Low dose birth control pills have less estrogen hormone than the regular pills. Birth control pills that contain 30 to 35 micrograms of estrogen and progestin are known as low dose birth pills, and pills with 20 micrograms of estrogen and progestin are called very low dose birth control pills.
Low Dose vs. High Dose Birth Control
Contrary to popular belief, a low dose birth control pill is as effective as a high dose pill in preventing pregnancy. The oral contraceptives produced in the 1960s and 70s had more than 100 micrograms of estrogen.
However, excess intake of estrogen might cause adverse side effects such as nausea and vision changes. Through trial and error, researchers found that low dose birth control pills could minimize these side effects.
Benefits Of Low Dose Birth Control
Besides protecting you from unwanted pregnancy, the low dose birth control pills can reduce loss of bone density. Some studies suggest that these contraceptives might diminish the risk of uterine and ovarian cancers. The low dose pills can be taken to regularize menstrual bleeding. Women bothered by heavy bleeding or irregular period can take these pills to normalize their menstrual cycle.
Side Effects Of Low Dose Birth Control
Intake of low dose pills causes few side effects. Some women experience nausea, breast tenderness, headaches or high blood pressure after taking the pills. These side effects might be avoided by lowering the dose of the pill further. Very low dose birth control pills can rarely regulate the menstrual cycle.
In some cases, they might cause abnormal bleeding. Some health experts fear that hormonal contraceptives might increase the risk of developing breast cancer in perimenopausal women. Prolonged intake of birth control pills also increases the risk of cervical and liver cancers.
When Should You Avoid Low Dose Birth Control?
Hormonal contraceptives are not safe for women with a history of deep blood clots, cardiovascular diseases and breast cancer. Birth control pills should be avoided by perimenopausal women who smoke. Studies suggest that smoking significantly increases the risk of cardiovascular disease in women on birth control pills.
How To Take Low Dose Birth Control Pills
Doctors usually ask their patients to take the first low dose birth control pill on the first Sunday after the period starts. One pill should be taken each day, for 21 consecutive days. Avoid the pill for a week.
Vaginal bleeding will occur in the contraceptive-free week. You can resume the oral pill regime from the first Sunday after the bleeding starts.
Conceiving After Stopping Low Dose Birth Control Pills
Ovulation resumes naturally after you stop taking the birth control pill. After taking the last pill, the first normal period might occur after four to six weeks. However, in women who took oral contraceptives to regulate their menstrual cycles, the first normal period might start after a few months.
A healthy woman without any fertility related problems could easily conceive after the normal menstrual cycle is restored. It is advisable to see your doctor if a period fails to occur within three months.