July 14, 2024

Birth control pills today have been designed to contain much lower doses of synthetic hormones than they did in the 1960s when ‘The PILL’ (with 50 micrograms of estrogen) first came on the market. The reason for this is to reduce the side effects of hormonal contraceptives. “That still didn’t help me much,” you may be saying, but here’s some information on low-dose birth control pills that can help you have a productive discussion (no pun intended!) with your doctor if you’re not happy with your current morning after pill It’s worth trying and error with different types of pills, keeping in mind that oral contraceptives are still not the perfect birth control method for everyone. If you’re taking the ‘right birth control pill’ that suits your body, you should feel exactly the same as normal, if not a little better.

Some women cannot tolerate the estrogen in low combined pills, so progestin-only pills are prescribed. Estrogen seemed to be the main culprit for side effects, so “low-dose birth control pills” were developed to minimize them. Pills containing 0.02 mg to 0.035 mg of estrogen are classified as “low dose” pills.

Here are some brands of “low dose” birth control pills:

LoOvral contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.3 mg nogestrel

Nordette contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg levognogestrel.

Ortho-Cept (Reclipsen, Solia) contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel

Desogen contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel.

Levlen21 contains 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel

Seasonale/Seasonique contains 0.03 mg ethinylestradiol and 0.15 mg levonorgestrel

YASMIN and YAZ are two other low-dose birth control pills that contain 0.03 mg and 0.02 mg respectively of estrogen, but have a different type of progestogen than the other pills called drospirenone (3.0 mg). Yasmin may not be right for you if you also take other over-the-counter pain relievers, potassium-sparing diuretics, potassium supplements, or specific medications, so you MUST discuss this with a doctor first.

Changing hormone levels within your body can cause side effects that vary for each individual. Keeping hormones at a constant level in your body is the job of oral contraceptives so you don’t ovulate, the uterine lining thins, and the cervical mucus thickens. These three events work together to prevent pregnancy.

Pills like ALESSE and MIRCETTE are called “ultra-low-dose” pills because they contain only 0.02 mg of estrogen. These oral contraceptives are effective in preventing pregnancy, but some women find that they have more spotting and breakthrough bleeding with them than with pills containing 0.03 mg or 0.035 mg. (considered the norm today) of estrogen. Spotting and breakthrough bleeding often go away after a few months on a low-dose birth control pill.

0.02 mg of estrogen is sufficient for contraception, but side effects of spotting and breakthrough bleeding are more common with this type of ultra-low-dose birth control pill than with low-dose birth control pills containing 0.030 mg or 0.035 mg of estrogen . Women who prefer ALESSE ((Aviane,Lessina,Lutera,Sronyx) and MIRCETTE say they reduce headaches, mood swings, breast tenderness, and bloating. These two brands may also be better for ‘users’. pill first-timers’ as a ‘low-estrogen start’ to introduce synthetic hormones into their bodies.

You’ve probably heard of progestin-only pills, or “mini-pills.”

These oral contraceptives are 90-95% effective in preventing pregnancy compared to the 99% effective rate of combined pills. However, they do not cause the common side effects of estrogen pills, such as nausea, breast tenderness, and cramps. The risk of developing deep vein thrombosis and cardiovascular disease is lower with progestin-only pills. Nursing mothers can use progestin pills only a few weeks after giving birth, as progestin does not affect milk supply like estrogen does.

The ‘minipills’ must be taken every day at the same time without interruption. If you miss a single pill or take it more than three hours after the usual time, you should use a backup method of birth control for 48 hours after taking the last pill. The downside of the ‘mini-pill’, apart from irregular spotting and breakthrough bleeding, is that it can increase the risk of ovarian cysts and ectopic pregnancy.

last update

Low-dose birth control pills can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, especially in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or a metabolic disorder. However, this risk disappears when you stop taking the low-dose birth control pill (according to a Virginia Commonwealth University study published in the July issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism). PCOS is a condition that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. “Despite the doubling of risk associated with the pill, the absolute risk of a cardiovascular event in an individual woman on the pill is low: women on the pill will not automatically have a heart attack, says John Nestler, MD, professor and chair of the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism at the VCU School of Medicine. “However, our findings raise the question of whether oral contraceptives are the optimal therapy for certain groups of women who are at initial risk or who take the pill for a longer time, such as women with PCOS.”

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So if you don’t have PCOS and think a low-dose birth control pill may be better for you, read more about ALESSE and Mircette before asking your doctor which brand would be “right” for your own medical history. Be sure to tell him what other medicines you are also taking. The online providers that I have recommended are reputable and also offer the best prices. Sources: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Elizabeth Silverman, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla. Dr. Pamela Deak, an OB/GYN at the University of California San Diego Medical Center.

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