Painful Periods

It’s a day that nothing will help. You live on painkillers, barely get to work and are not pleasant. What to do?

Several extended birth control options are available that can reduce your monthly cycles to only 4 times per year or eliminate them all together. On these contraceptive pills, the period women do experience is lighter, with much improvement in those menstrual-related debilitating symptoms. Most women would agree they could do without the headaches, nausea, vomiting breast tenderness and bloating. Family and friends could do without the irritability, anxiety or moodiness. Other benefits include savings on sanitary products, symptom-relieving medicationsand improvement in medical conditions like anemia and endometriosis.Similar to the traditional contraceptive pills, these extended contraceptiveswork mainly by preventing ovulation (release of egg from ovary). But how do I choose and are they safe?

What they didn’t do is equate these new recommendations to how often you should see your doctor. Don’t wait on potential problems or concerns because the annual Pap smear has been extended.

On May 22, 2007,Lybrelwas approved as the first extended-cycle oral contraceptive birth control pill. With continued use, it can completely stop the menstrual cycle. Unlike the traditional contraceptives, this pill is taken every day, with no pill free intervals. Most women will stop bleeding after six months, and resume their cycle three months after discontinuing the pill. Medical experts have not associated any serious medical problems with the lack of a menstrual cycle; however long-term studies are not available. Lybrel contains the hormones l evonorgestrel (90 mcg) and ethinyl estradiol (20 mcg), and women are exposed to these hormones daily, so there is no withdrawal bleeding.

Seasonale: vs. Seasonique

Seasonale was initially released in 2003, followed bythe next generation, improved version, Seasonique. These contraceptives are similar in purposes, use and performance. However, with similar names, they are easily confused. Both were designed to reduce the number of periods a woman experiences to four times each year.They differ in the last week of their 91 day pill pack. Seasonale contain no active ingredients during this week, so a woman wills experiences withdrawal bleeding.Seasonique contain an estrogenat a slightly higher strength than found in the first 84 pills of the pack.), this may reduce the chance of breakthrough bleeding.

On Seasonale, women will have seven days per menstrual cycle every three months. Those on Seasonique will have only four days per cycle and this may be better for women with heavy bleeding and severe cramps. They will also experience a lesser degree of menstrual related symptoms, and slightly better pregnancy prevention.

There is concern with these new manipulations of a woman’s menstrual cycle, but those taking traditional contraceptives do not have a regular menstrual cycle either. They have withdrawal bleeding while taking the no hormone pills.These newer contraceptives still have the same warnings for side effects as the traditional contraceptive pills, and include blood clots, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes, eye problems, cholesterol changes, headaches and gallbladder disease. Cigarette smoking, especially in women over the age 35may increases risk of serious heart-related problems. Women still need to be aware of the high risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, and will not be protected by using these contraceptive pills.

That will require a condom!