Yaz birth control pills are a popular choice, relying upon drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol instead of the typical progesterone and estrogen combination. Yaz is sold in packs of 24 hormone pills instead of the typical 21 days of active pills. Combining more days of active hormones with a longer-lasting hormone, like drospirenone, can reduce hormonal symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and hormonal acne. While Yaz can be an excellent choice if you need a hormonal contraceptive, the hormones in Yaz do work differently and may have additional side effects and considerations.
Yaz works like other birth control pills by preventing ovulation, thickening the mucus at the cervix and thinning the uterine lining. Yaz is 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, according to the Yaz website. Yaz is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat moderate acne and the symptoms of PMDD.
Active hormone pills are taken for 24 days. Four days of placebo pills are taken before you start a new pill pack. Drospirenone, one of the active hormones in Yaz, has a longer half-life than the progesterone used in most hormonal contraceptives. The combined effect of three additional days of hormones, along with hormones that remain in your body longer, provides a more stable hormone level throughout the cycle, according to the Medical News Today website.
While the hormones in Yaz stay in your body somewhat longer than typical birth control pills, you should be just as careful to take your pill each day on time. If you miss one pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you miss two pills in the first two weeks of active pills, continue your pills, but use a back-up contraceptive for seven days. If you miss two pills during week three or four, start a new pack immediately if you opt to start on the first day of your period. If you have a Sunday start, take an active pill until Sunday, then start a new pill pack immediately. Use a back-up contraceptive for seven days after starting the new pill pack, according to the Yaz website.
Yaz is the only oral contraceptive approved by the FDA to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). PMDD symptoms are both physical and emotional; however, it is a mood disorder rather than the mild emotional and physical issues typically associated with premenstrual syndrome (PMS). The combined longer dosing schedule and longer drospirenone half-life make Yaz an effective treatment for PMDD.
The estrogen in Yaz poses the same risks as any other combination oral contraceptive, including stroke and blood clots. The drospirenone in Yaz may increase levels of potassium in the body and can be contraindicated for some people. According to the Jezebel website, the risks of Yaz may be greater than for other oral contraceptives. Bayer Pharmaceuticals, the maker of Yaz, denies this.
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