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October 5, 2009

Oral Contraceptives: 21/7, 24/4 or Continuous use?

18% of women ages 15-49 use a combined oral contraceptive (COC). Of all Canadian women who use a form of birth control, 32% chose COCs as their primary form of contraception. Birth control pills were first made to be taken for 21 days before a seven day hormone-free period. Today, this 21/7 regimen is the standard dosing regimen for oral contraceptives, however there is also a newer 24/4 regimen that may have even more benefits than the standard dose of 21/7.

Many of the Canadian women taking COCs today still follow the 21/7 dose, however it is not necessary. There are many women who choose to forgo their menstrual period all together by using contraceptives continuously without a hormone free interval. All available contraceptives (oral, trans-dermal, vaginal) can be used in a continuous regimen therefore eliminating a bleeding period. This contraceptive method is becoming popular among Canadian women who are comfortable with eliminating their menstrual period.

90% of all menstruating women have reported some form of premenstrual symptoms. 30% of these women have been diagnosed with PMS, and 8% have been diagnosed with an extreme form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder. Women taking COCs that contain progestin drospirenone, have noticed relief in minor PMS symptoms including physical and emotional PMS symptoms. COCS have even been successful in alleviating symptoms of severe PMS and PMDD in some women.

There are a number of benefits that the continuous/extended COC use has shown. Some of these benefits include the lessening of menstrual pain, headaches, bloating and swelling, acne, breast tenderness, and shorter periods. Continuous use, however, may cause spotting or unscheduled bleeding.

The benefits of the new 24/4 regimen include a more efficient suppressing of ovarian activity, that those who take a 21/7 hormone break increase their endogenous hormone levels which making ovulation more likely, therefore giving them a higher risk of becoming pregnant and developing ovarian cysts than women who use the 24/4 regimen. The 24/4 regimen prevents hormonal fluctuations helping to improve the quality of life for its users.Types of birth control pills and their dosage:

21/7 Regimen: Alesse, Yasmin, Cyclen

24/4 Regimen: Yaz, Loestrin 24 Fe

Extended Regimen: Seasonique

Birth Control Buzz is a service company that provides birth control prices, types of birth control(prescription required), health administrative services, and birth control statistics predominantly to US patients seeking to purchase pharmaceuticals on-line. For more information, call 1-866-868-8850 or visit http://www.birthcontrolbuzz.com/.

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