Reading Time: 10 minutes
For those who want to know more about one of the most taboo topics out there for women, it’s none other than birth control pills. So, let’s break down the different and varied birth control pill types and categories out there and demystify the entire process. There are many different birth control pills and each has a different system of administration.
Different Types of Birth Control Pills
#1 Combination Pills
Birth control pills come with 2 hormones namely progestin and estrogen and are referred to as combination pills. These are the most popular and well-known category of birth control pills. Most of these pill types come in either 21 or 28-day packs. So long as one pill is taken per day, one is protected from pregnancy. The pill does not have to be taken at just the same time, but carrying this out keeps you in the regimen of recalling to take the pill. Alarm kinds, reminder types or birth control apps can help in reminding you to take the pill.
Taking a single pill for a period of 4 weeks/28 days, and then begin with a new pack on the 29th Day. The final pills in the 28-day combination medicines do not possess hormones. The number of days taken for hormone-free pills is different for various brands. Taking zero-hormone pills for seven day periods are common, but sometimes, even less will be taken. The pills are known as a reminder and/or placebo pills. They can remind one of taking the pill each day and starting the next pack within time. If these are not taken, you will get protection from pregnancy. Remember these reminder pills are to be taken when you get your period. They are rich in iron supplements or other supplementation that enables one to stay healthy.
Take a single pill each day for twenty-one days successively. Don’t take further pills for week 4, if you are following a 21-day schedule. In the fourth week, you will get your periods, while you are not taking any pills. It is vital to take pills in a twenty-one day pack, as there are no zero-hormone, supplement reminder pills. Hormone pills avert pregnancy even if one has intercourse during the weekend when no pills are being taken. The next pack has to be started post not taking the pill for 7 days. Use a reminder or an alarm to stay on course.
Certain combination pills offer twelve weeks worth of hormone pills in a single row, by about one week’s worth of reminder pills. These ensure that those on the pill will have their period once in 3 months. The hormones will prevent pregnancy even if there is intercourse during the week of the taking of the reminder pill. Use different pill brands instead of reminder pills to miss the period too.
#2 Progestin Pills (Mini-Pills)
These pills have one type of hormone called progestin. These tablets lack estrogen. These progestin pills need to be absorbed within the same 3 hours each day to prevent unwanted pregnancies. For instance, if one takes the progestin pill at 12o’clock pm, taking it post 3 pm the following day places you at a risk for pregnancy. Birth control applications, alarms, and reminders can help in taking pills every time. Progestin pills come in 4 week and/or 28-day packs. These pills possess hormones. The user has to take the pill in the progestin pack to offer protection from pregnancy. There is consequently no zero-hormone week. The period may be prevalent during the 4th week. The bleeding could also be experienced across the month or you may even be getting no periods at all.
Using the Pill To Cease The Period
Skipping the period using pills is extremely easy. Basically, the users need to make sure they take an active pill imbued with hormones every single day. This can be done in 2 ways:
A category of pills with 3 months of active table in succession can be taken, so the period is prevalent only 4 times in a year. The placebo pill can be skipped in the pack, and you can jump right on to the remaining pack nearly all of the time, or when special events are planned.
Women may experience spotting or bleeding to some extent while using the pill. It is totally regular and if the zero-hormone week is skipped every month, the effect dissipates after a period of 6 months. Nothing is harmful about taking the pill for skipping the period. It comes really handy when you an occasion planned.
What To Do If a Pill Is Missed?
The pill is optimal if taken regularly at the same point in time each day, but everyone on the pill does not always recall when it’s time to take the pill. How to cope when you miss your pills is important. Study what to do if the pill is missed. Be clear about the label on the pill pack and keep a regular supply of the same. Another safe bet is to using a condom. If you forget to take the pill, choose morning after or emergency contraceptives. Take pills for birth control every single day of the month. When you take the pill can impact how to use birth control methods like condoms which are backups for the beginning week.
How to Take the Combination Pills?
If one starts taking combination pills in a 5-day week, when the period starts, one is shielded from pregnancy immediately.
If your take combination pills, you are protected from pregnancy after a week of opting for the pill. Try methods like female/male condoms if there is vaginal intercourse.
How to Take Mini-Pills?
Use 100% progestin pills at just about any time and safeguard yourself from pregnancy after a period of 48 hours. Use birth control methods such as condoms if vaginal sex is experienced during the first two days. Take 100 per cent progestin pills regularly each day. If this is taken more than three hours, the usual time, backup method for the next 2 days should be used.
Commencing With the Pill Post Pregnancy
Getting pregnant after giving birth can be detrimental to the health of some women. Talk to your nurse and/or doctor about how to commence birth control as rapidly as possible. Start taking progestin-only pills post an abortion, childbirth or miscarriage. Take the combination pill immediately post miscarriage or abortions. In general, the combination pills can be taken 3 weeks after birth. But wait for at least 3 weeks, regardless of whether the woman is breastfeeding or not.
For those who want to be pregnant, one needs to be not taking the pill. One is likely to get pregnant right after stopping. Swallowing a pill can also cause side-effects so, remember that most of these disappear in two to three months.
Certain side effects once pills are taken include sore breasts, spotting, headaches or nausea right after starting the pill. Side-effects of birth control clear up post a few months. In case the side effects are way too much, your healthcare provider may be able to propose another brand or method of birth control. Some people can opt for multiple types of pills before locating the right one.
Please note that ingesting the pill changes the period. It might become lighter or stop coming altogether. This is more so if the pill is constantly been taken to skip the periods. While the possibility of pregnancy is low, if pills are taken each date, the pregnancy test can be taken when you miss out on your periods,to be safe.
Is the Pill Safe?
Chances are birth control pills can be perfectly safe for you. Most women use it without absolutely any problem. It has been around for more than fifty years and so many women have used it. But like with any other medication, the pill does not work for everyone. If you are over the age of 35 and a frequent smoker, you should not take the pill or any other birth control method containing estrogen. Progestin-only pills should be used by women who smoke.
Avoid combination pills if any of these health problems are there namely blood clots, breast cancer, heart attack, stroke, angina, migraine headaches with aura, uncontrolled BP and advanced diabetes/liver disease. Check with your medical practitioner about heart problems and risks. Decide which pills work out best for you.
While birth control pills are safe, using combination pills on a regular basis can raise the risk of health problems somewhat. Complications are not common but can be serious. These include heart attack, live tumors, blood clots, and even stroke. Progestin-only pills don’t carry that many risks. But always be sure to check with your doctor before taking a birth control pill, especially if you are taking medications or have health issues.
Also, remember that pills do not always guarantee you won’t get pregnant. But on the positive side, taking pills does not raise the chances of birth defects.
Do, however, see the doctor if you experience any side effects after taking the pill such as acute headaches, breathlessness, soreness in the leg, nausea, jaw pain, sweating, severe pain in the stomach or belly, headaches and an aura or yellowing of the skin and eyes.
Also bear in mind that if you are nursing, wait till three weeks after childbirth to start using combination pills. Breast milk contains traces of pill hormones, but these may not harm your child.
Choosing the Right Pill
Skipping periods with a pill is super easy. Take an active pill with hormones each day. You can either use a pill brand with 3 months of active pills in a row so periods can be achieved 4 times in a year. Skip the placebo pills in the pack and jump to the next one, if you want to prepare for a special event and don’t want your period at that time.
Bleeding and spotting may also result when you skip the period. It’s completely normal and if hormone-free weeks are skipped each month, it should disappear after 6 months. Using the pill to skip the period is perfectly normal. The pill works best if it is taken the same time each day. Everyone forgets to take the pill sometimes. Knowing what to do when you miss a pill is important too.
Specifically, there are 3 different methods to start taking birth control pills. The first way is to commence on day 1 of the periods. Focus on taking the pill each day at the same time. Using this method, you don’t need backups. Preventing pregnancy is easy using this method.
Another way to take it is to take the first pill in a quick start. Continue taking that pill each day exactly the same time. Backup protection methods like condoms can be used in conjunction.
Yet another way is to start taking the pill on the first Sunday post the commencement of the period. If the period commences on a weekend, start your pill that day. Take each pill simultaneously.
Remember that the pill can also cause you to skip the period completely. Pills can lighten the flow so even small amounts of bleeding are normal, as well. If the period is missed and there are no indications of pregnancy, the next set of pills can be continued with. If another period is missed next month, it is important to continue pills and get the pregnancy testing done. Such pills do not cause harm during the early stages of pregnancy.
However, if you miss more than a single pill, using backup methods or emergency contraception might work.
Use birth control pills to control hormone levels and prevent an undesirable pregnancy. Combination birth control pills stop the egg or ovum from releasing in the ovary and thickens the cervical mucus so the sperm does not enter. It also thins the endometrial lining to keep sperms from fertilizing the egg. In contact, the mini-pill causes the walls of the uterus to become thin and thickens cervical mucus to prevent birth from taking place.
Talk to your doctor before taking the pill. Combination pills, for example, come in two types namely monophasic and multiphasic pills. Monophasic birth control pills contain equal amounts of estrogen and progestin. Multiphasic pills, in contract, vary the hormones in specific stages. These pills also come in the form of low dosage meds for birth control. Such pills have less than 20mcg of ethinyl estradiol. This is in contrast to normal birth control pills which contain 50 mcg or less. Women who are sensitive to hormonal substances and react adversely to these may prefer a low dose pill. Low dose pills can cause discharge of blood in between periods, though
Combination pills offer a lot of benefits but come with their own pitfalls. While considering the right kind of pill, take the benefits into account. Firstly, it offers 99% protection against pregnancy. Secondly, it is also well known for reducing menstrual cramping, protecting against pelvic inflammatory diseases and reducing the chances of heavy menses or ovarian and endometrial cancers. But 8 in 100 women may become pregnant during the first year of this pill on account of incorrect usage.
Risks associated with combination pills include blood pressure, blood clots, heart attack, stroke, breast tenderness, liver damage, weight gain, depression, headache, irregular bleeding and even increased risk of jaundice. It also offers no protection against STI or HIV.
Mini-pills, on the other hand, is easy to take even if you suffer from medical conditions like blood clots, high BP, migraines or heart disease. It can be used at the time of breastfeeding and reduces menstruation cramping. It also makes periods lighter and protects against pelvic inflammatory disease. However, the risks of the mini-pill are also there. There’s nausea, vomiting, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, no protection against STI or bleeding between periods. Then, there’s weight gain, increase in acne, increased breast tenderness and even less efficacy as compared to combination pills.
Consider your reproductive system and menstruation patterns before going for a pill. Remember that continuous dose or extended cycle pills lower the number of menstrual cycles each year. Women may have only 4 periods a year or even none at all. But conventional pills don’t do that — you still have a period every month in the case of these.
Medications that can come in the way of birth control pill impact include antibiotics, seizure medicines, drugs for treating HIV, anti TB drugs and even herbs like St. John’s Wort.
Inform your doctor about medications, supplements, and other medical conditions before being prescribed a birth control pill. There are thyroid hormone drugs, benzodiazepines like diazepam, prednisone drugs, beta blockers, anticoagulants or blood thinners, insulin and even tricyclic antidepressants that should not be taken with birth control pills.
While using birth control pills, keep your medical history in mind and consider the doctor’s advice carefully before opting for this method to stop an unwanted pregnancy.