Spotting is also known as breakthrough bleeding and typically occurs in the first few months of taking the combined pill. So whilst it can be a pain and ruin a few pairs of pants - there's no need to worry. If you have been taking the combined pill for more than 3 months and your spotting is continuing, or you are experiencing new or irregular bleeding then contact your doctor or nurse for advice. You may be asked to do a pregnancy test or STI test and come in for an examination. If you take your pill for 21 days and then have a break of up to 7 days you will likely have a withdrawal bleed which is similar to a period where the womb lining sheds in response to a drop in hormones. Some people may experience very light bleeding or no bleeding at all during the break. If you take the combined pill back to back (without a break) you won't have a withdrawal bleed but may experience spotting or breakthrough bleeding. Find out more in our guide to continuous pill taking.
Is Loestrin 20 good for acne?
Combined pills like Loestrin 20 are generally a good option for people looking to improve acne. However, it's not a guaranteed to help and may initially worsen acne. Check out our user-generated reviews to see how our community report Loestrin 20 affects their skin. Find out more in our guide to the contraceptive pill and acne.
What's the difference between Loestrin 20 and Loestrin 30?
Loestrin 20 contains 20 micrograms of the ethinylestradiol (oestrogen), whereas Loestrin 30 contains 30 micrograms. Switching from a lower oestrogen dose pill to a higher oestrogen dose pill or vice versa may help with some oestrogen related side effects.
Can you take Loestrin 20 continuously?
Taking any type of combined pill back to back and avoiding a withdrawal bleed is perfectly safe, and according to research, could be more effective than having a 7 day break. Great news for your bank balance, white jeans and sex life! (Note: you might still experience some spotting or breakthrough bleeding in the first few months). Find out more in our guide to continuous pill taking.
How the Loestrin 20 pill works:
Loestrin 20 is a type of combined pill, a small tablet you swallow daily that contains the hormones oestrogen and progestogen. Loestrin 20 prevents pregnancy in three ways – by stopping ovulation, making the fluid in your cervix thicker (which makes it more difficult for sperm to enter the womb), and by preventing the lining of your womb from thickening enough for a fertilised egg to implant into it. Loestrin 20 is around 93% effective with typical use which means that 7 in 100 women fall pregnant whilst taking the pill each year. Find out more about how clinical effectiveness is determined.
There are a few things that can stop the combined pill from working properly including vomiting, some antibiotics, or missing a pill. Take a look at our complete guide to the combined pill to find out more. You can also use our Missed pill calculator to help you understand what to do if you miss a pill.
How to use the Loestrin 20 pill:
You should take your Loestrin 20 pill around the same time every day. We recommend keeping your pill packet somewhere you look at everyday (like your makeup bag) to remind you to take it, or set an alarm on your phone. Loestrin 20 is designed to be taken for 21 days followed by a 7 day break during which you'll experience a withdrawal bleed (like a period). If you want to, you can choose to shorten this break or miss it out altogether (check out our blog on taking your pill back to back). . Depending on where you are in your cycle when you start the pill, you might not be protected straight away. Check out our blog about the combined pill for more info.
Coming off Loestrin 20 is easy - you just stop taking it. When you do, you’re no longer protected from pregnancy. If you want to stop the pill but do not wish to become pregnant then you should complete your current packet before stopping and consider switching to another form of contraception before you stop taking your pill. If you have unprotected sex and stop your pill before the packet is finished you may ovulate (release an egg from the ovary) and could become pregnant. You can use our Missed pill calculator if you have missed any pills from your packet. Read our complete guide to coming off the pill for more advice.
How safe is the Loestrin 20 pill:
Loestrin 20 is safe to take. There are however some small risks associated with taking the pill. With any combined type of hormonal contraception that contains oestrogen, there is a slightly increased risk of developing blood clots in your veins and arteries. The combined pill may also increase your blood pressure. Your doctor will check your individual risk before prescribing the pill. Use of the combined pill is also associated with small increased risks of breast cancer and cervical cancer. These reduce with time after stopping. It's also important to remember that the combined pills does not protect you from STIs.