What Is Low Estrogen Birth Control?

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  • Written By: Anna T.
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 September 2019
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Low estrogen birth control is an option for women who would prefer not to use oral contraceptives containing high doses of estrogen. Most types of oral contraception contains fairly high doses of both estrogen and progestin, which are hormones that can effectively prevent pregnancy when taken daily by preventing ovulation. Low hormone pills generally work just as well as other oral contraceptives with the added benefit of less side effects. There are some women who are more susceptible to the side effects associated with traditional birth control pills, and doctors often recommend reduced hormone birth control for women who fall into this category.


Some of the side effects that are common with birth control containing higher doses of hormones are blood clots, migraines, and blood circulation problems. Women who are at higher risk of breast cancer are also often advised to opt for low estrogen birth control pills because the hormones in the higher dose pills could increase the breast cancer risk. These lower hormone pills are also frequently used by women who smoke and women more than the age of 35. Smokers usually have problems with circulation with or without birth control, and the higher dose pills could make this problem much worse. Women more than the age of 35 are generally more likely to develop heart disease, and the lower dose pills are advisable for women in this age group because there is less risk of blood clots and circulation problems, both of which could worsen any existing heart problems.

Women who are interested in taking low estrogen birth control can get it in a few different forms, including pills, patches, and shots. Birth control with higher doses of hormones is also available in these forms. Women who have problems remembering to take pills daily might prefer patches or shots, both of which are long lasting and are not needed daily. The patches are generally left on for a week before they need to be replaced, and the shots are most often needed just once a month.

Even though low estrogen birth control is considered just as effective as oral contraceptives with higher doses of hormones, pregnancy may be more likely to occur if a dose is missed. The higher estrogen pills sometimes offer enough protection to prevent pregnancy when one dose is forgotten, but the lower estrogen birth control may not. For this reason, a woman taking reduced hormone birth control should be especially careful not to miss doses. It might also be wise to use a back-up form of contraception, such as condoms or diaphragms, just in case.



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