How Do Progestins Differ From Natural Progesterone
Before we get into potential side effects of progestins, some important background info.
If you are wondering whether to take a progestin-containing birth control or medication, itâs important to know about the different kinds of progestin and how they might affect your body.
Progestins are created in a lab, usually starting with a hormone as a building block. Most progestins are created from testosterone, some from progesterone, and one is a type of spirolactone .
Progestins are sometimes grouped in “generations,” which refer to how long they have been on the market. A more useful classification system to understand their effects is to group them by structure based on the hormone from which they were created .
The chemical structure of progestins is different from natural progesterone. These small changes in shape will impact the way they interact with hormone receptors in your body.
Progestins may attach to more than just progesterone receptors in the body.
Progestins may also bind to receptors for:
other hormones, like mineralocorticoids, or glucocorticoids
If progestins bind to these receptors, they can cause different side effectsâdepending on whether the progestin activates or blocks the receptor .
What Are Contraceptives Used For
Contraceptives are mostly used to help prevent women from becoming pregnant. Some hormonal contraceptives may also be prescribed to:
- Help with acne control
- Prevent ovulation and pregnancy in women with primary ovarian insufficiency
- Reduce pain and cramping during menstruation
- Reduce the symptoms of endometriosis, polycystic ovary syndrome , premenstrual syndrome or premenstrual dysphoric disorder .
Emergency contraceptives are contraceptives that are taken within a few days after unprotected sex to help prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg and possible resulting pregnancy.
Condoms are contraceptives that offer the most protection against sexually transmitted infections, although protection is not 100%.
Low Dose Birth Control Pills
Low dose combination birth control pills are considered just as effective as their higher dose counterparts. They usually contain only 20 micrograms of estrogen, and so have fewer of the side effects of higher doses of estrogen such as bloating and breast tenderness.
These types of lower estrogen-containing BCPS, however, may cause increased spotting between periods. For those women that can take the lower dose pills, it can be worth looking into as mentioned above the side effects are less in number as well as severity.
Again, risk factors are going to deal with family history as well as lifestyle. If you havent heard it before, smoking is not good for any type of health and can lead to complications when combined with birth control.
Examples of low dose birth control pills brands in India include:
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How To Choose Your Birth Control Method
If youre a sexually active woman and being a mother is not part of your plan at the moment, then you need to take the birth control thing seriously. If youre new to this, you might want to ask your gynaecologist for answers or visit a reproductive health clinic.
Being shy about things is not smart in todays age. If you feel embarrassed to ask questions, you might be dealing with a more embarrassing situation when you have to go in for an abortion.
When recommending the right birth control method for you, the doctor will need to check your general health and preferences.
An important aspect of birth control pills is being able to remember to take them as often as required. If, for instance, you want to take birth control pills but you know you will forget about taking it in the mornings you might want to choose another method.
Other issues include previous pregnancy experiences, issues concerning embarrassing your partner or yourself for that matter, the openness of your partner to the method, the risks of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases , and other concerns or unanswered questions about your method of choice.
Some questions are hard to deal with while others are not. But to protect your health and prevent unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases, these are questions are important to ask sooner than later.
The Crucial Difference Between Progesterone And Progestins
Progestins such as drospirenone, levonorgestrel, or medroxyprogesterone are not progesterone.
Thats because progesterone is not a generic term like estrogen. Instead, progesterone refers only to the hormone made by the corpus luteum or taken as oral micronized progesterone.
Consider the structural difference between progesterone and the progestin drug levonorgestrel, which is used in many oral contraceptives, implants, hormonal IUDs, and the morning-after pill.
Can you spot the difference?
Levonorgestrel is actually more similar to testosterone than it is to progesterone, which is why it can cause hair loss and weight gain.
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What You Need To Know About Progestin
Progestin is a synthetic form of progesterone, which is a female hormone found in a womans body. As a naturally occurring hormone, progesterone is released from the ovaries to prepare the body for pregnancy. Progesterone also plays an important role during pregnancy. It contributes to maternal breast tissue growth while also preventing lactation, and prepares the body for labor by strengthening the wall muscles around the pelvic area.
Some common uses for progestin in products outside of contraception include treating abnormal uterine bleeding, severe premenstrual syndrome , and postmenopausal hormone replacement therapy.
Do progestin products have any adverse side effects? When taking oral contraceptives that contain progestin, some women may experience side effects including ovarian cysts, breast tenderness, headaches, fatigue, nausea, and hair thinning.
Other studies analyzing other side effects, such as the impact on sex drive and development of mood disturbances, are limited in terms of evidence and may offer conflicting views.
If youre experiencing any adverse side effects when taking oral contraceptives, make sure to talk to your doctor.
Dangers And Side Effects
If you get pregnant while taking the minipill, it can cause problems. Youâre more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, such as in a fallopian tube. You wonât be able to continue with your pregnancy, and you may need surgery to remove the fetus.
Possible side effects of the minipill include:
Which Type Of Birth Control Pill Is Best For You
Theres no best birth control pill for everyone. In fact, theres no best birth control pill period. The best birth control pill is subjective, and all depends on you. Combined birth control pills and progestin-only pills both offer a range of unique advantages and disadvantages, meaning that one type of pill could be a better match for your needs, lifestyle and health than the other.
As with anything contraceptive-related, the best tactic is to talk to your doctor about your needs and expectations. Theyll be able to choose a form that offers the protection you need while helping you avoid any health risks and adverse birth control side effects.
Are Contraceptives Safe
Hormonal contraceptives may not be suitable for some women especially those with certain types of cancer, at higher risk of clotting or strokes, liver disease, severe headaches, undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, uncontrolled high blood pressure, or heart disease. Nonhormonal methods of contraception are more suitable for these women. Women who are pregnant who still wish to protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections should use barrier methods of contraception .
Serious side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives include:
- Blurred vision
- A severe headache
- Severe stomach pain.
Smoking increases the risk of serious heart side effects with COCs, including the ring or the patch. COCs should NOT be used in women aged over 35 years who smoke because they are at higher risk of serious side effects such as heart attack, blood clots, or stroke.
Certain medications and some supplements can make hormonal contraceptives less effective. Hormonal contraceptives do not offer any protection against STIs such as HIV or hepatitis. Male or female condoms should be used in combination with hormonal contraceptives if protection against STIs is needed.
For a complete list of severe side effects, please refer to the individual drug monographs.
What Is The Minipill
The minipill is a type of oral contraceptive that contains pills that only have progestin.
None of the pills in the pack have any estrogen. The dose of progestin varies and is dependent on the formulation used in the birth control pill.
A minipill package consists of 28 pills, all of which contain the hormone progestin. It doesnt contain any placebo pills.
To maximize the minipills effectiveness, youll need to take the pill at the same time every day.
If you miss a dose even by as little as 3 hours youll need to use a backup method of birth control for at least 2 days to be on the safe side.
Theres a new FDA-approved progestin-only pill called Slynd. It can be taken within a 24-hour period and still not be considered a missed dose, unlike the current progestin-only pill.
Because this pill is so new, there may currently be limited information and access. To learn more about Slynd, talk to your doctor.
The Differences Between The Combination Pill And The Mini
Finding the right contraceptive may seem overwhelming. After all, there are over 100 different brands of oral contraceptives, which fall into two main categories: The combination pills and the mini-pill. So, what are the differences between the combination pill and the mini-pill, anyway?
Many people do not know the difference between these pills, or that two types even exist. So, we figured wed make it as easy as possible to understand.
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Hormonal Birth Control Methods Are Kinda Like Two Happy Families
Three of the most common forms of birth controlthe pill, the ring, and the patchall work the same way. Theyre all considered combined hormonal methods, meaning they contain two kinds of hormones: estrogen and progestin. Other hormonal methodsthe shot, the implant, hormonal IUDs, and the progestin-only pill contain only one kind of hormonea progestin. The hormones in all of these methods influence the side effects and benefits that people using them may experience. You could think of combined hormonal methods and progestin-only methods as being like two families. The members within each family have certain similarities, but theyre all special in their own way.
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%
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Heres A List Of 10 Of The Many Birth Control Pills And Their Side Effects That You Can Take When Having Sexual Intercourse To Prevent Pregnancy
Birth control pills are oral contraceptives that help prevent pregnancy. Each pill contains small amounts of the hormones estrogen and/or progesterone . When taken correctly, they have a 91 percent success rate.
According to Healthline, there are two types of birth control pills, combination and progestin-only. Combination pills are more common, but progestin-only pills, which dont contain any estrogen, maybe a better fit for certain groups of people, such as those who have a history of blood clots or have heavy periods.
With the increasing daily sexual activities between two lovers, the demand for contraceptive options, access to birth control pills is becoming easier than ever.
Before taking birth control pills, talk with your doctor or a licensed medical professional to determine which type is right for you
You can go the traditional route and schedule an in-person visit with a doctor. Once you go through your medical history and discuss your family planning goals, your doctor will provide a prescription that you can then fill at your local pharmacy.
There are also several ways to get birth control pills online without an in-person visit to a doctor.
Telehealth services, like Nurx, Lemonaid, SimpleHealth, and The Pill Club offer online consultations, some via video and some through messaging or a medical questionnaire, with licensed doctors and healthcare professionals who review your medical history and then provide a prescription for a recommended birth control.
Why Is This Medication Prescribed
Oral contraceptives are used to prevent pregnancy. Estrogen and progestin are two female sex hormones. Combinations of estrogen and progestin work by preventing ovulation . They also change the lining of the uterus to prevent pregnancy from developing and change the mucus at the cervix to prevent sperm from entering. Oral contraceptives are a very effective method of birth control, but they do not prevent the spread of human immunodeficiency virus and other sexually transmitted diseases.
Some brands of oral contraceptives are also used to treat acne in certain patients. Oral contraceptives treat acne by decreasing the amounts of certain natural substances that can cause acne.
Some oral contraceptives are also used to relieve the symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder in women who have chosen to use an oral contraceptive to prevent pregnancy.
How Does It Work
Traditional methods of birth control — including estrogen-progestin birth control pills, the contraceptive skin patch and the vaginal ring — were designed to be used in a way that mimics a natural menstrual cycle. For example, a traditional pill pack contains four weeks — or 28 days — of pills, but only the first three weeks contain hormones that actively suppress your fertility. The pills for the fourth week are inactive. The bleeding that occurs during the week you take the inactive pills is called withdrawal bleeding. This is your body’s response to stopping the hormones.
Withdrawal bleeding isn’t the same as a regular period. Nor is withdrawal bleeding necessary for health. This is good news if you use birth control and want to have fewer periods, either for personal or medical reasons.
How To Take The Progestogen
There are 2 different types of progestogen-only pill:
- 3-hour progestogen-only pill must be taken within 3 hours of the same time each day
- 12-hour progestogen-only pill must be taken within 12 hours of the same time each day
Follow the instructions that come with your pill packet missing pills or taking the pill alongside other medicines can reduce its effectiveness.
There are 28 pills in a pack of progestogen-only pills. You need to take 1 pill every day within either 3 or 12 hours of the same time each day, depending on which type you’re taking.
There’s no break between packs of pills when you finish a pack, you start the next one the next day.
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When Can I Start Taking Birth Control Pills
You can start taking birth control pills as soon as you get them any day of the week, and anytime during your menstrual cycle. But when youll be protected from pregnancy depends on when you start and the kind of pill youre using. You may need to use a backup birth control method for up to the first 7 days.
Talk with your nurse or doctor about the best time for you to start taking the pill.
Combination Pills :
You can start the combination pill at any time.
If you start taking combination pills within 5 days after your period starts, youll be protected from pregnancy right away. For example, if you get your period Monday morning, you can start the pill anytime until Saturday morning and be protected from pregnancy right away.
If you start combination pills any other time, you need to take the pill for 7 days before youre protected from pregnancy. Use another method of birth control like a condom if you have penis-in-vagina sex during the first week on the pill.
Progestin-Only Pills :
You can start progestin-only pills at any time. Youll be protected from pregnancy after 48 hours on the pill. If you have penis-in-vagina sex during those first 2 days, use another method of birth control, like a condom.
You must take progestin-only pills at the same time every day. If you take it more than 3 hours past your usual time, use a backup method of birth control for the next 48 hours .
Starting the Pill After Pregnancy:
Triphasic Birth Control Pills
Triphasic birth control pills contain three different doses of hormones so the hormone combination changes approximately every seven days throughout the pill pack.
Depending on the pill brand, the amount of estrogen may change as well as the amount of progestin. In a single month’s supply, triphasic birth control pills may have a slow increase in estrogen, and some pills may also increase the dose of progestin.
In each pill pack, the first few pills are one strength . The next phase of pills is another strength . The final phase of pills also change strength and are a different color. The last seven pills are placebo pills, so they do not contain hormones.
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If You’re Under 16 Years Old
Contraception services are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16.
If you’re under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist will not tell your parents as long as they believe you fully understand the information you’re given, and your decisions.
Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with young people under 16. They’ll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they will not make you.
The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you’re at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.
Page last reviewed: 2 February 2021 Next review due: 2 February 2024