Norethindrone is a single hormone oral contraceptive pill. It doesn’t contain estrogen, only a synthetic form of progesterone and is called a progestin-only pill (POP), or a mini-pill
Norethindrone birth control medication is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when properly used.
Norethindrone tablets are used both for preventing pregnancy and treating menstrual disorders. Those who suffer from endometriosis may also find some relief when they use norethindrone.
Norethindrone isn’t for everyone. Some people may experience unwanted side effects with norethindrone, so it is important to seek medical advice from a health care provider or healthcare practitioner before using this combined pill.
For those who can use norethindrone safely, it’s important to follow your doctor’s medical advice and take only the brand and dosage prescribed to you.
There are many brands of oral contraceptives that contain norethindrone. Your specific packaging may look different from someone else’s who uses a different brand name or generic version of this hormonal contraceptive pill.
Norethindrone Uses, Effectiveness & Side Effects
Many birth control pills contain a combination of hormones that work together to prevent pregnancy, such as Loryna birth control or Nikki birth control. In most cases, estrogen works with progestin. However, some people shouldn’t take pills containing estrogen for certain health reasons.
Does this mean these individuals are unable to use oral contraceptives?
Definitely not. Thankfully, some options contain only one hormone—progestin. Or, in this case, the synthetic form of progestin known as norethindrone. Norethindrone is used in many birth control pills. This guide will walk you through everything you need to know about progestin-only pills (POPs) and help you determine if they might be right for you.
What is Norethindrone Birth Control
Norethindrone is a type of synthetic progesterone. In your body, progesterone works to prevent pregnancy. When used as a contraceptive, norethindrone does several things that prevent pregnancy, including:
Cervical mucus changes – The primary impact norethindrone has on your ability to get pregnant is thickening your cervical mucus. Sperm must travel through the mucus produced in your cervix to reach and fertilize an egg. When the mucus is thicker, sperm have a tougher time getting through successfully.
Thinning the uterine lining – Norethindrone also helps keep the lining of your uterus thin. A thin uterine lining doesn’t allow a fertilized egg to implant, thus preventing pregnancy.
Ovulation suppression – Lastly, norethindrone suppresses ovulation. However, it doesn’t stop ovulation entirely. Individuals who take norethindrone birth control might still ovulate. It is important to take norethindrone at the exact same time every day to prevent pregnancy..
Outside of pregnancy prevention, norethindrone is often prescribed to help mitigate the symptoms of endometriosis, treat hormonal imbalances, and manage menstrual disorders.
What are the pros and cons of using norethindrone?
People who menstruate have a bevy of oral contraceptive choices. Thus, there isn’t one type of pill that’s right for everyone. It can help to familiarize yourself with the benefits and drawbacks of each type of pill so you can feel confident making decisions about your reproductive health.
Benefits of using norethindrone
There are several benefits those who use a progestin-only birth control pill might experience. Norethindrone pills are often used because of their link to:
Reduction in painful menstrual symptoms – Pills containing norethindrone are frequently prescribed to treat endometriosis. The pill helps ease some of the debilitating pain and cramping associated with this condition without the complications present with dual hormone pills.
Decrease in complications related to estrogen – Many birth control pills contain estrogen and progestin. These pills are effective for many individuals and can help treat certain conditions. However, some people cannot take estrogen pills without severe risks or consequences. Progestin-only pills provide the desired protection from pregnancy without the risks.
Lighter periods – Many individuals who take norethindrone report lighter and less painful periods. These pills can make menstruation less uncomfortable in appropriate cases.
Potential disadvantages of using norethindrone
Norethindrone can come with some disadvantages. Progestin-only pills can cause you irregular bleeding or a complete absence of your period (though this might be more of a pro than a con if you’d rather skip your period altogether).
It is incredibly important for users to adhere to the rule of taking the pill every day in order to yield the best results. Even taking a pill as little as three hours late can put you at risk for pregnancy. If you’re someone who struggles to stay on a schedule, norethindrone might not be a good choice for you.
When is norethindrone a good choice?
Every person’s body is different. There are several situations in which norethindrone would be the right choice for you.
The side effects that result from pills that only contain progestin are very different than pills with estrogen. Some people who menstruate have trouble taking oral contraceptives that contain estrogen. Combination hormone pills can come with unwanted side effects, particularly for those who have a history of blood clots.
In addition, norethindrone can be helpful if you:
Suffer from endometriosis – Because it prevents the uterus lining from growing and thickening, norethindrone is often prescribed to help relieve the pain and heavy bleeding of those who suffer from endometriosis.
Have heavy, painful periods – Norethindrone might also offer relief if your periods are consistently heavy or you regularly have periods longer than 5 days.
Who should avoid norethindrone?
Norethindrone birth control isn’t right for everyone. Individuals who have or have had any of the following shouldn’t use norethindrone:
Irregular vaginal bleeding
Furthermore, certain conditions that can increase your risk of complications should be discussed with your healthcare professional before you decide to use norethindrone. These include:
You have increased blood pressure or heart disease
Your cholesterol levels are high
You suffer from migraines
Norethindrone can also interfere with many different medications. Discuss any medications you’re taking with your doctor to ensure they won’t interfere with your contraceptives.
How do you use norethindrone?
New users of norethindrone have several options to choose from when beginning to use these pills. Depending on your situation and your doctor’s advice, you might start with one of the following:
Changing from estrogen-based pills – If you were previously using an oral contraceptive that also contained estrogen, you’ll transition to your new pill without a break. You should skip taking the inactive pills at the end of your last pack of pills, instead start taking the active norethindrone pills.
First-day start – If you weren’t taking another oral contraceptive previously, you can begin norethindrone on the first day of your period. Take the pills continuously in order from that point.
Immediate start – You can also begin taking norethindrone immediately if you aren’t already using another form of hormonal birth control. Start with a fresh pack and take the pills regardless of if you’re on your period or not.
No matter which method you choose to begin taking norethindrone, you should always use a backup form of non-hormonal birth control for at least the first seven days. It is vital that you take the pills daily and at the same time.
One difference you’ll find between taking norethindrone birth control is that it doesn’t contain the placebo pills commonly found in other contraceptive packs. For 28 days, the user will consume the same pills, and once you are done with the first pack, you need to immediately use another pack.
How effective is norethindrone?
As is true of all oral contraceptives, norethindrone is most effective when it is used perfectly. This means you take your pills at the same time every day as instructed without missing any days. Furthermore, you follow instructions when beginning the medication and use a backup form of birth control for at least 7 days after you start taking norethindrone.
The difference between condoms vs birth control, is that if you are taking norethindrone perfectly, it is about 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
However, norethindrone doesn’t protect you from STIs or HIV. You and your partner should take proper precautions to protect one another from infections.
What side effects are associated with norethindrone?
Most oral contraceptives come with some side effects. Those who use norethindrone might experience some of the following:
Frequent or longer bleeding
In some rare situations, individuals may experience other side effects such as:
Excessive hair growth on the face and body
Swelling in the feet, hands, or lower legs
These more adverse reactions are quite rare. Most users experience milder side effects. However, if you do have a more extreme reaction to norethindrone, you should speak with your healthcare provider.
Find your ideal choice for reproductive health with The Pill Club
Norethindrone is an oral contraceptive that contains only one type of hormone—progestin. There are several different brand name and generic pills on the market that contain norethindrone. These pills are often prescribed to women and people who menstruate that may not be able to take pills containing estrogen. Like all birth control pills, those with norethindrone do have some side effects, particularly for those with certain conditions.
The Pill Club is here to help personalize your birth control experience. Our service offers a range of care, including telemedicine consultations, prescriptions services, and more. We want to give you the resources you need to make informed decisions about your birth control options. Explore our site today to learn more about The Pill Club and how we can help you take control of your reproductive health.
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