Seasonique is primarily used for preventing pregnancy in women. Because it is an extended-cycle birth control pill, Seasonique allows women to only have four periods a year. This prescription oral contraception stops ovulation, alters the cervical mucus, and changes the lining of the uterus. There are also several off-label Seasonique uses, such as treating acne, PMDD, and heavy menstrual bleeding.
Seasonique™ (levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol) is a prescription birth control pill (known technically as an oral contraceptive). The medication is taken by women to prevent pregnancy. Unlike traditional birth control pills, Seasonique is an "extended-cycle" contraceptive, allowing for only four menstrual periods per year (one every three months).
There are a variety of birth control options 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:
- 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
- Combined hormonal contraceptives, which contain a progestin and an estrogen -- most birth control pills, patches, and rings
- Progestin-only contraceptives -- some birth control pills ("mini pills"), injections, and implants
- 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. Seasonique falls into the category of combined hormonal contraceptives, as it contains both an estrogen (ethinyl estradiol) and a progestin (levonorgestrel). 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 Seasonique Warnings and Precautions for more information). As with almost all methods of birth control, combined hormonal contraceptives must be used correctly and consistently.
Seasonique does not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). In many situations, it is advisable to use condoms in addition to Seasonique to prevent transmission of STDs.