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Loestrin is a birth control pill that combines two hormones, Norethindrone Acetate (a progestin) and Ethinyl Estradiol (an estrogen). Loestrin can help you prevent an unplanned pregnancy or provide you with other benefits of taking Norethindrone Acetate/ Ethinyl Estradiol, such as reducing menstrual cramps, regulating your cycles, lighter menstrual bleeding with shorter periods, and easing endometrial pain. There are two strengths of Loestrin; your doctor may decide which is better suited for you.
When taken as directed, Loestrin suppresses the release of an egg from your ovaries by tricking your pituitary gland into thinking you are already pregnant. This causes a reduction of follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone which are required for ovulation to occur. As a back-up, Loestrin thickens your cervical mucus so sperm have a difficult time travelling up through your cervix and the final hurdle is an uninviting uterine lining that is thin from a reduced blood supply so if an egg does mature and become fertilized, it will not attach.
Some women are not taking Loestrin to prevent an unplanned pregnancy, but to relieve the pain of endometriosis. This can occur when the endometrium (uterine lining) starts to grow outside of your uterus and begins growing on your ovaries, bowel, or the tissues of your pelvis instead.
One of the causes of endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This means that, instead of your menstrual blood flowing from your uterus through the cervix and out of your vagina, the menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tubes and into your pelvic cavity where the cells stick to the pelvic walls and pelvic organs. These endometrial cells grow, thicken, and bleed during your menstrual cycle and can cause severe menstrual pains, fertility problems, and scarring.
You should not take Loestrin if you have recently given birth or there’s a possibility that you may be pregnant. If you are breast feeding your infant, ask your doctor if taking Loestrin is safe or change to formula feeding to avoid any health risks.
Smoking cigarettes while taking birth control will increase your risk of a heart attack, stroke, or blood clots. This risk increases if you are older than 35 and smoke a pack of cigarettes or more per day. Tell your doctor about other medical conditions you have and any current OTC or Rx medicine you take, including herbal and vitamin supplements to avoid unintended side effects when adding Loestrin to your daily regimen.
Loestrin will not protect you or your partner from sexually transmitted disease, including HIV and AIDS. If this is the first oral contraceptive you have ever taken or you are changing birth control pills, you should use condoms or abstain from intercourse for at least the first week of taking Loestrin so you can be sure it’s working.
Oral contraceptives will only be a effective as the person taking them exactly as directed. And even then, there is still a 1 in 100 chance of becoming pregnant.