a lifetime and absolutely need to suppress your period, this is likely what they’ll recommend as well. As for choices of pill, I generally put my patients on Ocella (generic for Yasmin) but other pills of similar hormone levels will work as well. I prefer to avoid the low-dose pills for this purpose (Yaz, Lo-estrin, Ortho-Tricyclen-Lo) due to the increased risk of spotting if you try to skip a period.
And God knows best.
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