Written by Pradeep
Birth control pills have been around for 50 years! And it is the most commonly used birth control technique. As is always the case, it is best to consult a gynecologist before you consider taking birth control pills. Your doctor might be in a better place to gauge your health and other physical conditions and suggest the best birth control option for you.
If you are considering taking pills as a means to birth control, here is everything you need to know about it – how it works, its effectiveness, benefits, risks, and side effects.
In This Article
Oral contraceptive pills, or birth control pills, contain hormones – it could be just estrogen, or just progestin, or a mix of both estrogen and progestin. These hormones help in a few ways.
If birth control pills are taken as directed, they are effective from the very first month that you start taking them. However, to be on the safer side, some doctors recommend using other forms of birth control such as condoms during the first month of its use. After the first month, you can completely rely on the birth control pills.
Combined pills are available in two formats: 21-day or 28-day packs. You take these pills once daily at the same time of day. Progestin-only pills come in a 28-day pack. Like the combination pills, you will have to take these pills once daily at the same time of the day.
Birth control pills’ effectiveness can be as high as 99%, as long as you take it the way it is prescribed, at the same time every day, in the right dosage, without skipping a dose. Of course, realistically, it is difficult not to skip a dose! And more you skip, the lower the effectiveness of the pill. One study showed that out of 100 women who skipped a dosage, 9 became pregnant
Another thing to remember is that often times the effectiveness of the pills is reduced when you are under medication for something else. For instance, some antibiotics can lower the effect of birth control pills. So make sure you check with the doctor about it. And when in doubt, always use an extra level of birth control precaution like condoms
Birth control pills have many advantages, in addition to pregnancy prevention. Here are some of them:
Some of the side effects of birth control pills are actually good for health! They are known to:
Pills are also very convenient to take, as long as you remember to take them as per the prescription. They give you the control and also since it is not taken during sex, it does not interfere with it either
We mentioned before how these pills reduce menstrual cramps. In addition, many women report that pills make their periods more predictable and easier to manage. It can also help stop your period altogether
One of the biggest benefits of using pills is that women do not face any difficulty in getting pregnant once they stop using the pills. For some, it might take a few months for regular periods to kick start, but for most, pregnancy is a possibility immediately after the pills are stopped. To know more read here
As always, there are some serious risks also associated with birth control pills. Although the chances of you being affected by any of them are pretty slim, it is still important to understand the increased risks you are exposed to due to taking birth control pills. If you are taking birth control pills for a long term, you are at an increased risk of:
Thankfully, most of the side effects of birth control pills are not as worrisome as the list above. Some of them are definitely inconvenient, but not dangerous. These side effects include:
If by any chance you forget to take your daily dose of birth control pill, then take it as soon as you remember. If you realize the next day that you have missed taking the pill, then take two pills that day. And if you forget to take the pill for two consecutive days, then take two pills the day you remember and two pills the next day.
This will put you back on schedule. However, if you miss taking pills for more than two days then check with your doctor who will advise you on how to get back to your schedule either by asking you to add an additional pill for a few days or by asking you to start with a new pack altogether.
One of the main reasons why birth control pills fail is that we forget to take the pill and this mistake can result in pregnancy. There may be instances where you lose the pill pack or forget to get a new pack. All this can mess up the effectiveness of birth control pills. Here are some ways that will help you to remember to take pills every day: