Estrogen Birth Control Pills: All You Need to Know

Aarohi Batra
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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estrogen birth control pills

There are many significance of Estrogen in a birth control pill.

However, there are no Estrogen-only birth control pills to prevent pregnancy due to their mechanism and safety considerations.

The available birth control pills are a combination of Estrogen and Progesterone and are significant in preventing pregnancy.

According to a study, oral birth control pills have 99% accuracy in preventing pregnancy if followed as prescribed by the doctor.

But do Estrogen birth control pills only work to delay pregnancy in women, or it has other benefits also? 

There are more benefits of Estrogen pills, such as regulating PMS symptoms and PCOS, improving acne, and treating Endometriosis.

So, let’s dive into the topic and learn more about Estrogen containing pills to avoid complications and have safe birth control.

Significance of Estrogen birth control pill

Estrogen-containing birth control pills are given to women who want to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

Almost 25% of women aged 15-44 use oral medications for birth control. 

Women also use birth control pills with Estrogen for other reproductive issues.

However, Estrogen pills combined with Progesterone work differently and maintain the reproductive cycle.

Here, Progesterone maintains the uterus’s thick walls, making it unsuitable for implantation. 

It also changes the cervix to block sperm entry through the vagina, while high Estrogen prevents ovulation.

This way, Estrogen birth control pills stop the fertilization of the egg and avoid pregnancy.

Moreover, Estrogen-containing birth control pills are also effective in treating PMDD symptoms. 

The 2016 research shows birth control pills’ effectiveness in improving Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD).

The effective tablet, Yaz, is the FDA-approved birth control medicine for the same

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In what conditions Estrogen birth control pills are prescribed

Estrogen-containing birth control pills are prescribed to avoid contraception and resulting pregnancy.

However, these oral pills are also prescribed for other reproductive problems, such as the cases:

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

PCOS AcneSource: Africa_images
Acne – PCOS symptom

PCOS is a disorder caused by hormonal imbalances in women. 

According to WHO, it is a prevalent cause of infertility in women of reproductive age. 

Combined oral birth control pills are the most adopted method for treating PCOS.

The prescribed combined oral pills may help to rebalance the abnormal level of hormones in women and ovulate frequently (timely).

Premenstrual Syndrome

Premenstrual Syndrome is another reproductive problem women face. More than 75% of menstruating women deal with PMS.

To treat PMS, birth control pills may become an effective method for regulating mood swings, irregular and heavy periods, acne, and pain.

Menstrual irregularities

Oral birth control pills are the first line of effective treatment for women with irregular menstrual cycles. 

The synthetic Estrogen and Progesterone hormones in birth control pills can control the thinning of the uterus’s endometrium lining. 

It helps women with predictive and regular menstruation. 

Uterine Cancer

Oral contraceptives effectively work on the uterine walls and ensure a healthy lining.

Therefore, women who use oral birth control pills are less prone to uterine cancer. 

Their chances of suffering from uterus cancer are reduced to 30% and may improve if oral medications are used for a long time. 

How Estrogen birth control pills are used

Estrogen-containing birth control pills are taken orally (by mouth). However, vaginal birth control pills are also available.

The oral medications are mainly available in three different packages:

  • Twenty-one days: Take one tablet every day continuously for 21 days and avoid any tablet for the next seven days
  • Twenty-eight days: Take one tablet regularly for 28 consecutive days and start the new packet the other day
  • Ninety-one days: Use one tablet daily for 91 days and follow the respective columns for efficiency. Also, start the new packet right after the end of the 91-day course
Warning:
Consult your doctor before taking any pill, and follow the instructions carefully. It will improve the pill’s effectiveness and avoid complications in the future.

Types of Estrogen birth control pills

Estrogen birth control pills can be distinguished depending on the level of Estrogen present in them. 

There are three kinds of Estrogen pills:

High Estrogen-containing birth control pills

High Estrogen birth control pills are the most common and may include combination oral pills. 

These pills may contain 50 micrograms or more of synthetic Estrogen.

Moderate Estrogen-containing birth pills

Moderate Estrogen in birth control pills may vary from 35-50 micrograms.  

It has lesser side effects than high Estrogen-containing pills.

Low Estrogen-containing birth control pills

These pills are significantly more effective for women sensitive to Estrogen levels.

It has an estrogen level of 15-20 micrograms. 

It effectively avoids nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms in women susceptible to high doses of Estrogen.

Why is Estrogen only birth control not manufactured

Estrogen-only birth control pills are not commonly used due to their limitations. 

Oral medications containing only Estrogen may cause blood clots, nausea, dizziness, and other symptoms in women’s health. 

Estrogen pills are generally not recommended for women with high blood pressure, blood clotting problems, and heart attacks.

Therefore, oral birth control pills are available as combined or Progesterone-only pills.

Good to know:
Progesterone-only oral drugs are commonly called mini pills. They are a safe medication for people prone to venous blood clotting.

Side effects of Estrogen birth control pills on health

Nausea - side effectSource: Antonio_Diaz_from_Getty_Images
Nausea – side effect

Estrogen levels in the combined pills have significantly reduced with time because improving the quality of birth control pills with minimal side effects was necessary.

Still, there are a few side effects of Estrogen on women, which may vary from person to person.

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart-related problems
  • Dizziness
  • Acne
  • Blood clotting
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Constipation

Overdose of Estrogen birth control pills

Taking an extra-oral contraceptive tablet is not severe as the pill contains hormones like Estrogen and Progesterone. 

It can show symptoms like dizziness, vomiting, or nausea but no serious issues.

This was found in a case study on 52 Srilankan native people who tried to poison themselves by overdosing on birth control pills.

None were reported to be severely affected and discharged within a day of care. 

However, it is advised to immediately visit a doctor in case of severity and report the complications to cure it.

Precautions while taking Estrogen birth control pills

Precaution is better than cure. Therefore, incorporate these few precautions before switching to Estrogen birth control pills:

Foods to avoid

There is specific evidence that grapefruit juice and herbal supplements may interfere with the functioning of birth control pills.

They are responsible for decreasing the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Moreover, it can cause blood clots and breast soreness in women, making them uneasy.

Interactions

You can avoid interaction with some medicines when using birth control pills that may alleviate side effects. Some are:

  • HIV drugs
  • Antibiotics
  • Anti-seizure medications
  • Antifungal medicines

These were precautions to take before administrating an Estrogen containing birth control pill. 

Still, always consult your doctor to prevent serious health complications. 

Follow the pills as prescribed at the right time. Be sure to ask your doctor clearly to avoid confusion in the future.

This way, you can prevent any problems from your side and take the proper treatment if required.

Conclusion

Birth control pills are efficient in preventing pregnancy. 

However, there are no pills available that contain Estrogen only. 

Only Estrogen may negatively affect health and cause side effects.

Instead, Estrogen is combined with Progesterone to improve the quality and reduce the pill’s side effects.

Estrogen birth control pills can also help women to deal with other health issues such as PCOS, PMS, menstrual irregularity, and uterine cancers. 

However, the numerous benefits of oral medications do not mean they have no side effects. 

To avoid complications, follow your doctor’s guidance and the medicine as prescribed. 

You can also prevent some interactions and food to improve the impact of birth control in your life.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Estrogen birth control good for you?

Yes, Estrogen-containing birth control pills are good for your health if taken for the right cause. However, there are no birth control pills with Estrogen only. The tablets also have Progesterone, which makes them efficient. But there can be some side effects varying from person to person. You can easily avoid these issues by consulting a doctor before taking pills.

Can you take an Estrogen pill while on birth control?

Birth control pills are adopted if you want to avoid pregnancy and treat reproductive health issues. Birth control pills contain Estrogen (depending on its amount) and are adequate to use. However, on facing any side effects, please visit your doctor and seek guidance.

What are the side effects of Estrogen birth control pills?

Oral contraceptive pills containing Estrogen may cause side effects in some people. It can happen due to their sensitivity toward Estrogen hormone or negligence. People may face nausea, vomiting, dizziness, high blood pressure, and blood clotting symptoms.

Is Estrogen birth control pills effective for uterine cancer?

People using birth control pills are less likely to develop uterine cancer. The effective Progesterone and Estrogen in birth pills maintain the endometrium wall of the uterus. It also causes a healthy reproductive cycle in women.

Citations:
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