Birth control pills are the most common choice among women when it comes to protection against unwanted pregnancy, and because women are different, there are many different types of birth control pills.
Birth control pills, if taken correctly, are highly effective in preventing the unwanted pregnancy. They are one of the most popular methods of contraception among women. The pill is 99.9% effective if taken correctly. It provides protection from unwanted pregnancy, but not the protection against sexually transmitted diseases.
You should take birth control pills only after previous consultation with the doctor, not on your own. There are various manufacturers on the market that produce contraceptives with different doses of hormones. Also, birth control pills cannot be taken by all women because side effects can affect certain health problems. This is why you should discuss the benefits and risks with the doctor before making a decision.
Types of birth control pills
There are three types of birth control pills, and they vary in the hormones they contain.
Combined pills contain both estrogen and progesterone. These are usually the pills that are used by women. This type of combined pill reduces pain and bleeding during menstruation. They also help reduce the risk of ovarian cysts. They have a longer window period in which it can be taken compared to the progesterone-only pill which has to be taken every day with no week's break, and within the same three-hour window to be effective. The side effects are headaches, vomiting, weight gain and the formation of blood clots.
There are many types of combined contraceptive pills:
- Monophasic pills contain the same amount of both hormones. They are taken for 21 days, and some can have 7 pills that contain no hormones. The 7-day break will lead to menstruation. The most common are: Microgynon 30, Yasmin, Diane-35, Minovral, Qlaira.
- Multi-phase pills contain different levels of hormones. They increase the dose of hormones over time. They have been developed to reduce the side effects of birth control pills. The most common are: Tiquilar, Triphasil.
- Birth control pills for continuous use are taken continuously without interruption. This means that they will not allow the occurrence of menstruation, so you will not get your period.
- Low Dose pills are low-estrogen versions of the combined pill. As low dose pills contain less estrogen, they can reduce side effects such as breast tenderness. However, it can also lead to irregular periods. They are more often used by older women, though they can be tried by everyone. The most common are: Yaz, Logest, Femodette.
While the combined pill remains the most popular form of female contraception, it is not suitable to be taken by some women because it contains estrogen. Women who are breastfeeding, over 35 and smoke, or very overweight cannot take the combined pill.
The Mini-pill / progesterone-only pill (POPs) contains only the hormone progesterone. This type of pill is perfect for women who cannot take estrogen, who are breastfeeding and are older than 35 years and smoke. The most common side effects were irregular bleeding, headaches, and lack of menstruation.
They should be taken every day at the same time in order to be effective. If you are more than three hours late to take the mini-pill, you will not have contraceptive protection. With this in mind, it is and good idea to make taking the mini pill part of your regular daily routine or set an alarm to make sure you take it on time.
Morning-After Pills / Emergency Contraception are tablets that should not be taken regularly. They are for women who have had unprotected intercourse, and they think they could get pregnant. They should be taken within 72 hours after intercourse. They are very effective if taken immediately after unprotected intercourse. The side effects are usually abdominal pain or nausea. These pills are not a method of contraception! They should be used only for emergency situations.
Long-term hormonal contraception (No-pill alternatives)
The IUS (intrauterine device), also known as Mirena, is form of long-term hormonal contraception. It is a small T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus which releases progesteron (levonorgestrel). Mirena thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. Mirena also thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation. The IUS can lighten periods and typically lasts for five years.