Birth Control Hormonal Methods (cont.)
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91-day birth control pills
The FDA has approved several birth control pills that you take for 12 weeks of hormonally active pills (84 days) followed by one week (seven days) of an inactive pill. A menstrual period occurs during that week, so that a period occurs only once every three months. These extended-cycle pills contain the same hormones which are found in the 28 day cycle pills.
Although users of these products have fewer scheduled menstrual cycles, the data from clinical trials has shown that many women, especially in the first few cycles of use, had more unplanned bleeding and spotting between the expected menstrual periods than women taking a conventional 28-day cycle birth control pill.
These pills are effective for prevention of pregnancy when used as directed.
Progestin-only birth control pills
Progestin-only pills, also known as mini-pills, are not widely used in the United States. Fewer than 1% of oral contraceptive users employ them as their sole method of birth control. Their primary utility is found in women who are breastfeeding or who cannot take estrogen for medical reasons.
Birth control patch
A transdermal contraceptive patch (worn on the skin) that releases estrogen and progesterone directly through the skin (Ortho Evra) is approved for usage in the United States. Each patch contains a one-week supply of hormones. It releases a low daily dose equivalent to the lowest-dose oral contraceptive. The birth control patch is easy for women to use because it works for a week, and women do not have to remember a pill every day. A new patch is applied every week for three weeks, and a patch is not worn during the fourth week, during which a menstrual period occurs. It is available by prescription.
What are the side effects of the birth control patch?
Side effects for the birth control patch are similar to those experienced by women using oral contraceptives. However, the patch may cause skin irritation at the site of application (near the bikini line, on the buttocks, or the lower abdomen). Occasionally they patch may become dislodged, for example, in the shower, and its absence may not be noticed. In August 2002, the FDA listed a failure rate for the patch of one pregnancy per 100 women per year, similar to that of other combination hormonal methods. It may be less effective for women who weigh more than 198 pounds. The patch does not protect against STDs.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/29/2016
M Samra, MD
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Birth Control Hormomal Methods - Experience
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Hormonal Methods of Birth Control - Patch
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Hormonal Methods of Birth Control - Injections
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