I first went on the birth control pill about, oh, ten years ago or so and have been on them ever since. For those that don't understand how it works, the pill uses hormones to stop ovulation. With no ovulation, there's no egg release and, thus, no egg for sperm to attach to and, thus, no pregnancy. This is why taking them at the same time every single day is so important because if you miss a pill, it can trigger ovulation which puts you at risk for pregnancy.
Depending on the pill you take, you may or may not have a period every month but even if you do it's not a "real" period since there was no egg released earlier in the month. Some pills, like the one I took, have a week of placebo pills with no hormones and you have a "withdrawal" period instead. Assuming you took all of your previous pills, your hormone levels will be high enough to maintain the non-ovulation through the placebo week, the end of which you start a new pack.
Many doctors, including my own primary care physician, agree that if a woman is on some form of contraceptive there's no need for her to have a period every single month. Back when the pill was first introduced, the doctors thought it was in the woman's best interest to mimic a standard 28 day cycle, including the menstruation part. So, y'know, SCIENCE.
(Don't ask how I know all of this. I tend to do a lot of research on lots of random things.)
So this is basically my long-winded way of saying I haven't had a real honest to goddess menstruation cycle in about a decade.
One of the side-effects of birth control can be blood clots which means that when I was in the hospital a month ago for Clotapocalypse they took me off said birth control pills. I was in the middle of my pack and after a few days, the withdrawal period started. Since then I've been anxiously awaiting for my normal cycle to start back up and because of the blood thinners I've been super paranoid my period was going to look something like this:
I also have no idea what my natural cycle looks like in terms of duration but knowing it started on August 1st when I was in the hospital and also knowing the "standard" is 28 days, I'd been basically girding my loins for the past week or so.
My period started up this weekend and thankfully it was pretty, well, normal. Which basically means it was the same level of annoyance as it has been since I was 10 years old.
Love from the ashes,