Birth control is a great way for women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control, including hormonal contraception such as birth control pills. Birth control pills, also known as oral contraceptives, are a highly effective form of contraception. When taken correctly they are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Birth control pills are also known to reduce heavy bleeding and painful cramping during menstruation.
How do birth control pills work? It's quite simple, birth control pills contain hormones that prevent ovulation. These hormones also cause other changes in the body, such as a thickening of the mucus in your cervix, which makes it hard for sperm to enter the uterus. The lining of the uterus also becomes thinner, making it less likely for a fertilized egg to attach to it. The hormones in a woman's body actually control the release of the egg from the ovary and prepare the body to accept the fertilized egg. Birth control pills commonly contain estrogen and progesterone hormones. These hormones work to inhibit the body's natural cyclical hormones.
What are the different types of birth control pills? There are 2 basic types of birth control pills: combination pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, and Progestin-only pills. In addition to preventing pregnancy these 2 different types of birth control pills offer other health benefits. Combination pills can help keep menstrual cycles regular, lighter, shorter and reduce cramping. They can also be used in the treatment for fibroids and endometriosis. Combination pills may also decrease the risk of uterine & ovarian cancer. Some pills even help to control acne. The Progestin-only pill may be a better choice for women who have certain health problems such as blood clots or cannot take estrogen. Progestin-only pills can usually be used soon after child-birth by women who are breastfeeding.
How Effective are Birth Control Pills? If a woman takes their birth control pill the same time every day, no missed pills, the possibility the she will become pregnant is 0.1% each year. In other words, 1 of 1,000 women taking birth control pills on this schedule would become pregnant. But your chances of becoming pregnant while taking the pills increase when you do not take them regularly. Birth control pills do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.
What are the risks of birth control pill use? Birth control pills are safe for most women. However they are associated with an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, and stroke. The risk is higher in some women, including women over 35 years of age that smoke cigarettes and women who have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes. Birth control pills can place you at higher risk for blood clots and pulmonary embolism.
What are the side effects? The most common side effects associated with using birth control pills include: headache, breast tenderness, nausea, weight gain, mood changes, bloating and spotting between periods. Many women experience irregular bleeding when they are starting on birth control pills, which often resolves within a few months.
How do I begin Birth Control Pills? You will receive a set of pills packaged in a thin case. Pill packs contain either 21 or 28 pills. Twenty-one-day pill packs contain 21 active pills. Twenty-eight day pill packs contain 21 active pills and 7 inactive pills (placebo pills). The pill packs are marked with the days of the week to remind you to take a pill every day. The seven inactive pills in the 28-day pill pack are added so that you are reminded to start a new pill pack after 28 days. You will start each new birth control pill pack on the same day of the week that you initially started it. Discuss with your doctor when you should start birth control pills. If you still have your period on the day that you have been told to start your pill pack, go ahead and start the pill pack. You will get your next period about 25 days after starting the pill pack. An alternate form of contraception such as condoms are recommended during your first month of use.
What If I Forget to Take a Birth Control Pill? If you forget to take a birth control pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you don't remember until the next day, go ahead and take two pills that day. If you forget to take your pills for two days, take two pills the day you remember and two pills the next day. You will then be back on schedule. If you miss more than two pills, please call your doctor at Professional Gynecological Services.