What is low dose birth control?

Low-dose contraceptives are a low-dose form of hormonal contraceptives, which reduce the unpleasant side effects associated with hormonal contraceptives. It is no less effective than “high-dose” birth control pills, as long as it is used correctly, and many women prefer a low-dose method of birth control because of the reduction in side effects. Low-dose birth control also has many of the benefits associated with hormonal birth control, such as control of a woman's menstrual cycle and reduction of cramps, spotting, and PMS.

When the hormonal contraceptive was introduced, the dose was very high, because the doctors were still not sure of the correct dose. As a result, many women developed unpleasant side effects. The problem was made worse by the type of estrogen used in early hormonal contraceptives. As more was learned about estrogen and hormonal birth control, doctors were able to lower the dose and switch to a different form of estrogen.

A typical low-dose contraceptive product delivers less than 35 micrograms of estrogen with each dose. Many are in pill form, although you can also find a low-dose contraceptive patch, which delivers hormones through the skin, and a low-dose contraceptive ring, which is inserted into the vagina, where it delivers a slow delivery of hormones to prevent pregnancy. The ultra-low-dose contraceptive has less than 20 micrograms per dose.

Some examples of low-dose contraceptive products include Nordette®, Yasmin®, and Cyclessa®, among others. A doctor may start a woman on a low-dose product, switching to an ultra-low-dose birth control method if she experiences side effects from the hormones. Higher dose products that deliver up to 50 micrograms a day can be used in women experiencing heavy menstruation, as the higher dose makes periods much lighter and reduces spotting between periods. Doses may also need to be adjusted for larger women.

Low-dose contraceptives (or any form of hormonal contraception) should not be used during pregnancy. It is most effective when taken as directed, and in the case of oral contraceptives, it is essential to take the pill every day, ideally at the same time. Hormonal birth control also does not prevent sexually transmitted infections such as herpes, AIDS, and gonorrhea, and is not 100% reliable, leading many doctors to recommend the use of a barrier method such as a condom in addition to birth control. hormonal contraceptive. After abstinence and intrauterine devices (IUDs), hormonal birth control is the most effective form of birth control, with a failure rate of about 2%.

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