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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » two questions about oral contraceptives

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Author Topic: two questions about oral contraceptives
audreytoo
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1. I have recently developed melasma (discoloration) on my cheeks. My dermatologist says this happens to some women who are on birth control pills (or who are pregnant, but I am not) and are exposed to the sun - apparently hormones make one's skin more sensitive. My question is, would switching to a Mirena IUD be less likely to cause melasma? I know it is also hormonal, but I've read that it uses less hormones and they are more localized to a small area.

2. I currently take my bcp (Junel) continuously to prevent my period. I never get a period. If I would like to start getting it again - meaning, if I take the sugar/placebo pills for the fourth week, instead of skipping them - how do I make this transition and still protect myself from pregnancy?

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Robin Lee
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You would need to ask your dermatologist whether using the Mirena would make a difference. If melasma is estrogen-related then yes, using the Mirena could make a difference, as the hormone it secretes is not estrogen but rather levonorgestril.

There is no difference in protection when using the placebo pills in a birth control pack. So long as the pills are taken continuously (that is, once one pack is done the next is begun, protection remains constant.

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Robin

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audreytoo
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Thanks. For the second issue, what I mean is, can I go from taking the pills continuously to taking them normally without losing any effectiveness? Meaning, this month, instead of skipping the last week and starting the new pack, I would actually take the placebo pills and menstruate.
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Robin Lee
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It will still be effective. There's nothing special you need to do since you'll actually be taking the pills as they've been prescribed.

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Robin

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