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How do extended-cycle hormonal contraceptives work?

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Another option for hormonal contraceptives is the extended-cycle pill, such as Seasonale, which was the first one to be approved. Seasonale contains the same hormones as other birth control pills, but the hormones are taken in a longer cycle. That reduces the number of menstrual periods from 13 periods a year to only four a year. That means a woman who takes this pill will menstruate only once each season.

Seasonale contains the same combination of two hormones that are commonly used in other hormonal contraceptives, but the pill is taken continuously for 12 weeks followed by one week of inactive pills, which results in a menstrual cycle. Other extended-cycle pills, such as Seasonique and LoSeasonique, use a different configuration of the same hormones. Both of these pills use estrogen in the final week, with LoSeasonique providing a lower dose option.

From: Birth Control Pills WebMD Medical Reference

SOURCES: The National Women's Health Information Center.

ContraceptionNet.

Seasonale.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on August 12, 2016

SOURCES: The National Women's Health Information Center.

ContraceptionNet.

Seasonale.

News release, FDA.

Reviewed by Nivin Todd on August 12, 2016

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What are mini birth control pills?

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