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Seasonale Uses

Pros and Cons of Extended-Cycle Contraception

Extended-cycle birth control pills such as Seasonale have unique benefits and downsides. Because this type of contraceptive allows for fewer periods per year, it may be a good option for women who experience bothersome symptoms during their period, such as heavy bleeding, menstrual cramps, migraines, moodiness, or other problems.
However, extended-cycle contraceptives are not right for all women. Some women find that having a period every month is reassuring (a way of knowing that they are not pregnant). For these women, a traditional birth control pill is preferred. Also, breakthrough bleeding or spotting between periods is more likely to occur with extended-cycle contraceptives, compared to traditional birth control pills. Some women may not like the inconvenience and unpredictability of breakthrough bleeding.

How Does Seasonale Work?

Seasonale works to prevent pregnancy primarily by stopping ovulation (the maturation and release of eggs from the ovaries). However, it also prevents pregnancy in two other, minor ways. Seasonale alters 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. Seasonale also alters the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium), making it less receptive to an embryo.
There is no reason why women need to have a monthly period while taking birth control pills. In fact, the "period" you experience while taking birth control pills isn't really a period at all. Because ovulation does not occur, the body does not prepare for a possible pregnancy by building up the lining of the uterus, so there is no need to shed the lining, as with a regular period. Instead, the "period" that occurs due to birth control pills is actually caused by a withdrawal of the hormones in the pills, which causes bleeding.
Last reviewed by: Kristi Monson, PharmD
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