Advantages and Disadvantages of Ortho Micronor Use
Progestin-only birth control pills
(such as Ortho Micronor
) have several advantages and disadvantages. They are the preferred type of birth control pill for breastfeeding women, since they usually do not interfere with the quantity and quality of breast milk (see Ortho Micronor and Breastfeeding)
. Also, they may be preferred for women who are at high risk for blood clots or other problems (which can be caused or worsened by estrogen), such as:
- Women over 35 years old
- Women with a history of blood clots, heart disease, and various other problems.
The primary disadvantage of Ortho Micronor and other progestin-only pills is that they are less effective than combined oral contraceptives
. Other downsides include irregular (and often unpredictable) periods, compared to combined oral contraceptives (which cause very regular and predictable periods). Also, compared to combined oral contraceptives, there is less room for error (missing pills or taking them late) with progestin-only pills. For instance, taking Ortho Micronor just a few hours late can increase the risk of pregnancy. Another disadvantage is that Ortho Micronor and other progestin-only pills may increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy
(pregnancy outside the uterus, sometimes called a "tubal pregnancy").
How Does Ortho Micronor Work?
Ortho Micronor is categorized as a progestin-only oral contraceptive. Because it contains only a progestin, it is slightly less effective than pills that contain both an estrogen and a progestin (known as combined oral contraceptives). Ortho Micronor and other progestin-only oral contraceptives stop ovulation in only about half of the women who take them.
Because Ortho Micronor is not very effective at preventing ovulation, it also relies on other mechanisms to prevent pregnancy. Ortho Micronor alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo. It also 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.
Unlike combined oral contraceptives, there are no inactive or "placebo" pills in each pack of Ortho Micronor. Every tablet contains the active hormone, and there is no break in between pills or packs. Because there are no breaks, menstrual periods often occur at irregular intervals.