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Birth control pills

Birth control pills are most popular contraception pills used by girls and women in many countries. In many cases birth control pills are used not for contraception but also for treatment of acne, irregular menstrual cycles, ovarian cysts, etc.

Birth control pills are synthetic forms of the hormones progesterone and estrogen taken by women to prevent pregnancy. These hormones (progesterone and estrogen) work to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. Pregnancy is prevented by a combination of factors. Birth control pills usually stop the body from releasing an egg from the ovary. The birth control pill prevents ovulation by maintaining more consistent hormone levels. Without a peak in estrogen, the ovary doesn’t get the signal to release an egg, which eliminates the possibility of fertilization and pregnancy. The hormones in the pills prevent pregnancy by suppressing your pituitary gland, which stops the development and release of the egg in the ovary (ovulation).They also change the cervical mucus to make it difficult for the sperm to find an egg. Birth control pills can also prevent pregnancy by making the lining of the womb inhospitable for implantation. The progestin component of pills helps to prevent the sperm from reaching the egg and changes the lining of the uterus.

Since the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved “the pill” in 1960, it has become the most popular and one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control ever invented. Among U.S. couples who use birth control, nearly one-third use the pill.

Birth control pills

Birth control pills

In recent years, contraceptive pills have changed to include less hormones, resulting in fewer side effects. In fact, almost all healthy women who don’t smoke may use birth control pills, regardless of their age. Unlike the original oral contraceptives, low-dose pills have few health risks and even offer some health benefits.

The effectiveness of contraceptive pills is high – up to 97-98% (if correctly used!!!). Despite the fact that they are safe for most women, birth control pills do carry some health risks. For example, if you are over 35 and smoke or have certain medical conditions such as a history of blood clots or breast or endometrial cancer, your health care professional may advise against taking oral contraceptives. Also, birth control pills do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS. Birth control pills cannot also protect you from HPV, the human papillomavirus that can cause cervical cancer.

Most secure and safe contraception called Dual Contraception which includes combination of birth control pills and male condoms.

Most pills contain two types of synthetic female hormones; estrogen and progestin (which are normally produced by the ovaries). These pills are called “combination oral contraceptives”, and there are many different types available.

Another type of pill contains only one hormone (progestin), and is called either the “progestin-only pill”, or the “mini-Pill”. It works by suppressing ovulation and helping to prevent the male’s sperm from reaching the egg.

Unlike other forms of birth control sold over-the-counter, you need a health care professional’s prescription to purchase birth control pills, and many health insurers cover their cost. The one exception is the emergency birth control pill, Plan B One-Step, which is sold over the counter.

How to start Birth Control Pills

  • There are few different ways you can start to take birth control pills:
  • You can start taking them on the first day of your period (DAY 1), in which case you won’t need backup birth control.
  • You can start taking them on the DAY 5 of your period, in which case you won’t need backup birth control.
  • You can start taking them from the first Sunday after your period starts, in which case you will need backup birth control for seven days.
  • Not Recommended! You can start taking birth control pills on the day they are prescribed, in which case you will need to make sure you’re not pregnant and you will need to use backup birth control for the first month. If you have a negative pregnancy test and it has been at least 10 to 11 days since you last had intercourse, you can be nearly sure you are not pregnant and it is OK to start the pill.

General recommendation – for the first 7 days of taking contraceptive pills women should use an additional form of contraception, such as condoms, to prevent pregnancy. After 7 days birth control pills should work alone to prevent pregnancy.

No matter when you start taking birth control pills, you will need to start each new pack on the same day of the week that you began your first pack. For example, if you start taking your birth control pills on a Monday, you will always begin taking them on a Monday. Keep in mind that birth control pills only work if you take them every day. They do not accumulate or collect in your body, which is why you must take a pill every day! You shouldn’t skip pills (on purpose or by accident) or stop taking them, even if you’re not having sex often. Also be aware that certain medications, such as certain antibiotics, can make your birth control pills less effective. If you miss a pill for any reason or you’re taking a medication that could interfere with your birth control pills, use a backup method for the rest of your cycle.

The Pill is very effective if you take it exactly as you are supposed to – one pill a day, taken at the same time each day. You should also use back-up contraception such as condoms if you have diarrhea or vomiting, or are taking a medication that could change the effectiveness of the birth control pill. Using condoms is always important to lessen your chances of getting an STD.

Most combination pills come in either a 21-day pack or a 28-day pack. One hormone pill is taken each day at about the same time for 21 days. Depending on your pack, you will either stop taking birth control pills for 7 days (as in the 21-day pack) or you will take a pill that contains no hormones for 7 days (the 28-day pack). A woman has her period when she stops taking the pills that contain hormones. Some women prefer the 28-day pack because it helps them stay in the habit of taking a pill every day.

Before you start Birth Control Pills, you need to know more about:


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