What it is: Ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone is a prescription birth control pill that includes estrogen and progesterone. In women who are still ovulating / having periods it is useful for regulating their cycles. It is also effective at treating hot flashes and night sweats, and helps with vaginal dryness and osteoporosis prevention.
Ethinyl estradiol is structurally similar (but not identical) to the estradiol produced by your body. If you’ve taken birth control in the past, you have probably taken ethinyl estradiol. The dose of estrogen in birth control pills is higher than that used to solely treat menopause symptoms. This is because more estrogen is needed to prevent pregnancy than to control menopause symptoms.
How it works: Taken orally, the combination pill provides you with more convenience than remembering to take two different types of medication. Like oral estradiol, it is associated with a slight increase in risk of venous thromboembolism and stroke compared to transdermal estradiol.
What the research says: The North American Menopause Society has stated that birth control may help perimenopausal women with hot flashes, irregular bleeding and osteoporosis.
Brand name: Loestrin 1/20; EverNow uses the generic ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone below:
Range of dosage: ethinyl estradiol 20 mcg / 1mg norethindrone one tab orally a day
Safety information: If you have had a hysterectomy, history of breast cancer or other estrogen-sensitive cancers, coronary heart or artery disease, a previous venous thromboembolic event or stroke or undiagnosed vaginal bleeding, ethinyl estradiol/norethindrone may not be for you. You should speak to your in-person care provider to determine your best treatment options. To learn more about the risks and benefits of Ethinyl Estradiol/Norethindrone and to read the boxed warning, see this Loestrin 1/20 safety information.