Low estrogen birth control pills have several advantages over the regular oral contraceptive pills. However, they also have certain side effects. Know all about their safety aspects, consumption, and brands available, through this article.
Birth control pills are the most widely-used option by women to avoid pregnancy, all over the world. But traditional birth control pills come with their share of side effects. Women are getting more conscious about their health in recent times, and hence, making trend are the new-age birth control pills with low doses of estrogen.
Now, many might actually wonder what this is all about, and whether the benefits overwhelm the drawbacks! Well, to understand low estrogen birth control pills better, let us first discuss birth control and the term estrogen.
Birth Control Pills and the Role of Hormones
Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptive pills, contain a single hormone called progestin or a combination of estrogen and progesterone (also called combination pill). These hormones are also called female sex hormones. The combination pill is most commonly used by women. The combination of estrogen and progesterone prevents the release of eggs from the ovaries, changes the mucus surrounding the opening of the uterus, and changes the lining of the uterus, so as to avoid pregnancy.
Birth Control Pills with Low Estrogen
Traditional birth control pills are most effective as a birth control option, but these pills may also cause certain side effects. Acne, breast tenderness, breast enlargement, nausea, vomiting, bloating, headaches, decrease in sex drive, etc., are some of the common side effects of birth control pills.
All these side effects can be avoided to a great extent by using birth control pills with low amounts of estrogen. Research and studies suggest that pills that have a relatively lower amount of estrogen hormone, cause lesser side effects as compared to the regular ones.
Low Estrogen – How Does it Help?
Regular birth control pills contain more than 40 mcg of the hormone estrogen in them. Low estrogen birth control pills have lesser amount of estrogen, usually 30 to 35 mcg . There are pills that have even lesser doses of estrogen in them, 20 mcg or less. These are called ultra-low dose estrogen birth control pills. They are as effective as the regular birth control pills. Even the lowest dose of estrogen is effective in preventing pregnancy. These pills with low estrogen are easy on the side effects caused by those pills with high doses of hormones.
Low estrogen pills not only have less side effects, but also to tackle other issues like menstruation-related problems, such as a heavy or irregular period, protection from diseases like ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, etc. However, it is observed that these pills may not be suitable for women who have a history of deep blood clots (thrombosis), heart stroke, and breast cancer. They may also not be effective for women who smoke.
Low Estrogen Pills – Merits
As discussed above, low estrogen pills are as effective as the traditional pills. They are 99% effective as far as pregnancy prevention is concerned. These pills also improve overall health and any menstrual issues. They collectively make the user lead a life free from untimely periods.
When a woman, who normally suffers from irregular menstrual periods and heavy loss of blood, takes these pills, she is most likely to experience shorter periods and lighter bleeding. Regular users of these pills are believed to be at lower risk of developing diseases like ovarian cysts and ovarian cancer. Several brands claim that such pills can improve the symptoms and seriousness of acne. Studies have also proved that birth control pills with low estrogen help in reducing acne, and controlling and curing skin diseases.
Women dealing with perimenopause and menopause symptoms like hot flashes also benefit from these pills. It is believed that the low estrogen in these pills substantially reduces hot flashes.
Low Estrogen Pills – Demerits
It may seem that low estrogen pills are amazing and benefit consumers in a number of ways. The conception is true only to some extent. Not all effects associated with these are positive. There are certain side effects of these pills too.
Not all women face these side effects, but those who do, complain of nausea and tenderness in the breasts. Some women also experience mild to severe headaches. The intensity of pain and heaviness in the head differs from case to case. According to some medical professionals, most of the regular users develop high blood pressure and health issues related to it. Thus, you see that low estrogen pills, though beneficial, may also cause some negative effects on a woman’s health.
Most of these pills are available in a 21- or 28-day pack. Combination pills are available in different phases. They are differentiated by the variations in estrogen and progesterone compositions, mainly:
Monophasic – these pills contain estrogen and progesterone in same amounts.
Biphasic – the amount of hormones vary once during the entire course of 28 days, mostly during the menstrual cycle.
Triphasic – the amount of hormones in these pills vary three times during the entire course.
Quadriphasic – these pills change the amount of hormones four times in the total duration of the course.
Some common brands are mentioned below. However, they are strictly for informative purposes. One should always consult a medical expert for an effective birth control pill, as the composition of each pill is different. Only after a study of the medical history and other underlying health issues (if any) of an individual, the most suitable pill can be suggested by a medical professional.
- Lo Ovral
- Levlen 21
Oral contraceptives are the most commonly-used option for birth control. There are many factors that need to be considered when opting for a birth control pill. Even for low estrogen birth control pills, you need to discuss with a doctor. Every woman has a different menstrual cycle, and the body may adapt differently to birth control pills. A lot of calculation and science goes into deciding which pill may suit you. So never opt for self medication. Always opt for proper medical help and guidance.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is purely for informative purposes, and should not be used as a replacement for professional medical advice.