New Pill, Fewer Periods

A new "extended-cycle" birth control pill called Seasonale has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Like traditional oral contraceptives, Seasonale contains estrogen and progestin. What is different is the dosing schedule. By "extended cycle" it means that women using Seasonale will only have 4 menstrual cycles a year as compared to 13.

Plus: Seasonale prevents pregnancy and is as safe as traditional birth-control pills.

Minus: Women on Seasonale had more bleeding and spotting during the three months between periods.

Comment: Opponents of Seasonale include those who advocate menstruation as a necessary monthly shedding of the uterine lining. They question whether it is healthy to alter the natural schedule of menstruation. And then there is the biblical belief that menstruation was a curse inflicted on Eve because of the original sin to be passed along to all women thereafter.

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Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors, MedicineNet.com