Estrogen-free birth control pills

Estrogen-free birth control pills

Medically reviewed by Barbara Dehn, RN, MS, NP

Slide 1

Estrogen-free birth control pills

Can’t you take estrogen or would you rather not? No problem. Here’s what you need to know about estrogen-free birth control pills.

Slide 2

Combined birth control pills

Combination birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin. But not everyone can take estrogen. This includes people who smoke or have/have had:

  • A blood clotting disorder

  • Breast cancer

  • Heart disease or stroke

  • Migraine with aura

  • Uncontrolled hypertension

  • Liver disease

Slide 3

Estrogen-free birth control pills

If you can’t take estrogen or would rather not take it, an option may be an estrogen-free pill that contains only progestin, a form of progesterone. These birth control pills are taken daily.

Slide 4

Estrogen-free pills have fewer side effects

Most of the side effects of combination pills are caused by estrogen. So, pills without it cause less problems. Even breastfeeding women may be able to take estrogen-free pills. (If you’re breastfeeding, you should avoid estrogen, because it can decrease milk production.)

Slide 5

The progestin helps prevent pregnancy

The progestin can stop the ovaries from releasing eggs. But the main way the progestin works is by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg and by thinning the uterine lining.

Slide 6

Age matters with oral contraceptives

Although many older women can take combination pills, estrogen-free pills may be safer if you are over 35 and smoke or have health problems that make taking estrogen unsafe, such as heart disease.

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Consistency is key

It is important to take your estrogen-free birth control pill at the same times each day. While you should do your best to take your estrogen-free birth control pill every day, some pills have a 3-hour window, and a new option has a 24-hour window if you forget.

Slide 8

More than just birth control

Estrogen-free birth control pills can help alleviate several health problems. Many women take them to help manage:

  • Heavy periods

  • Endometriosis

  • Premenstrual syndrome

  • Anemia

Estrogen-free pills can also reduce the risk of endometrial cancer (cancer of the uterine lining), ovarian cancer and colorectal cancer.

Slide 9

Birth control pills do not protect against STDs

Oral contraceptives, such as estrogen-free birth control pills, do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including HIV. Using condoms is the best way to reduce your chances of getting STDs.

Slide 10

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about your birth control needs and what’s best for you.

This resource was created with financial support from Exeltis, USA.

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