What is Norgestimate?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 11 October 2019
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Norgestimate is a manmade form of progesterone that is often combined with other synthetic hormones to either prevent pregnancy or reduce the symptoms of menopause. When combined with ethinyl estradiol, it can prevent ovulation, as it keeps the progesterone levels high. This combination may also be used to treat serious acne in females over a certain age. Additionally, it can also be combined with estradiol to reduce menopause symptoms that include hot flashes and vaginal dryness. Some of its most common side effects include nausea, breast tenderness, and weight changes.

In most cases, norgestimate is used in birth control pills, as it prevents the body from releasing eggs each month during ovulation. Normally, the body produces progesterone just after ovulation, as this hormone thickens the uterine lining and stops the ovaries from releasing any more eggs in case a pregnancy occurs. Once it is clear that there is no pregnancy, the progesterone level drops, bringing on the menstrual period as the uterine lining is shed. A woman on birth control pills that contain norgestimate, however, has consistently high progesterone levels, which means that the body believes that it has already ovulated and is pregnant.


It may not be surprising, then, that some of the most common side effects of norgestimate in the birth control pill mimic some signs of pregnancy. For example, many women gain weight and get larger breasts that often hurt. They may also experience nausea and vomiting, along with migraine headaches and an inability to wear contact lenses comfortably. Blood flow during the period may become lighter or even completely stop, and some women also become more susceptible to yeast infections. Women who experience these symptoms should typically continue taking the pill, mention the side effects to their doctor, and take a pregnancy test to ensure that these issues are in fact related to the norgestimate.

Not everyone takes pills with norgestimate solely to prevent pregnancy, as this synthetic hormone can also reduce serious acne. Some doctors prescribe it to females over the age of 13, though many are hesitant to offer this solution just to treat acne since there are other medications for this purpose with fewer side effects. Thus, its ability to treat acne is often considered a small perk by women who are taking pills with norgestimate to prevent pregnancy.

This hormone can be combined with estradiol to reduce menopause symptoms that include hot flashes, vaginal dryness, and night sweats. It can also treat the thinning bones that often accompany osteoporosis in women who have already gone through menopause. It works by convincing the body that estrogen and progesterone levels are as high as they used to be before menopause, keeping several symptoms at bay. The possible side effects are similar to those that accompany the birth control pill, with nausea and breast tenderness being the most common ones.


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