An Overview of Oral Contraception
Oral contraception, or “birth control pills,” is a very popular contraception medication that is taken by thousands of women each day in the Plano, Frisco and Dallas, Texas communities. These pills are highly effective if taken correctly and as prescribed by the OBGYNs at Women’s Specialists of Plano. When taken correctly, this form of birth control is 99% effective. This safe, effective, and cost-friendly birth control option is very easy to obtain with a prescription.
Birth control pills are made of hormones. Some will contain estrogen and progestin, while others will only contain progestin. The combination of both of these hormones makes up the most popular birth control pills. When these pills are taken, the hormones that are in the pill prevent the eggs from leaving the ovaries by making the cervical mucus in the ovaries thicker. This means that the egg cannot be released and thus meet with sperm.
How do Birth Control Pills Work?
The only way a birth control pill can be effective, is if it is taken as prescribed. The rule of thumb is to take your pill at the same time every day. It is crucial that women who are on the pill remember to take them as skipping a pill can lead to pregnancy. Certain antibiotics may make the pill less effective; and if a woman becomes ill and vomits, the pill may also fail to work.
The method used to take birth control pills will depend on the type of pill that is being taken. Most combination pills come in 28-day or 21-day packs. Both types have 21 “active” pills that contain hormones, and the last seven pills, which are referred to as “sugar” pills or “reminder” pills, do not have to be taken. It is during this week that most women will get their period. some pills have a shorter period time by using fewer “sugar” pills, and some packs will lead to only having a period every 12 weeks. Progestin-only pills come only in 28-day packs. All progestin-only pills are active, and women may or may not have a period in the last week. The hormones contained in both types of pill packs prevent pregnancy throughout the month, but they must be taken every day as prescribed and scheduled.
While the pill is very safe to take, it does have a subset of risk factors that may or may not apply to a woman. A woman should not take the birth control pill if she:
- Has a history with blood clots or has a blood related disease
- Is overweight
- Smokes and is 35 years of age or older
- Has high blood pressure
- Has lupus or other medical condition
- Has any heart related issues
- Has a history of getting migraines
- Has severe diabetes
The pill also offers women a range of benefits, including:
- A reduction in menstrual cramps
- Lighter, more regulated periods
- A protection against acne
- A protection against bone thinning
- A protection against certain ovarian and gynecological cancers and diseases
If you are interested in taking the birth control pill as a form of oral contraception, a skilled gynecologist with Women’s Specialists of Plano will provide a physical exam and discuss the different pill alternatives with you. Some pills will come with a lower hormone level than others. There are some great generic alternatives as well. Once you have your prescription, your pill pack will come with great deal of information. It will offer suggestions about when to start your pack, what to do if you miss a pill, or multiple pills, and will also offer risk warnings and other important information.
For more information about oral contraceptives, or to make an appointment to discuss birth control pill alternatives, please contact the office of Women’s Specialists of Plano, a group of board certified OBGYNs serving the Plano, Frisco and Dallas, Texas area.