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Birth Control

Birth Control Pill

The Birth Control Pill is a commonly used reversible form of birth control. It requires women to take one pill a day. Most packs contain 28 pills. When a pack is finished, a new pack must be started the next day.

The pill contains two hormones, an estrogen and a progestin, which keep the ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation). The pill also thickens the cervical mucus. In addition, the pill can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus should you ovulate.

We will provide you with a prescription if you and your doctor decide that the pill is right for you.

The cost of the birth control pills can vary depending on where you buy them, your insurance coverage and whether a generic or brand name is purchased. An average cost would be $30 – $45 per pack of pills. You will need an annual exam from your physician to continue your prescription.

Effectiveness
The pill is one of the most effective reversible methods of birth control available. Of every 100 women who use the pill, only 5 will become pregnant during the first year of typical use. Less than 1 will become pregnant with perfect use. Birth control pills work best if taken at about the same time everyday. You will be protected as long as you take them on time and don’t skip any pills.

Pregnancy can happen any time after you stop taking the pill. Pregnancy can occur if an error is made in using the pill – especially if:

  • Pills are started too late in the cycle
  • Two or more pills are missed in a row
  • Pills are taken in the wrong order

Some medications, including antibiotics, may reduce the effectiveness of the pill by increasing its metabolism by the liver which reduces the amount of the hormones in your blood. Tell your physician you are taking the birth control pill any time medication is prescribed for you.

Vomiting and diarrhea may also prevent the pill from working by reducing absorption. During these times, a backup method (such as condoms) should be used as well.

If pregnancy is desired, it usually can take one to three months for periods to return to the cycle you had before using the pill. It can take several months after cycles return to become pregnant.

Advantages
There are many advantages to women who take the birth control pill:

  • Convenient to use
  • More regular periods
  • Less menstrual flow
  • Less menstrual cramping
  • Less iron deficiency anemia
  • Fewer ectopic (tubal) pregnancies
  • Less pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Less acne
  • Less premenstrual tension

The pill offers significant risk reduction for ovarian and endometrial cancers. The pill may also offer some protection against osteoporosis.

Disadvantages
Many women adjust to taking the pill with few or no problems. But all medications, including the pill, have side effects and some health risks. Side effects include:

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea – rarely, vomiting
  • Changes in mood or sex drive

Many times, side effects will disappear after several months when the body adapts to the pill. Sometimes side effects can be controlled by changing to a different brand or strength of pill. If side effects persist or are severe, discuss the problem with your physician. He may change your prescription or the two of you may decide that a different form of birth control is better for you.

The birth control pill does not protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. A condom can reduce the risk of infection.

Risk Factors

Pill users have a slightly greater chance of developing certain serious problems that can be fatal in very rare cases. These include blood clots in the veins or lungs, and liver tumors. The chance of developing some of these problems are increased by:

  • Aging
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol in the blood
  • Certain inherited conditions that increase the risk of blood clotting