Finding the right birth control option for your needs can take a little bit of time and patience. However, once you find the perfect formula, you can have more control over your reproductive health. One popular option for contraception is combination birth control.
Combination birth control pills use two hormones, estrogen and progestin, to prevent pregnancy. They do so in two ways—by making it more difficult for sperm to reach any eggs and by preventing your ovaries from releasing eggs in the first place. When used as directed, only about 1 in every 100 people will become pregnant while using combination birth control.
If you’re interested in using combination birth control pills, you may have considered Lutera, a type of combination pill sometimes also known as Vienva or Aviane. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of choosing Lutera birth control pill for your contraceptive needs.
What is Lutera?
Lutera is an oral contraceptive. It is a combination contraceptive, which means it uses two different hormones to form a powerful type of birth control.
These hormones work together to prevent pregnancy in two ways, including:
Suppressing ovulation – Oral contraceptives also help prevent pregnancy by suppressing ovulation, or the release of an egg from your ovaries. When no egg is present, there isn’t anything for sperm to fertilize.
Changing the mucus in your cervix – Combination oral contraceptives also work by changing the consistency of cervical mucus. Typically, when you ovulate, your cervical mucus becomes thin and slippery to better allow sperm to pass through to your eggs. The hormones in birth control pills help make the mucus thick and more difficult for sperm to permeate.
Pregnancy prevention is the main job that the Lutera birth control pill performs. However, some individuals also use Lutera to manage certain conditions, including:
Irregular or absent periods
Heavy bleeding and painful cramps during your period
Decreasing your risk for certain diseases
Decreasing your risk for ovarian cysts
As you can see, there is more than one use for the Lutera pill.
Is Lutera a good birth control method?
Lutera can be a beneficial hormonal birth control method for certain women and people who menstruate. To start with, it can be highly effective at preventing pregnancy. In fact, when used perfectly, Lutera is 99% effective.
In general, perfect usage requires that you:
Follow the instructions for starting Lutera or switching from another method
Take each dose no more than 24 hours apart
Aren’t taking any medications that interfere with Lutera
Use it exactly as directed by your doctor
However, the two hormones in Lutera can pose risks for some. Let’s look at the hormones in Lutera and discuss how they work.
Ethinyl estradiol is a synthetic type of estrogen. It is often used in birth control pills along with other forms of hormonal contraceptives, such as the birth control patch and vaginal ring. Ethinyl estradiol is one component responsible for the prevention of pregnancy in those who use Lutera.
The other hormone in Lutera is levonorgestrel. It’s a synthetic form of progestin. When combined with ethinyl estradiol, levonorgestrel can prevent you from becoming pregnant. Levonorgestrel is also a key hormone in the morning-after pill and in some hormonal IUDs.
Pros and cons of using Lutera
Lutera birth control comes with similar pros and cons to other oral contraceptives. Since everyone’s body may react differently to birth control, you should also speak with a healthcare professional about whether or not Lutera is right for you.
However, as you’re considering what different types of birth control might work best for you, it can help to be aware of the different factors. Let’s take a look at the possible benefits and drawbacks of Lutera.
Pros of using Lutera
The biggest benefit for most users of Lutera is the high level of effectiveness it can have for pregnancy prevention. When you remember to take your pills exactly as directed, Lutera can be up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Some other potential benefits Lutera users may experience include:
More regular menstrual cycles
Fewer heavy or painful periods
Decreased likelihood of developing certain reproductive cancers with long-term use
Decreased likelihood of developing pelvic inflammatory disease
Lower risk of iron deficiency
As you compare your birth control options, it’s important to keep in mind that contraception isn’t the only potential benefit of an oral contraceptive such as Lutera.
Cons of using Lutera
Along with the potential benefits, Lutera does have some possible disadvantages. First, Lutera doesn’t help protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you’re concerned about STIs, you’ll want to ensure you combine Lutera with a method that can prevent them, like condoms.
Lutera also has the potential for some side effects, particularly in the first year of use. In addition, you must remember to take a pill at the same time every day for Lutera to be effective.
What you should know before using Lutera
As with all medications and methods of contraception, anyone considering Lutera birth control for their reproductive needs should be aware of certain precautions and side effects associated with its use.
Lutera can be highly effective at preventing pregnancy, and most individuals can use it without serious complications. However, there are factors and side effects you’ll want to know about.
Precautions for Lutera
For many people, Lutera can come with few drawbacks. But for certain women and people who menstruate, Lutera may not be an option.
Individuals who might not be able to use Lutera include those who:
Have liver or gallbladder disease
Have a history of hypertension or vascular disease
Smoke and/or are over the age of 35
Have had certain hormone-sensitive cancers
You should always discuss the potential risks and precautions with your doctor before you take Lutera to determine if this method is right for you.
Possible side effects of Lutera
The potential side effects of using Lutera are similar to those of other birth control pills. Some common mild side effects include:
Changes to menstrual flow
Nausea and stomach discomfort
Headaches and sensitivity to contact lenses
These side effects are typically mild and may resolve after using Lutera for several months. Other more serious side effects, while rare, may occur. These can include:
Increase in blood pressure
These side effects aren’t common. However, the risk increases if you’re a smoker or have preexisting conditions that make you more susceptible. When it comes to deciding if this is the right method for you, you can always compare it to alternative birth control options like Slynd birth control (which contains only a single form of hormones), a vaginal ring like Annovera birth control, or even IUD.
How to use Lutera
Lutera may also be sold under a generic name. Two common generics are Vienva and Aviane. The instructions for use are the same, regardless of whether you use Lutera or one of its generic versions. The only difference to be aware of is that the colors of the pills and their packaging might vary, depending on the generic you choose.
To begin using Lutera, you’ll need to decide when to start your first pack of pills. Each pack contains 28 pills: 21 white active pills and 7 peach placebo pills.
You can start Lutera birth control one of two ways:
Day one start
The first option is to begin taking Lutera on the first day of your period. With this option, you’ll do the following:
Take the first white pill in a new pack the day your period starts.
You’ll continue to take one white pill per day until you’ve taken all of the white pills.
Once you’ve finished the white pills, you’ll take the peach pills for seven consecutive days.
Alternatively, if you prefer to start your new pill pack at the beginning of the week, you can follow these steps:
Take the first white pill on the first Sunday after your period starts.
Then, you’ll take the remaining white pills and seven peach pills in order, one pill per day.
Once you’ve finished all of the pills in the first pack, begin a new pack the following day.
With either of these options, you should use a backup form of non-hormonal contraception for at least the first seven days after starting Lutera.
What if I’m switching to Lutera from another contraceptive?
If you switch to Lutera from a different form of birth control, the instructions may vary slightly. For example:
If switching from an implant, start Lutera a week prior to your implant removal. If switching from the injection, Lutera can be started as early as 10 weeks after your last injection.
If you were using a progestin-only pill, begin a new pack of Lutera the day after you take your last pill.
If you have any questions about when it’s best to start Lutera for your specific situation, speak with a healthcare professional.
Learn more about Lutera and other contraceptive options with The Pill Club
Having access to a reliable form of birth control can feel like a weight is lifted off your shoulders. Once you have a method that works for you and know how to use it, you can feel confident that you’re doing what’s best for your reproductive health.
Birth control can also provide other health benefits to some people. Those who suffer from painful periods, inconsistent menstruation, or even acne may find that some contraceptives can help them manage those conditions.
Whatever your reproductive health needs may be, The Pill Club has you covered. The Pill Club offers telemedicine consultations, prescription services, and more.
Sign up today to learn more and take control of your reproductive health.
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