Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo: uses, benefits, side effects, and more


Editorial Team


May 28, 2024

Young woman holding birth control pills looking down

Medical Review by Andrea Eisenberg, MD


  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen® is a hormonal birth control option used for contraception, menstrual cycle regulation, and acne treatment.
  • It works by combining estrogen and progestin to prevent ovulation, thicken cervical mucus, and thin the uterine lining.
  • Common side effects may include nausea, headaches, breast tenderness, and breakthrough bleeding.
  • Individuals with a history of blood clots or certain health conditions should consult a healthcare provider before using Ortho Tri-Cyclen®.

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo: what is it?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo, a combination birth control pill, is a popular choice among individuals looking for effective contraception with added benefits. Beyond its primary function of preventing pregnancy, it’s widely recognized for its ability to address multiple health concerns in one pill.

By regulating hormone levels in the body, Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo can also help alleviate symptoms of hormonal imbalances, such as irregular periods and acne.

How does it work?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo contains a combination of synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progestin, which mimic the natural hormones produced by the body. This combination of hormones works to prevent pregnancy by:

  • Suppressing ovulation
  • Thickening cervical mucus to inhibit sperm penetration
  • Thinning the uterine lining to prevent implantation

Estrogen, one of the primary hormones in Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo, inhibits FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) release, preventing the maturation of ovarian follicles. It also increases the thickness of cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to penetrate and reach the egg.

Progestin inhibits the release of LH (luteinizing hormone) and alters the uterine lining. Together, estrogen and progestin create a contraceptive effect that is highly effective when taken correctly.

Uses and benefits of Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo


Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo has many benefits that come with safe and consistent use. It can:

Many women notice improved skin appearance after using Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo consistently for a few months.

Common side effects

Like with any medication, Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo can cause side effects that some may find uncomfortable, like:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Breast tenderness
  • Breakthrough bleeding

Most people experience these side effects during the first few months of starting the pill, but they usually go away with continued use. However, if you experience persistent or bothersome breakthrough bleeding, you must talk to your healthcare provider.

Things to consider

While Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo is generally safe for most women, there are certain factors to consider before starting the medication. 

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo may not be suitable for individuals with a history of certain medical conditions, such as:

  • A history of blood clots
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Liver disease
  • Certain types of cancer 

It’s important to consider lifestyle factors and preferences when choosing a birth control method. Alternative options include the patch, ring, IUD, or implant.

Making the right decisions for you

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo is a versatile birth control option that provides contraception, regulates the menstrual cycle, and treats acne. It’s important to evaluate the benefits and risks before starting any medication. Learn about Lemonaid Health’s available options for birth control, and find what works best for you.

Frequently asked questions about Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo

How effective is Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo in preventing pregnancy?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo is a highly effective birth control pill that prevents pregnancy by preventing ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. It’s more than 99% effective when taken as directed. However, it doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, so it’s important to use a barrier method of contraception like a condom to reduce the risk of STIs.

Can Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo be used to regulate menstrual cycles?

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo is an oral contraceptive pill that contains a combination of hormones, including estrogen and progestin. It’s primarily used to prevent pregnancy, but it can also help regulate menstrual cycles. By regulating hormones, it can make periods more predictable and reduce symptoms like cramps and heavy bleeding. It’s important to note that Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo should only be used under the guidance of a healthcare provider, as it may not be appropriate for everyone and can have potential side effects.

What should I do if I experience side effects while taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo?

It’s common to experience side effects like nausea, headaches, and breast tenderness during the first few months of taking Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo. However, if these side effects are persistent or bothersome, it’s important to talk to your healthcare provider.

Can I get a prescription for Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo through Lemonaid Health’s virtual consultations?

Yes, after completing an online assessment, Lemonaid Health’s medical team can prescribe Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo if it’s safe and appropriate for you. 

Ortho Tri-Cyclen® Lo is the registered trademark of Johnson & Johnson Corporation.

  1. Cooper, D. B., & Patel, P. (2024, February 29). Oral contraceptive pills. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK430882/
  2. Edwards, M., & Can, A. S. (2024, January 10). Progestins. National Library of Medicine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK563211/
  3. Arowojolu AO, Gallo MF, Lopez LM, Grimes DA. Combined oral contraceptive pills for treatment of acne. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012 Jun 13;(6):CD004425. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD004425.pub5. Update in: Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2012;(7):CD004425. PMID: 22696343.
  4. MedlinePlus [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US); [updated 2020 Jun 24]. Heart attack; [February 7, 2024];. Available from: https://medlineplus.gov/birthcontrol.html
  5. Medline Plus. (2015, September 15). Estrogen and Progestin (Oral Contraceptives). Accessed online March 28, 2024 at https://medlineplus.gov/druginfo/meds/a601050.html


Editorial Team


May 28, 2024

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment or medication.