Gen Y women want more than just the pill. They want to feel fine, which is why some are turning to Yaz, a new birth control pill that may help women feel better during their period.

Recently approved by Health Canada, Yaz is a combination birth control pill that contains both an estrogen and a progestin.

It is essentially a low-dose oral contraceptive that offers a shorter hormone-withdrawal phase than other pills. While traditional pills provide 21 days of active hormone followed by seven days of placebo (21/7), the Yaz regimen is 24/4. The shorter time without estrogen can reduce symptoms such as headaches, cramps, bloating and breast tenderness.

“I would say the vast majority of women do have symptoms,” Dr. Vivien Brown, a family doctor in central Toronto, told Metro. “As a family doctor, in my office I often see women who have missed work or school because their periods are very intense and uncomfortable.”

Yaz provides only four days off estrogen, so there are fewer symptoms of withdrawal. While the number of days taking estrogen is greater with Yaz (24 versus 21 in traditional pills), the overall dose is smaller than with most pills, says Brown. “For the average women, this is a great choice. For some women, it is a wonderful choice,” she says.

According to a survey by Harris/Decima, this is exactly what 77 per cent of young women (age 16 to 22) want in a pill: Safe birth control plus a reduction of symptoms they get around the time of their period — menstrual cramps, headaches and sore breasts.

Another bonus is that Yaz contains a special progestin called drospirenone (DRSP) which reduces signs of acne. While all birth control pills do this, “Yaz does this particularly well because of the progestin in it,” says Brown.

Yaz has been available in the U.S. for several years.

Talk to your doctor to see if Yaz might be right for you.

Yaz benefits
Like other birth control pills, Yaz may reduce the risk of:
• noncancerous breast cysts or lumps
• ectopic pregnancy
• endometrial and ovarian cancer.
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