Can I Take The Pill While Breastfeeding
The combination birth control pill contains estrogen, which can decrease milk production. If you are breastfeeding, your healthcare provider may recommend taking the progestin-only pill instead. However, some women may use estrogen-containing pills once milk supply is fully established, and a womans risk of blood clots is minimized.
Estrogen And Birth Control Pills
The;birth control pill;is 99% effective with perfect use, which makes it one of the most popular options for contraceptives. However, some women dont realize that all birth control pills are not alike. In fact, the makeup of the pills you take can determine what types of side effects and benefits you experience.
Do you know how much estrogen is in your birth control pills? Learn more about how hormones prevent pregnancy and the pill options according to hormone content.
The Standard Days Method
;In research by Georgetown University, this has been shown to be as effective as a natural contraceptive method and equal to the diaphragm and condom.
When you use this approach you identify the 12-day fertile window in your menstrual cycle, taking into account other fertility factors such as the variation of ovulation timing from one cycle to another, the lifespan of an egg and the lifespan of sperm .
Recommended Reading: What Does Estrogen Do For You
Using Birth Control As Prescribed Is Key
Practitioners always want to prescribe whatever birth control method will lead to the highest rate of compliance, Dr. Lew says. Any medication that needs to be taken less frequently generally has higher compliance. Thats why most OB/GYNs recommend IUDs for people who dont plan to get pregnant for at least a few years. You can get an IUD in and forget about it for years and years, and itll still be working for you, Dr. Lew says. The downside is that you lose some control because you do have to get it removed by a healthcare provider, Dr. Creinin adds.
What Are The Advantages Of Mini
- Mini-pills work better than barrier methods. Barrier methods include condoms and diaphragms.
- They may cause fewer side effects than combination birth control pills. They may reduce heavy bleeding and cramping.
- They don’t contain estrogen. So you can use them if you don’t want to take estrogen. They are also an option if you can’t take estrogen because you have certain health problems or concerns.
- They are safe to use while breastfeeding.
- You don’t have to interrupt sex to use them.
You May Like: How Can You Raise Your Testosterone
Effectiveness Of Emergency Contraception
The effectiveness of the morning after pill varies depending on how quickly you take it after having unprotected sex. For example, if you take Plan B One-Step within 24 hours, it is about 95% effective, however if taken within three days of unprotected sex, the morning after pill can reduce the chance of pregnancy by 75-89%;
Why Would The Minipill Be Used
There are a few reasons why your doctor may recommend a progestin-only pill instead of the more-common combination pill. For starters, the minipill contains no estrogen, so this could be a perk if you are sensitive to this hormone. Your physician may prescribe a progestin-only pill for you if you notice that you are sensitive to the estrogen in a combination pill. You may also be prescribed the minipill if you have a family or personal history of blood clots. Lastly, your physician may prescribe the minipill if you are currently breastfeeding, as it is safe to use immediately after giving birth. As always, consult your doctor if you are breastfeeding and looking for the best birth control option for you.
Read Also: Does Melatonin Have Side Effects
Medical Treatments For Endometriosis
Similar to the lining of the uterus, endometriosis usually responds to estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that control your menstrual cycle. The natural fluctuations of these hormones can increase the activity of endometriosis and aggravate symptoms, whereas steady medical doses of estrogens, progestins, and other medications that decrease natural hormone production can lessen endometriosis flare ups.
As a general rule, women are less likely to have problems with endometriosis before their first menstrual period or after menopause. On the other hand, women with endometriosis tend to experience more symptoms around their period. It is also believed that endometriosis may form when menstrual tissue flows backwards through the fallopian tubes and implants in the abdominal cavity and pelvis. Thus, suppressing your period with the following hormonal medications can help relieve endometriosis-related pain and prevent endometriosis from developing or becoming worse over time.
The Problem With Hormonal Imbalances
Migraines affect 12 percent of the U.S. population including children, according to the Migraine Research Foundation. They can run in families, and more women than men experience them largely due to hormonal changes.
Generally, migraines are launched by triggers, such as environmental factors, dietary components and hormonal changes. Shifts in hormones occur throughout a womans menstrual cycle. Usually around the time of ovulation, when eggs are released from the ovaries, women have a big surge in estrogen. Then right before the menstrual cycle begins, estrogen levels drop.
“Its usually that drop in estrogen that will trigger a menstrual migraine,” Rao explains.
In some cases, hormonal contraceptives can help manage migraines and even prevent them since they help regulate estrogen levels. This type of birth control comes in various forms:
- Combined oral contraceptives
- Intrauterine devices
- Progesterone-only pills
Combined oral contraceptives have both estrogen and progesterone . But controlling estrogen levels can be tricky because of how birth control is formulated and which type of migraine you have.
“In the 1960s and ’70s when birth control was just coming out, they contained higher doses of estrogen,” Rao says.
“But now, we have lower-dose estrogen formulation along with non-estrogen options,” Rao adds.
The other factor complicating matters is that migraines differ, so the kind you have determines how you respond to birth control.
Should I Avoid Certain Medications While Taking The Pill
You should always check with your healthcare provider before taking any new medications or herbal supplements. Certain drugs can make the pill less effective and increase your chances of getting pregnant. These products include:
- Antiseizure medications.
- Herbal supplements, such as St. Johns wort.
- Medications used to treat HIV.
What Are The Types Of Birth Control Pills
There are two different types of birth control pills. Both types contain hormones that prevent pregnancy.
- Combination pills contain estrogen and progestin.
- Progestin-only pills are also called the minipill. Theyre better for some women, such as those who are breastfeeding or have a history of blood clots and strokes and shouldnt take estrogen.
The pill comes in different dosing packets from 21-day pill packs to 90-day pill packs, to even 365 days of active pills. Traditionally, depending on the brand and dose, you take at least three weeks of active pills followed by two to seven days of hormone-free pills. This is called cyclical dosing. Most women have a menstrual period during the inactive pills. Some brands do not provide any inactive pills at all in the pack . With the 21-day packs a woman does not take any pills for a week. During this time, youll have your period, similar to what happens when taking the inactive, hormone-free pills.
Some formulations offer continuous dosing, which means you do not have any inactive pills, and a woman takes an active pill daily. Alternatively, extended cycle dosing is when inactive pills or breaks in the active pill regimen only occur three to four times per year. Skipping the inactive pills prevents menstruation. Your healthcare provider can discuss the best option for you.
Recommended Reading: How Much Melatonin For 5 Year Old
Its Actually Used For Doping In Men Sometimes Belinda Pletzer
Its actually used for doping in men sometimes, says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so its popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015
The hormone used by the pill is a close relative of an androgen that male boxers have used for doping
Weve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.
Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.
The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.
Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.
But there are some side effects.
More recent types of contraceptive pill are designed to be anti-androgenic, often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth
Even small amounts of testosterone can make some parts of the female brain get smaller and others to get bigger
Youre Getting Frequent Headaches
It’s a known fact that people with uteruses are more likely to get headaches and migraines overall; the hormonal reasons why this is aren’t super well understood, but fluctuations in estrogen levels are one potential reason. You might notice that you get headaches during your luteal phase, right before your period starts, when your estrogen is at its lowest during your cycle. If your estrogen is low throughout your cycle, it could lead to more headaches, but it’s important to check with a doctor to make sure your headaches don’t have another, potentially more serious cause.
You May Like: What Kind Of Doctor Should I See For Hormone Imbalance
What You Can Do About It
If you think you might have low estrogen, the first thing to do is talk to your doctor. They can test your hormone levels to make sure this is the case. Then they can work with you to figure out why this might be happening so you can get the correct treatment.
“If you have symptoms of low estrogen, you shouldn’t tough it out. There’s help for you!” Dr. Eyvazzadeh says. “And if you don’t have a doctor that is listening and paying attention to your symptoms then find another one. A gynecologist should be able to help with symptoms of low estrogen.”
It’s important, though, to rule out menopause as a factor. “If you suspect premature menopause, you do want to see your gynecologist, because women with premature menopause need to be on hormonal therapy,” says Dr. Minkin. “The rate of premature menopause is high enough that everyone should know how to check for it and the symptoms,” says Dr. Eyvazzadeh.
Having low estrogen isnât immediately dangerous per se but it definitely affects your bodyâs performance on a number of levels. If youâve read the symptoms and think your estrogen might be low, talk to your doctor about getting your levels tested. Your doctor can help you get your levels, and your life, back on track.
Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, MD, clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences at the Yale University School of Medicine
Why Do Birth Control Pills Contain Estrogen
As Ive mentioned, combined birth control pills with estrogen and progestin, trick your pituitary gland into thinking you are pregnant. The constant doses of estrogen each day are pivotal to this trickery because of the estrogen:
Prevents your pituitary gland from producing the follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone so that ovulation doesnt take place.
Thickens the lining of your uterus, making the environment more hostile to conception.
Don’t Miss: What Is Hormone Replacement Treatment
Whats The Difference Between Progestin And Estrogen In Birth Control Pills
When considering which oral contraceptive is right for you, two medical terms you might come across are progestin and estrogen. These refer to two female sex hormones that are used in birth control products. Outside of their use in contraceptives, estrogen and progesterone are naturally produced in the female body and play key roles in regulating certain body functions in women throughout puberty, pregnancy, and menopause.
As two common hormones found in oral contraceptives, understanding the differences between combination pills and progestin-only pills can help you select one that fits your needs and lifestyle. In this article, we will look at the major differences between progestin and; estrogen as it relates to birth control, and why the pill is not one size fits all.
How The Pill Works
Birth Control Pills disrupt your bodys normal hormone production with synthetic versions of estrogen and progesterone which suppresses ovulation, tricking your body into thinking it is pregnant all month.
Is taken in a cycle of 21 24 active days of hormones, followed by 4 to 7 days of no hormones, when a withdrawal bleed occurs but this is not like a regular period.
The combined pill contains synthetic versions of both estrogen and progesterone . Some birth control hormones like Depo-Provera and mini-pills contain progestin only .
Read Also: How To Fix Hormonal Imbalance
Sex Is Suddenly Painful
Low estrogen can also make sex itself feel more painful . Dr. Eyvazzadeh points to vaginal dryness as a symptom of low estrogen from menopause: if you don’t have enough estrogen, your vagina can dry out, and having sex without enough lubrication can be seriously painful. Dr. Minkin also notes that for some people, being on a low-estrogen form of birth control can increase vaginal dryness: “The amount of moisture in your vagina is sort of dependent on the amount of estrogen in the pills, and … one of the side effects could be vaginal dryness.”
A lack of estrogen also can thin your vaginal walls, another thing that contributes to pain during penetration. Dr. Minkin suggests a vaginal moisturizer like Replens if vaginal dryness is an issue for you.
Which Type Is Right For You
When deciding which form of progesterone-only birth control method to choose, you should take into account the convenience factor, among other things. Can you reliably take the minipill at the same time every day, or are you better off with the injection, IUD, or implant, which you don’t have to think about for months or years?
Also, if you know if or when you might like to become pregnant, you’ll want to consider whether a method that is instantly reversible is preferable to one that may not restore fertility for months once you stop it . The best way to make an informed decision is to discuss these pros and cons with your gynecologist.
You May Like: How To Deal With Hormonal Mood Swings
How Well Do They Work
In the first year of use:footnote 1
- When mini-pills are taken exactly as directed, fewer than 1 woman out of 100 has an unplanned pregnancy.
- When pills are not taken exactly as directed, such as forgetting to take them sometimes, 8;women out of 100 have an unplanned pregnancy.
Be sure to tell your doctor about any health problems you have or medicines you take. He or she can help you choose the birth control method that is right for you.
Frequently Asked Questions Expand All
You can start using this method for the first time at any point during your menstrual cycle. But you and your obstetriciangynecologist or other health care professional should be reasonably sure you are not pregnant. Follow these directions:
If you start taking the pills within the first 5 days after the start of your menstrual period, no additional birth control method is needed.
If you start taking the pills more than 5 days after the start of your period, you need to use an additional birth control method or avoid sexual intercourse for the next 2 days.
If you are switching from another form of birth control, simply stop using the other method at the same time you start the progestin-only pills. If it has been more than 5 days since your period started, use an additional birth control method or avoid sex for the next 2 days.
If you are switching from an intrauterine device , you have a few options. You can wait until you have been taking the pills for at least 2 days to have the IUD removed. You can use another form of birth control or avoid sex for the 2 days before removing the IUD and starting the pills. Or you can use emergency contraception at the time of IUD removal.
Certain medications may interfere with the effectiveness of the progestin-only pill. These medications include
rifampin, a drug used to treat certain infections
some drugs used to prevent seizures
It stops ovulation.
Recommended Reading: How To Regulate My Hormones
What Are The Best Birth Control Options That Arent Hormonal
I need a contraceptive that isn’t hormonal. I’m allergic to condoms. I’ve heard a copper IUD can be painful or dangerous. What are my options?
If hormones arent your thing, you still have a few birth control options. But first, when you say youre allergic to condoms, are you sure youre not just allergic to latex? There are condoms made from a few different materials out there, like polyurethane and polyisoprene. If you havent tried those yet, its worth finding out if they work for you because condoms are not only a great non-hormonal birth control option, but they also help protect you from STDs.
The copper IUD is the most effective and convenient of the non-hormonal options. Like all birth control methods, it has some risks, but overall its really safe. In terms of pain, you may have some pain when you get it put in, but that goes away pretty quickly. Some people have heavier periods or worse period cramps with the copper IUD, but that also tends to taper off over time. Talk with your doctor or nurse about the copper IUD to find out if its right for you.
The diaphragm, the cervical cap, and the sponge are also solid non-hormonal options, but theyre a little more high maintenance than other methods. They require that you take care of your birth control in the time right before you have sex, which isnt for everyone.