Low dose birth control pills refer to those pills with decreased amounts of estrogen. The American Academy of Family Physicians notes that women using low dose birth control pills do so for the benefits of regulating menstruation, protection from ovarian or uterine cancer and prevention of bone loss. MayoClinic.com indicates an additional benefit of low dose birth control pills is to suppress menstrual bleeding and reduce the side effects common in use of traditional birth control pills.
Norgestimate is a combination oral birth control pill containing two different forms of hormones, estrogen and progestin. This contraceptive prevents pregnancy by stopping ovulation, changing cervical mucus to prevent sperm fertilization and altering the lining of the uterus to prevent embryo reception. According to the pharmaceutical company Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, which produces this particular contraceptive, the pill is a triphasic medication. Progestin is released in increasing amounts from week one to three. This hormone aids in reducing the menstrual bleeding while regulating monthly cycle. Side effects associated with this pill include headaches, nausea and spotting between periods.
Norethindrone Acetate and Ethinyl Estradiol
Norethindrone acetate is a low dose contraceptive pill taken for 24 days rather than 21 days, which results in menstruation lasting fewer days. Additionally, this pill also decreases the amount of bleeding associated with menstruation. Norethindrone contains a low dose of estrogen and progestin. The low dose of estrogen in this pill also aids in decreasing the weight gain and abdominal pain common with other birth control pills. Side effects associated with norethindrone acetate include headaches, yeast infections and upper respiratory tract infections.
Levonorgestrel is an extended cycle birth control pill that decreases the amount of periods experienced in a year. Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Inc., indicates that this pill has low hormones and allows for only four periods a year, rather than 12 because it is taken for 84 days instead of 21 days. Side effects of this medication include painful menstruation when it does occur, heavy bleeding and back pain.