The Birth Control Pill (also called oral contraceptives or “the pill”) is one of the most popular types of birth control. Different brands of birth control pills vary in their dose, which hormones are used, and length of cycle. Currently, most birth control pills have low dose of hormones and have few side effects. The Pill, as well as other hormonal contraceptives, must be prescribed by a Clinician.
Birth control pills are taken orally once a day and most packages contain 21 active (hormone) pills for three weeks then one week of “sugar” pills when your period occurs. The sugar pills serve no purpose other than to remind you to keep taking your pill every day. Different brands of pills and hormone dosages control how many days your period will last, and how many days of active pills you will take. It is imperative that you take your pill at the same time of the day, every day to be effective. If you miss a pill or take a pill later than you were supposed to, a backup form of birth control should be used.
If the pill is taken consistently on a daily basis, it prevents pregnancy 99% of the time. Unfortunately, if a woman forgets to take the pill, the chance of pregnancy goes up. On average, with normal adherence to the schedule of taking the pill at the same time every day, the effectiveness rate is about 92%. The Pill does not protect against reproductive tract infections, including HIV/AIDS.
Women who take “The Pill” generally have lighter periods with less cramping. There is also a lower incidence of cancer of the uterus in women who take the pill. Break-through bleeding and spotting sometimes occurs, but is less likely the more regularly you take your Pill on time every day. Similar to other hormonal contraceptives, other side effects can include: breast tenderness or soreness, headache, and nausea. These symptoms are usually worse when you first start taking a hormonal contraceptive like The Pill, and get better and usually disappear completely as your body adjusts to the new hormones (usually after few months of continued use.)
If you want a short-term method of birth control, can remember to take a pill at the same time every day, and are thinking of having kids sometime soon, the pill may be great for you. If you are not good at keeping to a certain schedule, and doing something at the same time, every day, The Pill may is probably not the right fit for you. If you do not want kids for at least a year, we suggest a longer acting form of birth control such as: Skyla IUD, Mirena IUD, Paragard IUD, or Nexplanon.