Enjoy your sexuality BUT be a ‘know all’ with your contraceptives!

Here are the basics about Low Dose Birth Control Pills -the brands, the ingredients and the benefits.

Reducing the side effects of birth control pills (cheers in the gallery!) led to the reduction of the amount of synthetic hormones, estrogen and progestin, that they contained and to the development of the ‘new generation’, low dose birth control pills. “Low dose’ won’t have much meaning for you if you don’t know what this term refers to so the basic information below may help.

So How Low can I go with the dose of hormone ingredients and still be effective at preventing pregnancy?

Good question, as not all birth control pills contain exactly the same amount of estrogen and progestin. I thought a useful reference for you would be a list of low dose and ultra low dose pills so that you can at least discuss the pros and cons with your doctor and see if you are a good candidate to move from say, a low dose 0.035mg estrogen pill down to an ultra low dose 0.020mg estrogen pill. You may find you experience fewer or reduced side effects. Generic brands in low dose birth control pills are also available.

Birth control pills with the very lowest amount of estrogen, that is 0.02mg of estrogen (usually ethinyl estradiol) are classed as ‘ultra low dose’ contraceptive pills. 0.02mg of estrogen is sufficient for contraception but the side effects of spotting and breakthrough bleeding are more common with these types of ultra low dose birth control pills than with low dose pills containing 0.030mg or 0.035mg of estrogen.

Here are some brand names of the “ultra low dose” birth control pills on the market, you may find a generic version on line now that you know what amount of estrogen to look for. The estrogen component is listed first and the progestin component second.

Alesse (Aviane,Lessina,Lutera,Sronyx) contains 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.1 mg levonorgestrel

Mircette contains 0.02 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel

Pills containing 0.02mg- 0.035mg.of estrogen are classed as ‘low dose’ pills.

Here are some brand names of “low dose” birth control pills :

  • LoOvral contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and and 0.3 mg norgestrel
  • Nordette contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg levognorgestrel
  • Ortho-Cept (Reclipsen, Solia) contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel
  • Desogen contains 0.03 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg desogestrel
  • Levlen21 contains 0.03 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel
  • Seasonale/Seasonique contain 0.03mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.15 mg of levonorgestrel

If you are a fan of triphasic pills, here are some low dose ones:

Cyclessa
Phase 1: ethinyl estradiol 0.025 mg and desogestrel 0.1 mg
Phase 2: ethinyl estradiol 0.025 mg and desogestrel 0.125 mg
Phase 3: ethinyl estradiol 0.025 mg and desogestrel 0.15 mg
In a study of 5,654 women, over six menstrual cycles, some used the popular triphasic Ortho-Novum 7/7/7 and others used Cyclessa. It was found that women who used Cyclessa had significantly less breakthrough bleeding or spotting and experienced an average weight loss of 4lbs. versus an average weight gain of 2lbs. with those who took Ortho-Novum 7/7/7.

Ortho Tricyclen Lo : 3 types of pill in the pack
each white tablet contains 0.025 mg ethinyl estradiol and 0.180 mg of norgestimate
each light blue tablet contains 0.025 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.215 mg norgestimate each dark blue tablet contains 0.025 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.250 mg of norgestimate
(Ortho Tricyclen and Ortho-Cyclen, each with 0.035 mg of ethinyl estradiol, contain slightly higher amounts of estrogen in each type of pill than Ortho Tricyclen Lo)

YASMIN and YAZ are two more low dose birth control pills containing 0.03 mg and 0.02 mg respectively of estrogen but they have a different type of progestin from the other pills called drospirenone (3.0 mg). On the down side, since Yasmin/Yaz can increase levels of potassium, it is not recommended for women with liver, adrenal or kidney problems but on the up side, Yasmin/Yaz appear to reduce water retention and therefore bloating and in some women gives a sense of well being. These pills also have a following among acne sufferers as they seem to improve this skin condition in a lot of cases.

As with many other types of birth control pills, Yasmin may not be suitable for you if you also take other over-the-counter pain relievers, potassium sparing diuretics, potassium supplements or specific medications so you MUST check this out with a physician first.

Nursing Moms

You will have heard of the ‘mini’ pill (progestin only pill or POP) which is usually prescribed for women who are breastfeeding or who have an intolerance to estrogen. A ‘Mini pill’ can be started immediately after childbirth or abortion. There is no 7-day break or dummy pills as there are with the combined pill and it must be taken at the same time every day. Micronor contains 0.35 mg norethindrone and NO estrogen whatsoever. In other countries some brand names include: Microlut 28, Microval 28, Locilan 28 and Noriday.

Pills that contain high amounts of estrogen or progestin are used for emergency contraception and are known as ‘the morning after pill’ or Plan B. One common pill is Preven -each blue film-coated pill contains 0.25 mg levonorgestrel and 0.05 mg (that’s MILLIGRAMS not micrograms) of estrogen – usually you take 2 doses, 12 hours apart. Plan B is a ‘morning-after’ pill that contains only one hormone, progestin (Levonorgestrel) Tablets, 0.75 mg.

Sources; Donnica Moore, M.D.www.drdonnica.com/faqs/00005246.htm,www.mydr.com.au

For A FREE E-BOOK that answers all your common birth control
questions,for lighthearted videos and a ‘no nonsense’ website that
tells it like it is, visit: my main website

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Comments on: "Low Dose Birth Control Pills" (41)

  1. Lily Mao-Cheia said:

    my daughter of 17 who is still a virgin, has very bad period pains (she’s been rushed to hospital twice in terrible period pains) and the Dr has put her on the pill called “Mirelle” I’m not very happy as her personality has changed into a quieter person and feels depressed all the time (this is her 2nd different type of pill, the 1st ones which unfortunately i cannot remember the name, made her cry and worry for nothing the whole day). can you please recommend a pill that has less side effects. Hope to hear from you soon.
    Regards
    Lily

    • Dear Lily,

      My sincere apologies for the delayed reply. I have been unable to attend to my blog for a while and do hope that in the meantime you have found a solution for your daughter’s dysmenorrhea (period pains). I feel so sorry for her as trialling various pills can take months but it really is the only way to find one that suits her metabolism. The ‘ideal’ pill should produce insignificant side effects.

      Taking Vit B complex for a couple of months is also worth trying as it helps lots of women with this condition- you do need to persevere with it though to notice an effect. Metaphoric acid is also prescribed for some women and using a tens machine is a favourite with many women too. Most pharmacies stock them, they send little electrical stimuli to the affected area to ‘block’ pain. I use one for my low back pain and it works.

      Back to the pill…..

      Please ask your Doctor about higher dose combination pills if the low dose ones do not reduce your daughter’s pain. I am not an advocate of higher dose contraceptive pills but they do work for some severe cases of period pain. .

      If your daughter wishes to remain on low dose hormones, Alesse is one of the ‘ultra low dose’ contraceptive pills you could mention to the doctor (the active synthetic hormones in Alesse are 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol and 0.1 mg levonorgestrel which are combinations of synthetic estrogen and progesterone ). Ultra low dose birth control pills have 20 micrograms of estrogen, compared with 30-50 micrograms of estrogen in regular birth control pills and reduce side effects but may not be strong enough to reduce your daughter’s pain.

      If your daughter will consider having only 4 periods a year there are pills on the market including SEASONIQUE, Seasonale and Lybrel that may be worth exploring. LYBREL is a birth control pill that delivers the same low dose of hormones every day but when you take LYBREL, the lining of your uterus does not go through the changes needed for menstruation and therefore, you do not have regular menstrual periods or a pill period. For more information, visit http://www.lybrel.com/faq/ and http://www.seasonale.com/

      I wish you all the best Lily and sincerely hope that your daughter can return to the doctor’s to discuss a few of these options in the hope that one of them will eventually lead to a positive solution.

      Kind regards Carole

  2. Dear Carole,

    Do you have any idea if Mirelle has been known to cause acne. I’m a 30 year old woman and has just started using Mirelle 2months ago. I was using the Evra patch for the past 4years, but had to stop using it due to the intense migraines it gives me. Since using Mirelle though, I have developed a horrible, itching rash at night on my face and I’ve noticed that my face and these pimples or rash tend to swell if I’ve been exposed to sunglight. Its been 3 weeks since all this started.

    Please help…

    • Dear Sazi,

      You may be surprised to hear from me after such a long time but even though personal family issues have prevented me from supporting my site for a while, I do like to reply to everyone who contacts me. Hopefully you have found a better pill to suit your metabolism by now but FYI only when suffering from acne always check the type and dosage of progestin in your BC pill. This component can vary enormously in its TYPE and strength, (even though the micrograms may appear small). Why do I mention this? Because this ingredient has a male hormone effect (androgenicity) so you would avoid a BC pill which had a high ‘testosterone like’ effect on acne and hair growth.

      Some pills with lower androgen strength include: Yasmin, Ortho Tri -Cyclen and Mircette

      All the very best Sazi,
      Kind regards Carole

  3. n.maraj said:

    hi
    my daughter is on mirelle for about 5 years. Her dermatologist advised her to go on mirelle and andrucur(50mg)10 to help with her acne(pimples). She has become depressed and her breast have increased. Could this be caused by the above medication? Kindly advise.

    • Yes, it is possible for this reaction to occur in some women as different TYPES and also doses of synthetic hormone can affect different women in different ways. If the depression is the main issue please investigate a BC pill with a lower strength of progestin such as Ortho Tri-Cyclen or Alesse.

      Low estrogen and low progestin BC pills that may alleviate breast soreness and also weight gain include: Yasmin, Alesse,

      Please forgive this delayed reply, I do hope that you have success with finding a solution soon.
      Best regards Carole

  4. n.maraj said:

    Dear Kate
    Does Mirelle cause weight gain, enlarge breasts and depression?Kindly advise

    • Dear Nirupamaraj,

      Thank you for your email and apologies for the delayed response, I am in UK at present looking after my mother so have not been posting to my site for a while.

      Weight gain with oral contraceptives can be due to fluid retention so your daughter may have noticed this particularly in her breasts. As everyone’s metabolism is different two people taking the same pill can can exhibit different (or none) side effects. An ideal pill though should have minimal or no side effects at all so it may be time to look at changing your daughter to another low dose pill like Yaz or Yasmin?

      During the first half of a menstrual cycle, estrogen produces water in your body and the natural progesterone helps your body to get rid of it. The synthetic progestin in contraceptive pills is based on testosterone and does not eliminate water, hence the tendency to put on weight and feel bloated. The synthetic progestin hormone, drospirenone, in Yasmin is less likely to have this effect. Read more about this on my main website http://contraceptivereviewer.com/?s=weight+gain

      Re your query about Mirelle and depression- may I ask WHEN you noticed the depression? Was it shortly after your daughter started taking Mirelle or 5 years later? It is difficult to fully answer your question without a clearer medical history, especially over this length of time but in the short term this link may be of some use. http://home.intekom.com/pharm/schering/mirelle.html. Some women DO suffer mood swings and/or depression type symptoms but these are not limited to Mirelle alone.

      I hope this has been of some use and I do sincerely hope that you will keep asking questions of your doctor and seeking alternative solutions to assist your daughter. You deserve to be satisfied with your doctor or health clinic so keep persevering!

      http://www.contraceptivereviewer.com

    • Thank you for your query and I apologise for missing your comment. I have been writing a book and only posting to my main website http://www.contraceptivereviewer.com recently so have been remiss in attending to my other sites.

      Hopefully you have found satisfactory answers to your queries about Mirelle by now but to reassure you, Mirelle contains a very low dose of estrogen compared to some BC pills and in many women this reduces side effects, such as weight gain and depression. However, because everyone’s metabolism is unique, no one can guarantee that ANY BC pill will NOT increase the fluid retention and therefore weight for a few women. Depressive moods and also breast tenderness/enlargement (mimics pregnant state) can occur in SOME women also and if you are unlucky enough to be in this category then I suggest you try another BC pill after 3 months or so. 3 months is the minimum time to allow your body to ‘settle down’ or adjust to a changed dosage of estrogen/progestin. When you find the ideal BC pill for your metabolism, you should not have any side effects. Good luck and kind regards Carole.

  5. Ok, I’m 29 yo and have been on birth control since I was 18. I’ve been on Ortho Tricyclen, but b/c I was getting ovarian cysts my MD changed me to Ortho Lo. It worked for about a year and then I began having cysts again. When Yaz came out I was excited and had my MD switch me to it. I’ve been on Yaz for about a 2 years now and I am still getting cysts, but not as often. My concern is that my boyfriend is telling me that my personality has changed b/c of my birth control. Personally, I really don’t notice it. I mean I have the moodiness like every girl when it’s that time, but if it is changing my personality then would I notice? I enjoy Yaz, but my question is are there any pills that have minimal psychological side effects? and is Yaz known for causing these side effects?

    • Dear Michelle, I am glad that Yaz seems to be the BC pill that best suits your metabolism but you really have asked a most complex question as far as personality changes go. I believe as we mature and become more confidant in all aspects of our life (including sexual health) our personality ‘matures’ also. Yes, some women do have mood swings/depression on some BC pills (Yaz is known for its minimal side effects due to drosperinone, a different type of synthetic progestin which in some pills does affect mood). Depression of course affects personality but if you are worried about apparent personality changes I would be doing a survey amongst your friends and family/workmates as well as your boyfriend since surely any changes would show up with them too? It sounds as though you are fine but I do understand your concern, talk specifics with your boyfriend and try to pinpoint exactly what he means by ‘changes’.

      If you wish to try low dose estrogen/low dose progestin BC pills these are worth enquiring about at your doctors/health clinic: Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Alesse and Tri Levlen. Best of luck and buy your boyfriend a bunch of flowers!!!
      Kind regards Carole

      • Sorry Michelle, I forgot that you had tried Ortho Tri Cyclen, just included it in my list- soscrub that one off! for yourself but it may help other readers. Good luck, Carole

  6. Erilyn Littlefield said:

    I am looking for a birth control for my niece who is getting her implanon taken out after having 2 TIA like episodes. Shis is a very small girl I would say about 110 lbs max. Is there any that you would consider safe for her?

    • Dear Erilyn,
      Thank you for your query and I am sorry to read that your neice’s Implanon has not been satisfactory, I can imagine how distressing the TIA episodes were. I assume that your niece is under the care and advice of a health practitioner who has confirmed the relation between the Implanon and the TIA? You do not state your niece’s age or whether or not she has been to a family planning specialist and had other options explained. I would urge you to consider this step as there are many aspects to her personal medical history that would make it impossible for me (and also irresponsible) to recommend a specific solution. Most low dose birth control pills are sold as ‘safe’ based on the research, trials, efficacy and general side effects for most women but as you know, everything we put into and onto our bodies, including food and drink, can affect each individual differently.

      If a long term solution is required and it is the progesterone hormone in your niece’s system that seems to be causing a problem, it may be wise to try a hormone free IUD before embarking on any type of low dose hormone method. Condoms are still essential to protect her from STI’s but I’m sure she knows this and is sensible.

      Trial and error, unfortunately is the only way to find a low dose birth control pill that affects your niece’s metabolism as little as possible. The generic brands are safe to use and Yaz/Yasmin seems to have its followers. The synthetic hormone drosperinone in Yaz varies from the type of progesterone commonly used in most BC pill (and mimicks the body’s own progesterone) so this is why I suggest starting with this pill over the others if you go down this route. Perhaps your niece was intolerant to the progesterone in Implanon, although I would have thought that problems would have arisen fairly soon after she had the rods inserted if this was the case. You will find more information on Yasmin/Yaz on my main website

      It is vital to ask lots of questions and not to be intimidated by any doctor. I do not know which country you live in but gather as much information about options available to you from as many sources as you can once you have a clear medical history available. List any other meds your niece is taking, including vits/minerals and let the health professional see this. I wish you every success and well done for being strong for your niece. Let me know how get on. Kind Regards Carole

  7. i been having a very long period the last time it happened my dostor put me on the pill and the problem was solved any suggestions to what i can take?

  8. Colette Miller said:

    My daughter who is 23 was married about a year ago and has been taking ortho novum 7/7/7. Every other month she starts her period a week early. She also continues to have acne on her back and now she is experiencing a low sex drive. I took this pill when I was her age and it worked wonders. What do you recommend for her?

    • Dear Collette,

      How lucky is your daughter to have such a supportive relationship with you over such a sensitive issue. I’m afraid that I must trot out the standard reply here first and remind you that EVERY woman’s metabolism is unique so what suited you will not necessarily be the best for your daughter. An ideal BC pill is one that is patiently ‘matched’ correctly to your daughter’s medical scenario/metabolism. This means a trial and error period lies ahead for any changing meds (usually of 3 months duration) until her doctor hits on the correct combination and dosage of estrogen/progestin that counteracts her side effects.

      Re the acne- it may help you to know that the androgenyicity rating of a BC pill’s ingredients affects acne levels: pills that are high in androgenicity and low in estrogen are more likely to cause acne (Levlen, Alesse, Ovral and Loestrin 1 20/Fe and Loestrin 1. 5/ 30)

      Ortho Novum 1/50 is higher in estrogen potency and lower in progestin potency so ‘on paper’ it seems a good option for your daughter but if the acne is still persistent you need to check the ‘androgenicity ‘ of this med. as well as the hormone ‘cocktail’ with your doctor for the specific BC pill you mention. It may be that a different combination BC pill which also has a low androgenicity may suit your daughter’s metabolism better. There is also the issue of low libido to address when selecting a change of BC pill.
      Don’t get confused with dosage and potency either if your doctor prescribes a seemingly lower dose of a hormone. eg. a high potency progestin can be used in a smaller milligram dosage and be equal to a larger milligram dose of a less potent progestin. Lots to discuss with your doctor and don’t leave till you are sure you have asked all the necessary questions. There’s no harm in seeking a second opinion from a family planning professional. Go armed with notes!

      It would be irresponsible of me to recommend any specific brand of treatment for anyone in this regard Collette, I sympathise and understand your predicament but I am not a doctor with access to your daughter. I am here to empower you to question professionals via research and collecting knowledge, which is what you are you are doing. Well done.

      PS. Yasmin, Ortho Tricyclen, Mircette are pills high in estrogen and with a low androgen potency IF you wish to discuss these with your doctor.
      I wish you and your daughter every success,
      Kind regards Carole

  9. Hi, I am using ortha evra patch for past three months. I would like to use a low dose birth control to be able to get pregnant quick. I was using depo for three months as well. Reading infertility stories all over the internet made me stop going to get another injection. But i have now realised that i have started to eat more since i am on the patch. I did not eat much on depo. Could you recommend any contraception for me. I am trying to loose weight.I live in UK..Thanks

    • Dear Fifi,
      I feel for your dilemma.

      Firstly, let me be sure that I have understood your query – LOW DOSE birth control does not mean LESS effective protection against pregnancy. If you use the BC pill as per the instructions it is unlikely that you will become pregnant. If you are concerned about a ‘delay’ in falling pregnant AFTER you stop taking the BC pill (or being infertile) you should only use barrier methods such as the diaphragm, cap, sponge, or condoms, either male or female, as a contraceptive then subsequently no birth control at all when you are really ready to become a parent.

      There is no real evidence to confirm that the pill causes sterility. If you ovulated normally before taking the pill, it can take 6 months for your body to ‘return to normal’ afterstopping taking the BC pill but in most cases the average is 3 months. There aren’t too many studies on this concern but the existing ones seem to show that 57.9% of women ovulated in their first cycle after discontinuing oral contraceptives. Women aged 30-35 appear to have had the longest delay in conceiving and as you will appreciate, there are lots of factors which impact on each individual’s capacity to conceive.

      Appetite can sometimes increase when on the BC patch and if you visit my main website http://www.contraceptivereviewer.com you will see that I am not personally comfortable with including this method of birth control in my reviews. The sad news is that even with some BC pills, weight gain can occur due to the retention of fluids, we can’t win! I do not know your age or how long you plan to use birth control. If this period is years rather than months, you may wish to consider a non hormonal IUD. Your anxiety appears to be about the hormone absorption so I strongly support your quest for another option to the patch. I encourage you to talk to your doctor about your fears around sterility and also to visit a family planning clinic for a second opinion. Anxiety affects your body’s performance.

      You are right to seek more information on this concern of yours Fifi as one cannot separate mind from body in such an instance , keep going with this, you will eventually find an alternative which gives you peace of mind ,
      Regards Carole

  10. Elizabeth said:

    I just found this while in search of some help to find a birth control that doesn’t affect my sex drive very much…
    I have been on Yaz for about a year and a half now, and about 6 months ago I complained to my doctor that I had absolutely no sex drive. He quickly responded that it was a great pill and a little extra effort on my and my boyfriends part would make sex easier. We’ve tried numerous things and I haven’t seen a positive change at all, in fact it seems even worse. I’m 21 and have been in a wonderful relationship with my boyfriend for 3 years. I would love to find some oral contraceptive that will help me asap! I can’t stress how much I miss my sex drive.

    • Dear Elizabeth,
      You sound to me to be a well adjusted, healthy woman with a wonderful relationship so it’s my bet that you are correct about the effect the BC pill is having on your body. I state this because there are MANY factors which impact on sexual drive including poor health, depression, some medications, tiredness/anxiety,etc. BUT the bottom line is that we are in tune with our own bodies and if you have followed your doctor’s advice with no satisfactory outcome then it’s time to try another combination of estrogen/progestin (or even just progestin) if you still wish to use the oral form of birth control. A BC pill is only a ‘ a great little pill’ when it’s effective with no significant side effects on YOUR body, your doctor is not taking it- you are.

      Loss of sex drive is an important, relation ship altering issue. When you take the BC pill, you are tricking your body into thinking it is pregnant so your sex drive (testosterone hormone) is supressed. What happens ‘normally’ in your body’s cycle when you are NOT taking the pill or synthetically altering your hormone levels, is what Dr. Rebecca Booth describes as the “Venus week’ . The Venus week is the 5-7 days prior to ovulation when Mother Nature prepares you for reproduction by making your body ‘glow’ (estrogen and testosterone are at their peak) your brain keen for romance and your attraction to men high!

      You probably know that it takes approximately 3 months for your body to adjust to a diferent oral contraceptive so if you are willing to spend some trial and error time in finding a pill that better suits your metabolism, discuss YOUR NEEDS with your doctor and if you are not happy with his response- go elsewhere.

      An alternative which you probably don’t want to consider are the non hormonal types of birth control such as the diaphragm, copper IUD and condoms. One way of looking at this though is that you and your boyfriend can choose to have some fun while trying out different forms of non hormonal birth control. The goal is to have a healthy and enjoyable sex life so try not to get too glum about the whole situation. Be persistent yet optimistic, laugh a bit and before you know it you WILL find a solution. My best wishes to you both, kind regards Carole

  11. will mirelle contraceptives help with my acne

    • Acne occurs when you produce too many androgens.
      Acne can be made worse if you take a birth control pill which is high in androgenicity and low in estrogen. What does this mean and how can you find out if your birth control pill ‘cocktail’ of hormones is of this type?

      It is the dosage/type of progestin that will affect your acne. Mirelle is also an ultra low dose estrogen pill and it could be that increasing the dosage of estrogen may just do the trick for your acne. Trial and error is the only way to find a suitable dosage combination that suits you I’m afraid as everyone’s metabolism is different. You want to avoid a pill that has a high testosterone like effect but getting that fine ‘mix’ balance of the correct type of progestin and dose of estrogen that is good for YOU can take a while. Persevere. and good luck.

      Kind regards Carole

      Yasmin, Ortho Tricylen and Mircette are pills which are low in androgenicity (male hormone effect) so it would be wise to discuss this option again with your doctor.

      For a detailed explanation of the link between birth control pills and acne go to my main website http://contraceptivereviwer.com/category/contraceptives-and-/acne

  12. hi DR. is the lo-femenal pill an outdated birth control pill? is it safe. i cant find any information on it. Please help

    • Hi Shirlene, Thanks for your enquiry but firstly I must point out that am not a doctor and always encourage visitors to this site to consult a medical professional if they wish to act on or follow up on any of the information I present. I try to keep my readers up to date with the latest information so that they are empowered to make informed choices about their contraception ‘career’.

      I have not been able to find a current pharmacy supplier for the Lo Femenal medication but Wyeth are/were the manufacturer so I suggest you go straight to that source to find out if this med has been discontinued, it appears so. If Lo Femenal suited your body, ask your doctor about substituting Lo Ovral The ingredients are identical.

      For your information, a study carried out in Feb 2010 (JRMS February 2010, 17 (Suppl1): 7-9 ) found that the use of this med over a long period of time ( more than 2 yrs) increased the liklihood of gum inflammation but I suspect that this would apply for many other BC pills also. Good luck,
      Kind regards Carole

  13. Hi I’m 20 years old I have been taking triphasil for about 1 year now but recently I heard there no triphasil nemore there is a generic brand called trigestral which when taking I have had endless problems which is bloated , nausea , back pain , n when I take the tablet I’m like sad and very moody so now I want to change I dnt av any acne problem I jus want a good pill that I wouldn’t have alota side effects with -I was thinking about Mirelle or Nordette which would be better

    • Hello Suzzi,
      Good to hear from you and I’m sorry that you’re going through a rough time with your change of BC pill. It is important to find an oral birth control pill that suits your metabolism and if you were happy with Triphasil you could try swapping to another TRI PHASE BC pill with similar ingredients such as Tri-Levlenor try BC pills which dispense the same daily dose of hormones such as Alesse, Levlen They all have the same type of progestin in slightly varying amounts (Levonorgestrel).

      Types of Pill Explained You will find out more about the differnces between monophasic, biphasic and triphasic pills on my main website here. Then you will be able to understand the diffences between the specific pills you mention.
      Mirelle and Nordette are not Triphasic pills but do have the same type of progest as Triphasil- also so at then of the day it really is a case of trial and error and of course availability and cost is also a factor for you. I wish you the best of luck, Kind regards Carole

  14. Lindsey said:

    Hi, I’ve been taking birth control pills since I was in high school (I’m 24 now), and was just recently on Apri for the past year. Estrogen pills helped with my acne, with only some occasional breakouts. I had to stop the pills because I developed a blood clot in my arm, and learned that I am prone to clotting. I was switched to the Mirena IUD, and have been on it for a month now, and my acne immediately worsened. I have it on my face, neck, check, back, and shoulders. I don’t want to deal with this for too much longer. Are there any other options, or low-dose estrogen pills that could help my acne and are also safe for blood clots?

    • Dear Lindsey, You poor darling, I can imagine your distress which certainly will not help to reduce your medical condition. Unfortunately any low dose birth control pill which contains estrogen is not suitable for anyone with a tendency to blood clotting so no BC pills containing this ingredient are ‘safe’ for you. As you will no doubt have been told by your doctor, hormonal type birth control options for you would contain only progestin (Mirena, Depo Provera shot). I believe that even Implanon, the implant is not recommended for women with a tendency to clotting, even though it contains no estrogen. Using a LARC (long acting reversible contraceptive) is probably the best way to go if you are internding to have children for a few years yet.

      You won’t want to hear this but really the best option for you would be to address each issue separately ie. see a skin specialist about treating your acne and continue using Mirena or Paragard (copper IUD without hormones) if this suits you. Using condoms seems old fashioned but it is safer than increasing your risk of blood clots and of course if you have multiple partners condoms are a must to protect you from STIs. Sorry I cannot be more help Lindsey but persevere, value you health above all and keep searching till you get that acne under control. Hopefully it will not be too long before a specialist can give you the relief you deserve. I realise that specialists cost money but what price your peace of mind and healthy future? Bets of luck, Carole

  15. Allie C. said:

    Hello! I’m so glad I’ve found this website. I’m a 20-year-old who hasn’t had a child. I’ve been on and off birth control now for five years. I have yet to find one that’s worked for me. :( I’m VERY sensitive to hormones. Some I’ve tried are- Lutera, Yasmin, the Mirena IUD and a few other pills. All of which either made me extremely moody/depressed, get breakouts, or gain weight.

    The first three months of Mirena were fine and I was pleased that it didn’t make me moody or gain weight (I actually lost some weight and was able to keep it off the whole time!). I got it taken out about 2 months ago after having it in for almost 8 months because I got horrible, deep acne on my chest, hairline and all the way back into my scalp, cramping and painful sexual intercourse. I also developed a yeast infection and Bacterial Vaginosis, all of which I’ve never had until Mirena. Ever since it’s been removed my acne, cramping and infections have all gone away.

    I’ve just started to get my regular periods again, which is why I’m starting up on birth control again during my next cycle. My periods have always been extremely heavy.

    My question is that my doctor ordered me Microgestin 1.5/30 and I’m just wanting a second opinion on it. Do you think this is suitable for someone like me? My doctor said it would most likely help with the acne.. but I also worry about weight gain. Is it considered a low-dose birth control? I would appreciate your opinion SO much. Thanks!

    • Hello Allie, Apologies for the late reply. I hope that the Microgestin may have worked out OK for you by now but if not…

      It does sound as though ANY type of hormonal contraceptive just does not suit your body, even the ‘progestin only’ ones. If it happens to be the synthetic estrogen ingredient that you react to, there is a new pill available now called Natazia/ or Qlaira which contains a more ‘natural’ type of estrogen called estradiol VALERATE and this may be worth having as another trial at some point.

      If it was me though, I would try a non hormonal type of birth control prior to any other hormonal type next. If you can tolerate an IUD there is one called Paragard that is copper based and not hornone based like the Mirena. Paragard will give you 10 years of protection and is worth talking to your doctor about. Your acne hopefully will go away permanently too. Microgestin is not an ultra low dose birth control pill either, there are others with less estrogen in them such as Mircette but if you are prone to having an acne problem you need a pill with a higher estrogen content and a low androgenic activity (info on my main website . Other non hormonal methods are more permanent and so are not suitable for you until after you have completed having children! I wish you all the best Andi, balancing hormones is a trial and error exercise and if you can avoid this so much the better. Kind regards Carole. http://contraceptivereviewer.com

  16. Hello Carole! I’ve been in birth control for about 6 months now. I was on Reclipsen for 3 then Desogen for 2 and now I’m back on Reclipsen. Although Reclipsen is a generic name of Desogen, I noticed that while on it I have scaly/red rashes/inflammation on my arms. I had a little less when I was on Desogen but I still had a rash. I’ve always had eczema and I think that this has potentially made it worse, especially since I’m in college right now and get stressed out alot. However I was wondering if you think that there is any other kind of pill I could potentially use that would reduce the rashes? I talked to an obygyn who is convinced that there is no correlation, but I’m convinced otherwise. Dermatologists also did not seem to believe there is a correlation and have attributed it to stress.

    • Hi Andi, You poor darling having to cope with this at college but I have to say that stress DOES play a huge part in skin ‘reactions’ so it seems to me that your health professionals are correct, especially if you are prone to eczema. HOWEVER, some women who take generic birth control pills have a reaction to the ‘fillers’ in them such as lactose etc. see further info below- there is a chance that another low dose birth control pill may suit your metabolism better but will NOT specifically reduce your skin rashes. You will have to risk possible side effects for a few weeks until your body adapts to the new pill. You are sensible to question and explore all possible causes for your skin reactions Andi and you never know, one ingredient in your generic pill, especially the lactose, may actually aggravate your skin condition so it IS worth investigating further.

      GENERIC PILLS (extract taken from my main website (www.contraceptivereviewer.com)

      No doubt you’ve bought ‘generic’ baked beans at your supermarket and been disappointed with the quality, especially if you’re a Heinz fan but when the term ‘generic’ is applied to a drug used in such an important product as a contraceptive pill, ingredients and quality are much more regulated. These medicines ‘do the same job’ in the body as the patented ones do and are required by law to contain ‘comparable’ or identical active ingredients and be functionally equivalent to the original. I believe that the FDA requires the generic brand to fall within 20% of the named brand in relation to its absorption properties. For this reason generics are generally accepted to have exactly the same medicinal or contraceptive effectiveness as the original brand name drug.

      Janya (Yasmin/Yaz) for example, contains active compounds -3 mg of drospirenone and 0.02 mg of ethinyl estradiol, however, some generics contain different ‘fillers’ or colours and human bodies being what they are, these may affect women differently from those used in the name brand. One common filler is lactose/milk sugar so if you happen to be lactose intolerant and were on a non lactose BC pill and you unknowingly swap to a generic brand with a lactose filler then its possible that you may experience slight tummy upsets.

      I am closely watching the testing of Yaz Andi so I am not suggesting you switch to this brand, I just used it as an example. Best of luck with your health, keep having the conversation with the dermatologist and enjoy college while you can! PS I know that EFT therapy has huge sucesses with curing skin conditions so it may be worth looking at this AND its a technique you can use to heal yourself. It works for me.

  17. Hey I’m currently using mirelle but i dont feel myself at all. I’ve been on it for a year and a half.I would really like to discontinue it but i’m unsure on whether to stop at the last active or inactive pill.

    • Hi Farzaana, Finish the ACTIVE pills to keep your body adjusted to the hormone levels if you are changing pill brand names only – the ‘dummy’ pills are not going to affect you if you stop taking them when GOING OFF the birth control pill altogether but if you are swapping over to another pill you need to carefully read the package label of the new pill to ‘seamlessly’ continue the transfer with the correct amount of hormones at the correct time of your cycle, preferably after discussing a new form of birth control with your doctor. It may be that you are choosing a non hormonal type of birth control next in which case stopping the pills will be OK so long as you use backup eg. condoms for the period of changeover. Good luck, Carole

  18. Hello, I have been on birth control pills non stop for about 14 years. I have always been on ortho tri cyclen until 2 years ago my doctor switched me to ortho tricyclen lo. I had never had any wierd side effects on ortho tricyclen or the ortho tricyclen lo. 3 months ago, I switched myself back to the regular ortho tricyclen. Ever sense then I have had very bad mood swings, acne, facial hair and cramps. Its seems strange to me that the ortho tricyclen never gave me these side effects when I was on it for 12 years. And on top of that I thought that ortho tricyclen was supposed to help acne, not make it worse. I am a very petite 29 yr old female. Someone was telling me that maybe the hormones in the regular ortho tricylcen are too strong for me now that I am getting older. Do you think that is true? Should I go back on the ortho tricyceln lo? Thanks so much in advance!

    Dallas King

    • Hello Dallas, Your doctor knows your medical background and I while he/she has changed your contraceptive pill for a reason he/she SHOULD have explained WHY to you. As we age our metabolism slows down so medications and their doses are adjusted (as the dose of a general anaesthetic is adjusted according to our body weight etc). Birth control pills are ‘trialled’ by us until one is found that suits our metabolism- the ideal pill should have no side effects! The tri phasic pills (like Ortho Tricyclen) mimic the body’s natural production of hormones over the month so in theory should be ‘easier’ for the body to accept. If the Lo version suited you I would give your doctor a quick call and check that it’s OK to revert to that dosage, which will be just as effective in preventing pregnancy BTW but always ask your doctor questions about ANYTHING that concerns YOUR BODY- you can bet that he/ she would if the boot was on the other foot! Just be aware that the swapping of pills will have thrown your hormone levels out of whack for a little while so give yourself time to readjust again. Best of luck Dallas Kind regards CAROLE

      • Carole,
        Thank you for your reply. I went back to my doctor and she has put me back on the ortho low per my request sense I was feeling so horrible on the regular ortho. But now being on the ortho low for almost a month, I am still breaking out two weeks out of almost a month of being on this pill. I guess it would be because my hormones are messed up from switching back and forth? That is my guess. I am really hoping that I can get my skin clear soon. I have never had these problems before and its is really getting to me. It seems never ending. Thanks so much,

        Dallas

  19. i urge to use caution when using yaz there are too many lawsuits out there due to side effects my daughter used ortho tri cyclen lo works wonders for acne but she had to get off due to excess weight gain we are trying cyclessa now its great u actually lose weight instead of gaining and for the ultra low dose there great but she had a problem with spotting continuously for three months so we got off of it wish u luck its a trial thing to find what works.

    Thank you for taking time to comment Laurie. I agree with you about Yaz. Qlaira/Natazia is a new BC pill that may be worth discussing with your daughter’s doctor and there is also more information about acne/weight gain and BC pills on my main site (contraceptivereviewer.com) that explains the connection between types of PROGESTIN and their effect on acne which may help your daughter.

    Unfortunately it can take 3 months trialling new meds. before the body adjusts its hormones and you find what suits your metabolism. I wish your daughter the very best Laurie. Carole.

  20. Dear Kate,

    Thank you for your enquiry re the effectiveness of low dose birth control pills. be confident that if you follow the instructions on the pack you will be protected. A low dose birth control pill has a practical success rate of between 95 – 99.5%. Most failures are due to incorrect usage, the most dangerous time to miss a pill is at the end or the beginning of a pack. To be extra sure, use a condom (or one of the new female ones) Anxiety over pregnancy can reduce the joy of sex.

    In general, “low dose” birth control pills are those that have 35 micrograms (mcg) or less of an estrogen (usually ethinyl estradiol). “Ultra low dose” or “very low dose” pills are those that have the lowest amount of estrogen in a birth control pill or 20 mcg (0.02 milligrams or mg). The 20 mcg estrogen dose is sufficient for contraception but pills with this so-called ultra low estrogen dose of 20 mcg are associated with more spotting and breakthrough bleeding than pills containing 30 or 35 mcg of estrogen
    IF you are taking low dose birth control pills and medication for an STI that contains doxycycline AND you continue to be sexually active, you may become pregnant due to the interaction between the two medications- go see your doctor soon.
    BOTTOM LINE

    YOU are responsible for that birth control pill doing its job in your body – regardless of brand name, generic alternative, combination or ‘progestin only’ birth control pill, monophasic or multiphasic, if you don’t follow the instructions and take your birth control pill as directed, it will not deliver the amount of estrogen you need each month to protect you from getting pregnant ….. so you and your partner will end up playing ‘nursery roulette’!

    Good Luck.

  21. Hi Amy,
    Hope you received the private email I sent you and that you are successfully managing your acne and your periods now. Kind regards Carole

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