Sorry I forgot, this was my other main question.
There are many different brands of birth control pills on the market. I know each ones contain estrogen and progesterone, unless they are not the two hormone one. Anyways, I am curious, how can each different brand have a different level of hormones and still be as effective as the next? Shouldn't there be a set level where it is as safe as it gets?
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quote:Shouldn't there be a set level where it is as safe as it gets?
Well, that would be a fine idea, if every woman's body was the same. There's a pretty good chance that the levels of hormone I naturally produce won't be exactly the same as the levels of hormone you produce...therefore, to have optimum protection, I may need a pill that differs from the formulation you need. That's why sometimes you have to try different formulations (brands) of the pill in order to find one that works correctly for you. Make sense?
also, some pills do contain the same levels of hormones, but they contain "different" hormones.
for example, Ortho TriCyclen contains a synthetic progesterone called norgestimate. Triphasil contains a synthetic progesterone called levonorgestrel. The molecules are constructed differently, but they can still trigger the same receptors as reall biological progesterone.
Pharmaceutical companies do this all the time. They make their money by tweeking with different molecule shapes, adding a carbon here, or an oxygen there, or so forth so that they come up with an "original" molecule" that has some function and then they can patent it and make money.
In the case of hormone, because the hormone isn't 100% exactly like the molecule in our bodies, its properties are also not 100% the same. some substitutes might have effects that are more potent than what is found in your body. or they can be weaker. so the pramaceutical company chemists have to do all sorts of tests to find out what concentrations of chemical are just right for the job.
Usually if the formulation you're on isn't good for you, you'll notice some problem with it. Excessive/costant break through bleeding, illness, nausea, cramping, no lightening of your period, etc. (sometimes you may experience these side effects when you begin taking the pill, which is ok...but if you continue to notice them or they are very severe, then that indicates that there is a problem and you may need either a larger or smaller or simply different dosages or maybe that hormonal birth control isn't something your body can adjust to) It's kinda like taking cough medicine...if you take it, and you're still coughing, you know you need something else.
The reason why there are so many brands of pills out there is more their side effects than their effectiveness per say.
Different formulations will give about the same protection from pregnancy (or so says the little booklet that comes with them), but they might have different side effects. For instance, pills with lower doses of estrogen and higher doses of progesterone might make you more acne prone. On the other hand, high doses of estrogen can cause nausea. Every woman responds differently to those side effects, which explains why there is such a variety.
For instance, I am very nausea prone so I'd rather take a high progesterone pill and get a few zits (I am on Alesse right now). On the other hand, some gals choose a high estrogen pill to clear up their acne (Tricyclen is one of them I think).
I highly suggest you talk about this with your doctor. He or she will be able to explain which brand is better for you. Doctors even have little charts which show, in theory, which kind of pill should cause which kind of side effect.
By the way, my source for this knowledge is my GP, with whom I had a lengthy discussion on the topic on my last visit, trying to find a pill that finally fits for me.
[This message has been edited by kena (edited 09-23-2002).]
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