Trinessa Side Effects

TriNessa Side Effects

Every woman, who is interested in using TriNessa, should be aware of possible side effects.

Until your body adjusts to the hormones in the pill, you might experience mild discomforts. The good news is most of them are not serious and are easily treated.

Most side effects from Trinessa birth control disappear within three to six months of usage. Serious reactions occur very rarely, especially if you are healthy and young.

Drug Info: TriNessa

TriNessa is a brand of ethinyl estradiol / norgestimate
manufactured by Actavis, Inc. [former Watson Pharmaceuticals].
It is a contraceptive in the class of female hormones that prevent ovulation.

Marked as N-not a controlled drug.
It is used in the treatment of birth control; abnormal uterine bleeding; acne; endometriosis; gonadotropin inhibitionand.

Most common side effects include:


  • Women usually experience nausea when they start taking Trinessa for the first time or after a long break. The boost of hormones, specifically estrogen, might make you feel nauseous. If your body is not too sensitive and can tolerate extra hormones, you might not encounter this side effect. In any case, the symptoms should disappear within few months. To avoid nausea or vomiting, try to take pills with a meal or before you go to sleep.

Spotting or Breakthrough Bleeding

  • Birth control pills could be prescribed to regulate women’s period. However, it might also cause breakthrough bleeding or spotting. About 30% of women experience spotting at the beginning of taking Trinessa. Smokers especially are more prone to breakthrough bleeding and longer/heavier periods. Unfortunately, spotting is unpredictable, may occur at any time and without any symptoms. This is one of the main reasons for discontinuing Trinessa. There is no treatment to stop the spotting, you will have to be patient and wait it out. After three months, if you continue experiencing irregular bleeding while on Trinessa, consult your doctor, to rule out other medical conditions.

Breast Tenderness

  • Breast tenderness usually affects women that do not produce enough estrogen. It could take few weeks or even months for your body to adjust to the higher level of hormones. Usually, there is nothing to worry about, but you should still check with the doctor to make sure it is a side effect of the pill. It is recommended to wear sports or fitted bra to reduce the discomfort. You can also try cold compresses or take pain killer until your body is adjusted to the pill. But keep in mind there are always other types of birth control. If Trinessa really inconvenience you, check out other options that may suite you better.

Mood Changes

  • Trinessa as other birth control pills could cause mood swings. You should pay close attention to you body, if you start getting mood changes, as this side effect might temporarily decrease the quality of your life. If your mood changes are getting out of control, consult your doctor right away for other possible birth control options.  This side effect, it not treated, could lead to depression. Just to keep your mind at ease, American Family Physicians published a study of 7000 women and only about 16% reported a decline in the mood, and about 12% actually had an improvement in the mood.

Decreased Sex Drive

  • Birth control Pills might lower your sex drive. Hormones in Trinessa reduce levels of free, available testosterone that circulate in the blood. It also decreases levels of androgens and alters natural estradiol fluctuations. Women usually get a spike of hormone levels to prompt the ovary release the egg, and that’s what increases sex drive. In other words, Trinessa prevents ovulation it keeps hormone levels steady. So, if you are in a long-term relationship, you might not feel the spikes of the sex drive, but if you and your partner go on vacation together, your libido will increase.

Weight Gain

  • Trinessa is a combined hormonal contraceptive. It contains ethynil estradiol (estrogen) and norgestimate (progestin). These two hormones might cause weight gain as a side effect. However, this side effect should only last until your body fully adjusts to extra hormones. Average time frame is anywhere from 1 month to 6 months. Estrogen could lead to fluid retention. The higher the amount of estrogen, the more water your body will retain. To avoid fluid retention, it is recommended not to take more than 20 mcg of estrogen. Progestin on the other hand, stimulates appetite. Increased amount of progestin makes your body “think” that you are pregnant. But keep in mind that not all women predisposed to weight gain. In fact there are studies that conclude no correlation between birth control and weight gain.

Rare Side effects

Trinessa Rare Side Effects

Call a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following rare but serious side effects

Blood Clots

  • Just to make it clear, Trinessa alone does not cause blood clots. However, estrogen in the pill makes the blood more likely to clot. Before going on the pill, speak to your doctor about individual level of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). DVT is serious and could potentially lead to death. Women that smoke, overweight, or have a history of blood clots in the family are at a much higher risk. Studies have shown that although this is a very serious side effect, it is very rare. Only 1 in 3000 women will likely develop a clot.

High Blood Pressure

  • Hormones in the birth control pill may narrow small blood vessels that eventually increase the pressure. Once you go on the pill have your blood pressure checked regularly. Women who are older, overweight, obese, smokers, or have a family history. While high blood pressure is a rare side effect, you can reduce the risk if you use a birth control pill that contains a lower dosage of estrogen.

Liver Tumors

  • In rare cases the pill can cause liver tumors called hepatic adenomas. Hepatic adenomas are benign tumors, but if they rupture it could be life threatening. Benign tumors can form as lumps in different parts of liver. Some studies have shown that women, who take the birth control pill for more than 5 years straight, have an increased risk of liver cancer. High estrogen levels in the pill act like “food” for tumors. Once you stop using oral contraceptives the risk decreases and non-cancerous tumors tend to shrink.

Breast Cancer

  • Hormones in Trinessa such as progesterone and estrogen could influence the development of breast cancer. These are two main hormones that control females reproduction. The intake of extra hormones with a pill, gives your body a false alarm that it is pregnant. If a woman gets pregnant, her breast cells tend to rapidly divide. This process makes carcinogens affect the breast more easily. Women that start taking the pill at early age might have slightly higher risk of developing tumors, just because the body is exposed to hormones longer. Other causes include having a baby at late age or not having them at all, alcohol, smoking, stress, being overweight and having mutated genes such as BRCA 1 or BRCA2. The risk of breast cancer completely disappears after 10 years of discontinuing the pill.

Cervical Cancer

  • Cervical cancer is associated with oral contraceptives primarily due to the infection called Human Papillomavirus or HPV.  Same as breast cancer, as soon as you stop taking the pill the risk of getting cervical cancer reduces. Scientists haven’t yet proved that the pill is a direct cause of cervical cancer.  Some studies suggest that women on the pill are less likely to use barrier contraception, thus getting HPV and eventually cervical cancer.

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Charlie Benner February 17, 2014 at 2:48 pm

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