A Guide To Low Estrogen Birth Control
Birth control has been a leading method for preventing pregnancy since its approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in 1960.
Low estrogen, or low dose, birth control is a type of hormonal birth control that has a lower dosage of hormones than most other oral contraceptives.
According to the CDC, from 2017-2019, 65.3% of women aged 15-49 years in the United States used contraception, with oral contraceptives being one of the most common methods.
There are many birth control methods available, and each comes with its own set of risks and benefits.
Low estrogen birth control options are often chosen for people who cant take higher doses of hormones due to personal or medical reasons.
Symptoms associated with your menstrual cycle, family history, and certain medical conditions are considered when determining if a low estrogen birth control is the right fit.
There are other low dose birth control pills, but they include hormones other than estrogen.
Some low-dose pills mirror traditional birth control pills and contain both estrogen and progestin , while others may contain only progestin and no estrogen.
In this article, Ill explain how this type of birth control works and then dive deeper into the effectiveness, benefits, risks, and side effects you can typically expect with low estrogen oral contraceptives.
What Types Of Birth Control Stimulate Appetite
Some birth control pills can cause women to feel hungrier than usual, which can lead to excess calorie consumption and weight gain. Unlike water retention, this type of weight gain is much harder to get rid of and is more permanent. It can be incredibly hard to make smart diet choices when a person is experiencing cravings for calorie-dense foods thanks to hormones.
Certain birth control pills increase insulin levels. High levels of insulin cause any calories obtained from carbohydrates to be converted into fat cells. Women who already have abnormal glucose metabolism are at high-risk of experiencing this side effect.
The types of hormonal birth control that are the biggest culprits for appetite stimulation are, again, pills with higher levels of estrogen. Low dose estrogen pills do not cause significant increases in appetite and insulin levels. For women who do experience weight gain on the pill, the average weight gained is 4.4 pounds within 12 months on a progestin-only pill.
Also, if a woman experiences significant weight gain after taking the pill, the birth control isnt necessarily to blame. Its possible that another health issue is causing weight gain, and its crucial that women speak to their doctor if this happens. Cushings Syndrome, thyroid disorders, and diabetes can cause sudden, unexplained weight gain.
What Are The Benefits Of Low Dose Birth Control
Here are some of the many benefits of using low dose combination birth control pill:
- It may reduce the symptoms associated with PMS or premenstrual syndrome.
- If your periods are irregular, taking these pills can make them regular.
- You may experience lighter menstrual bleeding than usual.
- You may get extra protection against PID or pelvic inflammatory disease.
- Your menstrual pain or cramps may be less severe and painful than before.
- You may be at a lower risk of developing any kind of ovarian cancer, ovarian cysts, or endometrial cancer.
Now lets us discuss some of the pros of taking low dose progestin-only pills:
- You may experience less painful periods because of reduced cramping.
- Your menstrual flow may become lighter .
- You can take these pills even when you are breastfeeding, as a low amount of estrogen proves to be a safer bet for breastfeeding mothers.
- Taking these pills also means a lower or reduced risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometrial cancer, and other such complications.
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The Effect Of Birth Control On Acne
The hormones in combination birth control pills can help reduce acne. The pills decrease the circulation of androgens, which decreases the production of sebum.
The pills must contain both estrogen and progestin to be effective against acne. The minipill only contains progestin, so it doesnt help improve acne.
Many combination birth control pill brands are available. Each contains its own variation of hormones. Pills prescribed for acne should contain progestin with low androgenic possibility. This means the progestin has less androgenic side effects, such as oily skin and acne.
The Food and Drug Administration has approved the following pills for the treatment of acne:
- Beyaz, which combines drospirenone, ethinyl estradiol, and levomefolate calcium
- Estrostep Fe, which combines norethindrone acetate, ethinyl estradiol, and ferrous fumarate
- Ortho Tri-Cyclen, which combines norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol
- Yaz, which combines drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol.
However, other combination pills that arent on this list may still help improve acne.
How Hormonal Birth Control Works
Birth control pills that use estrogen and progestin will affect your bodyÃ¢s hormones. Your body makes estrogen, while progestin is a man-made version of the hormone progesterone, which your body makes as well.
To keep your body from an actual pregnancy, these pills copy what your body would do if you were pregnant. When you conceive, your body releases different levels of estrogen and progesterone. This happens in a similar way when you give your body these hormones through the birth control pill.
Estrogen and progestin will stop or slow down ovulation . TheyÃ¢ll also make the mucus in your cervix thicker to stop sperm, and cause the lining of your uterus to thin so a fertilized egg is less likely to implant. All of these things will help to keep you from an unplanned pregnancy.
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Types Of Birth Control
Since the age of ancient Egypt, humans have been aware of the harmful effects of overpopulation and depleting resources. Ancient Egyptians have the earliest records of instructions on how to make a contraceptive pessary.
Other early forms of contraceptives are coitus interruptus and ingestion of herbs that are believed to be an abortifacient.
For many Indian families that cannot afford three square meals a day, birth control is essential to provide the next generation a better future.
Todays working woman has a lot more choice when it comes to birth control methods. Indian women today can freely choose any method they prefer to use.
Some of the commonly known artificial types of birth control are the barrier method , hormonal, intrauterine method and Ormeloxifene .
These birth control methods involve either the intake of hormones that hinder the sperm from reaching the egg, using a physical barrier to prevent the transfer of sperms, or operating on the reproductive organs to block the path of the sperms.
Natural birth control is also available to people who do not believe that science should interfere in the natural ways of man.
Some types of birth control include behavioural methods, fertility awareness, coitus interruptus, avoiding vaginal intercourse and abstinence during fertile weeks.
There is also emergency contraception and permanent methods of birth control .
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Times You May Not Want To Take Combined Hormonal Contraception
First, know this: Combined hormonal birth control is totally safe for most people assigned female at birth. Every medical intervention and medication comes with risks and side effects nothing is 100 percent perfect, Dr. Sridhar says. But the available birth control methods have been extensively studied and are on the market for a reason: to prevent pregnancy and provide non-contraceptive benefits.
That said, some people are more likely to have negative outcomes. Before prescribing birth control, your health care provider will screen you to determine your risk level and figure out which method is right for you. Typically, theyll refer to the U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, a guide that details whether or not certain types of birth control methods are recommended based on your personal or family health history.
Here are some instances in which you might want to stick with estrogen-free contraception:
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Which Types Of Birth Control Can I Get Without A Prescription
You can buy these types of birth control over the counter at a drugstore or supermarket:
- . Plan B One-Step® and its generic versions are available in drugstores and some supermarkets to anyone, without a prescription. However you should not use EC as your regular birth control because it does not work as well as regular birth control. EC is meant to be used only when your regular birth control does not work for some unexpected reason.
Heres Exactly How To Find The Best Birth Control Pill For You
Thanks to the plethora of options at your disposal, choosing the right birth control can feel like youre blindfolded and trying to pin the tail on the contraceptive donkey. Even if you narrow your focus to just the pill, you still have a lot of possible choices out there. But if you do your homeworkand are prepared to possibly engage in some trial and erroryou can pinpoint the best birth control pill based on your needs.
Birth control pills that contain a mixture of estrogen and progestin are the most common type out there.
So, how do combination pills work to keep you pregnancy-free? During your typical menstrual cycle, theres a hormonal surge that triggers the release of an egg to potentially be fertilized, Justine P. Wu, M.D., a family planning expert and assistant professor in the department of family medicine within the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Michigan, tells SELF.
overrides that normal hormonal surge, and because of that, theres no egg released, says Dr. Wu, who is also a board chair member of the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Progestin does its part by thickening your cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to move and thinning your uterine lining, which makes it less likely for any egg that does get fertilized to attach to it.
- Your fertility should return pretty much immediately after you quit combination birth control pills, if thats of interest to you.
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Who Cant Take Estrogen
Women who are breastfeeding, have a history of certain cancers, or have blood clotting disorders should not take combination birth control pills.Some women are unable to take estrogen-based contraceptives, and sometimes thats a temporary situation, and other times its lifelong because of health conditions. Lets start with temporary reasons certain women may need to use progestin-only or non-hormonal contraceptive options.Estrogen plays a role in the development of breast tissue and helps produce milk during the postpartum period. Because of estrogens effect on the breasts and potentially on milk supply, breastfeeding women should avoid combination pills that include estrogen . For women with certain health conditions, combination pills are not the best option.The risk of cardiovascular side effects like blood clots or stroke is low with progestin-only pills but is a risk with combination pills containing estrogen. For that reason, people with a history of blood clots, stroke, or blood clotting disorders like Factor V Leiden Syndrome should avoid combination pills .Additionally, women with a history of estrogen-receptor-sensitive cancers should avoid hormonal contraceptives containing estrogen, including breast, endometrial, and ovarian cancer . Whether you use a combination pill or a progestin-only pill, you will still be able to prevent pregnancy. Still, its essential to understand how to get started so that you can have a good experience with your birth control.
Who Is The Minipill For
Doctors often prescribe the minipill for women who are breastfeeding or are in perimenopause it is also safe for women who cannot tolerate synthetic estrogens. In addition, women who are over 35, who smoke, or who have a family or personal history of blood clots should steer clear of synthetic estrogens. The minipill may be safe for women with these risk factors to use as pregnancy prevention.
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Does The Pill Protect Against Stds
Nope. The pill is really good at preventing pregnancy, but it wont protect you from sexually transmitted infections.
Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex really lowers your chances of getting or spreading STDs. Condoms also protect against pregnancy so using condoms + birth control pills together gives protection from STDs AND awesome pregnancy-preventing power.
The Ultimate Birth Control Comparison Guide
Choosing a birth control method is an important and very personal decision. Having thorough, accurate information at your fingertips is essential. Here youll find a detailed comparison of the most popular types of contraception available. Schedule an appointment with your provider to discuss your unique health history and fertility goals and to learn more about which option might be right for you.
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Use With Other Medical Conditions
You need to consider your overall health when choosing a drug. If you have a condition or disease, a certain drug may make it worse. The effects of Yaz or Yasmin would be the same on any medical conditions you have.
Many women can use these pills safely. However, you should avoid them in some cases.
Dont use Yaz or Yasmin if:
- youre pregnant or think you might be pregnant
- you smoke and are older than 35 years of age
Also avoid Yaz or Yasmin if you have:
- blood clotting problems, such as:
- a history of blood clots
- a history of stroke
- a history of heart attack
- certain heart valve problems or heart rhythm problems that can cause blood clots to form in your heart
- a problem with your blood thats inherited and makes your blood clot more than normal
In addition, birth control pills may not be a good choice for you if you have or have had:
- cholestasis of pregnancy
Note: Women of any age who use birth control pills are strongly advised not to smoke.
- Yaz: About 12 women out of 100 women may get pregnant.
- Yasmin: About 1 woman out of 100 women may get pregnant.
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A Joint Problem: Rheumatoid Arthritis And Hormonal Birth Control
nearly 75 percent are women13 percent of women may get rheumatoid arthritis in their lifetime.
At this point in my research into hormonal contraceptives, any disease that affects women so much more drastically than men I find suspicious. While reading the Nelson Pill Hearings , the testimony of Dr. Giles Boles, a professor of internal medicine, caught my attention. He was discussing oral contraceptives and rheumatoid arthritis. Like diabetes, this is another connection I had never heard about before.
At the hearings, Boles describes a 24-year-old woman who was experiencing mild rheumatic symptoms. After running some tests, she showed three abnormalities commonly associated with lupus. She had been taking oral contraceptives for 8 months and was on no other medication. She was advised to discontinue her oral contraceptive therapy and within 6 weeks all of her laboratory abnormalities had disappeared. Doctors continued to monitor her for over 2 years and she remained disease-free.
He also spoke about a two-year study published in 1969 that showed rheumatoid arthritis in women taking oral contraceptives increased more than 50 percent. Another study from the same year reported that 22 women with rheumatic symptoms had their symptoms diminish or disappear after discontinuing the pill .
That study, which was originally published in the British medical journal Lancet, was also discussed in Barbara Seamans book The Doctors Case Against the Pill :
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What Are The Risks Of Taking Birth Control Pills
may seem like an easy go-to option for treating hormonal acne, there are some risks associated with hormonal serious side effects that need to be considered before starting or inserting birth control and monitored over time. If significant side effects occur, it may be a good idea to consult your physician about a different birth control option
for women with acne typically contain at least 35 mcg of Ethinyl EstradiolDermatology categorized the different contraceptive types by their efficiency in clearing acne. We found the study super interesting, so we just had to share the findings with you!
According to this study, drospirenone was the most helpful in preventing acne, while levonorgestrel and norethindrone were the least helpful.
Having said that, many other birth control pills, including Ocella, Yasmin, Trinessat, MonoNessa, Apri, and Reclipse. As mentioned above, some of these medications come with additional risks and side effects that should be considered before starting.
What Is The Effect Of Combined Oral Contraceptives
and rarely mestranol. The usual amount is 2050 µg.
Estrogen effect provides some anti-androgenic effect through 3 mechanisms:
1. Suppress secretion of pituitary gonadotropins, inhibit ovulation, and thus inhibit androgen3. Increase the liver production of SHBG and reducing circulating testosterone.
The choice of is essential for women with acne-prone skin. Women with acne need to avoid taking progestins with potent androgenic effects, i.e., levonorgestrel and norgestrel. A better choice of progestins for women with acne would be drospirenone, gestodene, and desogestrel with a weaker androgenic effect.The for women with Acne are pills that contain drospirenone and Ethinylestradiol. Examples of these pills are Yasmin, Ocella, Safyral, Syeda, Gianvi, Loryna, Nikki, Vestura, and Zarah.
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