Seasonale Uses: An Overview
(levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill
, also known as an oral contraceptive
. Unlike traditional birth control pills, Seasonale is an "extended-cycle" contraceptive, allowing for menstrual periods only once every three months (four periods per year).
A variety of different birth control options are available today. Each particular method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and no one birth control method is right for all women. Some of the most commonly used birth control methods include:
- Progestin-only contraceptives -- some birth control pills ("mini pills"), injections, and implants
- Combined hormonal contraceptives, which contain a progestin and an estrogen -- most birth control pills, patches, and rings
- Periodic abstinence, sometimes known as natural family planning or the rhythm method -- avoiding intercourse during the fertile phase of your menstrual cycle
- Withdrawal -- removing the penis from the vagina prior to ejaculation
- Barrier contraceptives -- condoms, diaphragms, cervical caps, and various other methods that physically block the sperm from entering the uterus
- Spermicides -- foams, jellies, gels, suppositories, and inserts
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs) -- implanted devices that are both effective and reversible
- Surgical sterilization -- tubal ligation (getting your "tubes tied") or a vasectomy (for men).
Some methods of birth control fall into more than one category. For instance, the Today® sponge works as both a barrier contraceptive and a spermicide. Seasonale falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). Some of the benefits of combined hormonal contraceptives include:
- An effective and relatively easy-to-use form of birth control
- Lighter menstrual bleeding
- Regular menstrual cycles
- Less menstrual pain
- A decreased risk of ovarian or endometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the uterus).
However, combined hormonal contraceptives may increase the risk of blood clots and other problems, and not all women should take them (see Seasonale Warnings and Precautions for more information)
. As with almost all methods of birth control, combined hormonal contraceptives must be used correctly and consistently.
In addition, Seasonale does not protect against HIV
or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Seasonale to prevent transmission of STDs.