Birth Control Pills

How Pills Work

Combination hormone pills stop your body from releasing an egg, so no egg can be fertilized. The hormones also cause the liquid at the opening of the uterus to thicken, which can stop sperm from getting into the uterus.

How to Use Pills
Take one pill every day at about the same time every day. For instructions on how to begin taking your pills, call or ask your health provider. If you are late taking a pill take it as soon as you can and take the next one on time. If you miss two, take two that day and use condoms the rest of the cycle. You always need to make them up but not more than 2 in a day. If you miss 3 in a row call the office or check the package insert. If you had sex during that time without a condom call and ask about Emergency Contraception.

If you take one pill every day, about the same time every day (perfect use), the effectiveness rate is 99.9%; less then one out of 100 would become pregnant. Because some women miss taking their pills or take them at irregular times (typical use), the pill effectiveness rate can be as low as 95% or lower. If you are taking some other medications, the pills can be less effective. Tell your health provider any time you take other medications while taking birth control pills.

Benefits of the Pill

Many women report regular and lighter periods with fewer menstrual cramps, bloating, and a clearer complexion when taking pills. You will have less chance of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Pills provide some protection against ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, benign breast disease, ovarian cysts and iron deficiency. Taking pills does not interrupt sex. If you want to get pregnant, you can become pregnant immediately when you stop taking the pill.

Potential Side Effects & Disadvantages

Some women have bleeding or spotting between periods (called breakthrough bleeding), mild nausea, breast tenderness and/or moodiness the first month on pills. If they do not pass you may need a different brand of pills. Some women should not take pills especially if they are over 35 and smoke, have a history of blood cloths, heart attacks, stroke, or some other serious medical conditions. That is why our Nurse Practitioner will screen you before prescribing birth control pills. Recent research has shown that weight gain or loss cannot be attributed to the pill. Most modern pills have a low dose of hormones, and cause fewer side effects.

Using birth control pills WILL NOT give you protection against HIV (AIDS) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs) such as chlamydia, herpes, genital warts, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and syphilis.

Potential Risks
Some women should not take pills because of specific health conditions. If a woman has a history of cardiovascular disease, it is recommended that she not take birth control pills. Ask your healthcare provider.

Risk to life and health is greater from pregnancy than from pill use. Most modern pills have a low dose of hormones and can be taken with little risk. You have a four time higher change of dying from pregnancy than from using birthcontrol.

Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular blood clots, heart attacks, strokes) side effects, especially for women over 35. Women who use combination hormonal contraception are strongly advised not to smoke.

Where to Get Pills

Birth control pills require a prescription from a qualified health provider. Call your local health department, family planning or Planned Parenthood for information.