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Three new birth control pills hit the market this year. If you've been taking the same one for a while, you might be wondering if it's time to switch. To help you decide, Carolyn Westhoff, MD, medical director of family planning at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, highlights how the newbies compare.
What's new: This is the first and only pill approved to treat women who are suffering from premenstrual dysmorphic disorder (PMDD), a severe form of PMS, thanks to its combination of ethinyl estradiol and drospirenone (forms of estrogen and progestin). It can also help relieve PMS symptoms like bloating and headaches.
What's new: Instead of taking placebo pills the week you get your period, you take a very low dose of hormones. This can help alleviate some of the symptoms that result when hormone levels fluctuate, such as bloating. As with the pill Seasonale, you have just four periods per year.
Loestrin 24 Fe
What's new: The four placebo pills contain iron. "This is great for women who may be iron-deficient or anemic," says Dr. Westhoff. This is also the first pill approved in the United States that isn't a 21/7-day cycle; it's a 24/4-day cycle, meaning you're off the hormones (and get your period) for about three days instead of six per cycle.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, January 2007.