When it comes to birth control pills, period-delaying drugs, and medications for the healthcare of the uterus, there are a lot of misconceptions that never seem to get cleared up. It is considered taboo to discuss the female reproduction system, leading to people using the wrong medication for the wrong purposes.
Period delaying pills and birth control or contraceptives proved to be a game-changer for women as it provided women with the right to choose. But, ever since then, there have been an overwhelmingly amount of drug-related products advertised to make the choice easier – without the difference between each being made apparent. People still suspect and inquire about how safe is the period delay tablets. For instance, many believe that Provera and Norethisterone are used for the same purpose; to delay periods – however, that is simply not true. So, what is the key difference between Provera and Norethisterone? Keep reading to find out!
Main Components of Provera and Norethisterone
Provera belongs to a class of drugs referred to as Antineoplastics, Hormones as well as Progestins. Medroxyprogesterone, commonly known as Provera, is a type of female hormone (progestin). This medication's function is to produce the female hormone, which is quite similar to the progesterone that your body naturally creates. Provera is primarily given to people to replace the hormone (progestin) when the body is not making enough of it.
On the other hand, Norethisterone is a form of progestin which is a hormone that is responsible for the prevention of pregnancy. It works by preventing the lining of the uterus from growing, which in turn helps cease the production of specific hormones to prevent the ovulation cycle. It is often referred to as the "mini-pill" since it does not contain any estrogen. Although the "mini-pill" has proven to be much more effective than certain other methods of birth control like condoms, cervical cap, or diaphragm, it is less effective than combination hormone – which refers to estrogen and progestin – birth control. This is because Norethisterone can not consistently prevent the process of ovulation. It can delay the ovulation period for more than 20 days, but it can not put a stop to it. As a result, it is usually used by people who can not take estrogen or wish to delay periods.
Uses of Provera and Norethisterone
The key difference between Provera and Norethisterone is the use of each pill, respectively. While one is commonly used for delaying periods, the other is used as a combination hormone therapy.
Provera has several uses. Most of the time, in women who are not pregnant or going through menopause, Provera treats abnormal bleeding from the uterus, which often occurs unexpectedly. In addition to this, the medication helps restore regular menstrual periods in women who have stopped having them for several months (amenorrhea). Furthermore, Medroxyprogesterone or Provera is also used as part of combination hormone replacement therapy with estrogens to reduce menopause symptoms in those who are going through menopause. As a result, the intensity of symptoms like hot flashes decreases and becomes bearable. Another common use of Medroxyprogesterone is when it is added to estrogen replacement therapy to reduce the risk of cancer found in the uterus.
Now, on the contrary, Norethisterone – however integral to the female reproduction system – is mainly used for delaying periods. But keep in mind that it is not the medication's only purpose. In some cases, Norethindrone is used to treat a condition called endometriosis (in which the type of tissue that lines the uterus or the womb grows in other areas of the body and becomes the leading cause of pain, heavy or irregular menstruation and other symptoms). Additionally, Norethindrone is used to treat irregular or abnormal periods or bleeding. Finally, it aids in bringing on a normal menstrual cycle in women who have previously menstruated normally but have experienced a halt in their menstrual cycle for at least 3 months – this only applies if they are not pregnant or going through menopause.
Side Effects of Provera
The most common side effects of Provera are:
- Spotting or breakthrough bleeding
- Changes in menstrual periods
- Vaginal itching or discharge
- Breast tenderness or discharge
- Feeling nervous or depressed
- Bruising or swelling of the veins
- Fluid retention
- Mood changes
- Sleep problems (insomnia)
- Hair growth
- Loss of scalp hair
- Stomach discomfort
- Weight gain
- Vision changes or difficulty wearing contact lenses
Side Effect of Norethisterone
Norethindrone may cause some common side effects, which are:
- Irregular vaginal bleeding or spotting
- Changes in menstrual flow
- Enlarged or tender breasts
- Weight changes
- Difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Brown patches on the face
- Hair loss
- Growth of hair on the face
The Bottom Line
Although there are a few similarities between the two medications, their uses and components vary significantly. Provera can not be used as a replacement for Norethisterone and vice versa.