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Facts about birth control pills

Birth control pills (oral contraceptives)  are the most popular method of contraception and family planning. It is not only most popular but also most secure method of contraception (up to 98-99%, is used correctly and regularly).

Birth control pills contain synthetic forms of female hormones (estrogen and progestin). Most pills in each cycle are active, which means they contain hormones. The remaining pills are inactive, which means they don’t contain hormones and used only for pause and rest. Pharmaceutical companies developed few types of birth control pills:

  • Monophasic pills – developed for one menstrual cycle, provides same dose of hormone;
  • Multiphasic pills – developed for one menstrual cycle, contain different combinations of hormones on different days of cycle;
  • Extended-cycle pills – developed usually for 13-week cycles, able to change women menstrual cycles, usually women have only 3-4 menstrual periods during one year.

Facts to know about Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly and consistently. For example, only one in 1,000 women who use the pill as prescribed is likely to get pregnant in the first year of use.

The pill works mainly by preventing ovulation or by thickening the mucus surrounding the cervix, which helps block sperm and thins the lining of the uterus so if an egg is fertilized, it would have trouble implanting. Discover everything about “Birth Control Pills” on next page.

The pill is one of the most common forms of birth control. Among U.S. couples who use birth control, nearly one-third currently use birth control pills. Discover more about “Modern Contraception” on next page.

The most serious side effect of the pill continues to be an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This risk is particularly high in certain groups, like women who smoke and are over 35. Discover more about “Birth Control Pills’ Risks and Side Effects” on next page.

Birth control pills

You may not know it, but the pill can help your health. For example, birth control pills can improve menstrual problems like heavy bleeding, pelvic cramps and pain, premenstrual syndrome and irregular cycles. They can prevent loss of bone density and reduce the risk of ovarian cysts. Pill use can also protect you from uterine and ovarian cancer. Discover more about “Birth Control Pills’ Benefits” on next page.

The Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experience (Women’s CARE) study indicated that present or past use among both Caucasian and African-American women ages 36 to 64 did not significantly increase the risk of breast cancer. Check more on next page – “Pills and Cancer”.

Birth control pills sometimes can provoke vaginal yeast infection – check on next page “Pills and Yeast Infection”.

Important to remember while using Birth Control pills

Most secure and safe contraception is Dual Contraception which considers using birth control pills and male condom at the same time.

Consider having another form of birth control, like spermicidal foam and condoms, on hand in case you forget to take a pill.

Always compensate immediately any missed pill – discover all instructions in “Pills – Missed Pills

Try to carry your pills with you if you don’t always sleep at the same place.

Take your pill at the same time every day. If you are using the patch, replace your patch weekly on the same day. If you are using the vaginal ring, remove it after three weeks of use.

Never forget to get in advance the additional package of your birth control pills – ready for next month. Don’t wait until the last minute to request refills.

You need back up if in addition you need to use antibiotics or other drugs. Discover more about “Pills and Antibiotics” and about “Birth control pills’ interaction with other drugs” on next pages.

Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings are all medications with certain side effects and interactions with other drugs. Always tell your doctor or pharmacist you are on the pill, patch, or vaginal ring if you see him or her for any reason.

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