which birth control pill is best for me

low dose birth control pills How long after taking the pill is it effective?

Are Low-Dose Birth Control Pills Right for You?


Birth control pills have been the best method for stopping pregnancy in these United States since they did approve by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in 1960. They’re effective, readily accessible, and inexpensive.

Birth control pills are generally considered safe for the greatest women. While they do have any risks, more modern low-dose birth control medicines can reduce the risks.

Most birth control pills now are considered low-dose. Here include both order pills (estrogen and progestin) including the minipill (progestin-only).

Low-dose tablets include 10 to 30 micrograms (mcg) of this hormone estrogen. Pills that just have 10 mcg of estrogen remain listed as ultra-low-dose. Estrogen is in most delivery control pills, and it’s linked to an enhanced risk of health difficulties, such as blood clots and stroke.

The exception is the minipill. It’s possible in only one dose that contains 35 mcg of progestin.

Birth control pills that aren’t low doses may receive up to 50 or so mcg of estrogen. These are infrequently used today, while lower doses are available. By contrast, the first pill to enter the store contained 150 mcg of estrogenTrusted Source.

How birth control pills work

The hormones estrogen and progesterone signal your body to produce eggs and plan for pregnancy.

If a sperm doesn’t fertilize the egg, the levels like these hormones fall steeply. In answer, your uterus sheds the lining that had grown up. This lining is discarded during your period.

Birth control pills include either a combination of artificial estrogen and synthetic progesterone or artificial progesterone only. This manmade variant of progesterone is also recognized as progestin.

Estrogen plus progestin works in many ways to prevent pregnancy. Both work to stop the pituitary gland from creating hormones that trigger ovulation.

Progestin also reinforces your cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach any delivered eggs. Progestin thins that uterine lining as well. This makes it more difficult for an egg to embed there if the sperm fertilizes it.

Low-dose combination birth control pills

Combination birth control pills include estrogen and progestin. When they’re taken accurately, combination birth control tablets are 99.7 percent effective in stopping unwanted pregnancy. With typical use, such as missing several doses, the failure rate is about 7 percent Trusted Source.

Common brands of low-dose birth control pills include:

  • Apri (desogestrel and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Aviane (levonorgestrel and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Levlen 21 (levonorgestrel and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Levora (levonorgestrel and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Lo Loestrin Fe (norethindrone acetate and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Lo/Ovral (norgestrel and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Ortho-Novum (norethindrone and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Yasmin (drospirenone and Ethinyl estradiol)
  • Yaz (drospirenone and Ethinyl estradiol)

Lo Loestrin Fe is considered an ultra-low-dose pill, as it only includes 10 mcg of estrogen.

Effects of low-dose combination birth control pills

There are multiple advantages of taking a low-dose mixture pill:

  • Your days are likely to be and regular.
  • Your terms may be lighter.
  • Any menstrual cramping you have maybe less severe.

There are many disadvantages to taking a low-dose combination pill, though. These may include:

  • an enhanced risk of heart attack
  • an enhanced risk of stroke
  • a heightened risk of blood clots
  • reduced milk production, which is why doctors don’t recommend this pill if you’re breastfeeding

Other side effects may include:

  • queasiness
  • vomiting
  • headache
  • tender breasts
  • weight change
  • depression
  • anxiety

Low-dose progestin-only birth control pills

The progestin-only pill is often termed a “minipill.” This kind of birth control does also 99.7 percent effective when taken perfectly. The typical failure rate is approximately 7 percent Trusted Source.

If you miss a shot or don’t take the minipill at that same time each day, your chance of growing pregnant is higher than it would be if you used low-dose order pills. 

Although minipills can produce side results, particularly reducing or spotting between periods, the side effects often improve or leave after a few months. The minipills can also decrease the length of your period.

Common names of low-dose progestin-only birth control pills include:

  • Camila
  • Errin
  • Heather
  • Jolivette
  • Micronor
  • Nora-BE

These pills contain a form of progesterone called norethindrone.

Effects of low-dose minipills

Progestin-only tablets may be a good choice if you have risk factors that prevent you from using estrogens, such as smoking or a tale of heart disease.

There are other benefits of low-dose progestin-only pills:

  • You can take them if you’re breastfeeding.
  • They reduce your risk of endometrial carcinoma or PID.
  • You may have fewer periods.
  • You may feel less cramping.

The problems of low-dose progestin-only pills can include:

  • spotting between periods
  • more irregular periods

Other side effects include:

  • bloating
  • weight gain
  • sore breasts
  • headaches
  • depression
  • ovarian cysts


A study of nearly 1,000 women at New York University Langone Medical Center found that women practicing low-dose birth handle pills were more likely to feel pain and discomfort during sex than women taking conventional birth control pills.

Risk factors to consider

You shouldn’t take any order birth control pills if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are over 35 and smoke
  • have a history of breast disease, stroke, or blood clots
  • currently own or have a story of breast cancer
  • have migraines with aura


If you take your birth control pills at the same time every day, a low-dose or progestin-only birth control pill may be right for you.

Most doctors prescribe progestin-only pills if you’re breastfeeding.

If you aren’t as diligent about taking your pills at the same time every day, you may find that alternative options such as the contraceptive implantinjection, or intrauterine devices are a better option.

Talk with your doctor about your health history and your birth control goals. Together, you can select the best birth control option for you.


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