It's been called Fred, the rags, the monthly friend, though I doubt we'd describe having a period as friendly. Medical magazine The Lancet published an interesting letter from correspondent Charlotte Ellertson from the Population Council of Mexico. She said it was easy to eliminate menstruation with the range of cheap oral contraceptives available.
Charlotte asks why we need to have periods when 'any woman can tell you that menstruating is a pain, literally and metaphorically.'
Periods are expensive, with the cost of pads and tampons well over the $3 mark. The Tampon Tax issue here in Australia highlights that point. There's also the cost of painkillers, downtime at work, dealing with sore breasts, and the eruption of those big underground pimples which can make you feel like a leper when a few crop up on your chin.
Charlotte Ellerston says women are expected to function as usual, with minimal attention paid to managing the physical and mental pain and discomfort. For something that affects half the population, she says it's a medical anomaly for it not to be prioritised in some way by health professionals or policy makers.
It's something to consider, certainly. Who hasn't thought about skipping the sugar pills and going to the next packet when a period threatens to interrupt a big weekend? But is it harmful to keep taking the pill without a break? I was always too scared to not have a break because I imagined this big buildup inside my cervix that needed to come out!
Dr David Dammery from the Royal College of General Practitioners says he doesn't know of any harm specifically from menstrual suppression but the prolonged use of hormones may lead to problems of breast cancer and cancers of the uterine lining. That might be a risk we can't afford to take.
Love to hear what you think. Have you suppressed your periods? Would you do it? Email us with your thoughts.