How Does Alesse Work?
As mentioned, Alesse
is a combined oral contraceptive
, which means that it is a birth control pill
that contains two different types of hormones. It contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). The hormones in Alesse prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also works to prevent pregnancy in two other, less important ways. Alesse changes the cervical mucus (the fluid of the cervix, which is the lower, narrow part of the uterus that is connected to the vagina), making it more difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. Lastly, Alesse alters the lining of the uterus (the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
Like most birth control pills, each pack of Alesse contains 21 days of active pills (they contain the hormones) followed by 7 days of inactive pills (with no active ingredients). This gives your body a break from the hormones, causing you to have a period.
Alesse Uses in Children and Teens
Alesse is approved for use in women of reproductive age. This means that it is not approved for use in girls who have not yet had their first menstrual period.
Off-Label Alesse Uses
On occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Alesse for something other than contraception. This is called an "off-label
" use. At this time, off-label Alesse uses include treatment of the following conditions:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Painful menstrual periods
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).