Birth Control

All About Oral Contraceptives

There are many forms of birth control, and each form has a slightly different application. Oral contraceptives refer to birth control that you can take by mouth and usually refers to the birth control pill.

In order to decide if the pill is the best option for you, you need to clearly understand its benefits and its downsides. We'll discuss them in-depth, so read on to find out more.

What Is the Pill?

This birth control pill is oral contraceptive that is taken by mouth daily. It contains either a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin, or, in the case of the mini pill, just the hormone progestin.

The first oral contraceptive was approved for use by the FDA and introduced to the market in 1950. It has been used to prevent pregnancy by women all over the world for over 70 years.

Currently, there are over 40 birth control pill brands on the market. These pills differ by the type of hormone compound used, the ratio of estrogen to progestin, the dosage of the hormones, as well as the dosage of hormones over the menstrual cycle.

How Does it Work?

The birth control pill works in two ways.

First, the estrogen in the pill prevents the body from ovulation. When ovulation is prevented, no egg is released from the ovaries. The lack of an egg prevents pregnancy at its origin. There's nothing for sperm to fertilize.

Next, the hormones in the pill cause a thickening of cervical mucus. This physical thickening prevents the sperm from reaching the egg if one was somehow present.

How Effective is It?

The effectiveness of the birth control pill depends on a lot of factors.

The first and most important factor is whether you remember to take it at the same time everyday. This is called "typical use". Missing the pill or being late can cause fluctuation in the hormone levels of your body, diminishing the pill's effectiveness.

The next factor is your own body's chemistry as well as any other medications you may be taking. There are a variety of medications that can interfere with birth control and you should consult with a doctor to see how any medications you may be taking factor into the effectiveness of birth control. Further, always remember to discuss any new medications with a trained professional, as well as letting any prescribing physician know that you currently take birth control during any prescription consultation.

Typical use of the birth control pill is 91% effective meaning that 9 women out of 100 will become pregnant during the first year of using this method.. Perfect use of birth control can be up to 99% effective, however your individual body .

How Frequently Do I Have to Take it?

You have to remember to take birth control every day, and at the same time every day. Depending on the type of birth control you are taking, you may have some sugar pills in your birth control prescription. Remember to take these as well as they help keep you in the good habit of remembering to take your birth control.

What Are the Side Effects?

The side effects of birth control differ for every person. Some known side effects include dizziness, nausea, weight loss or weight gain, and more. Make sure to thoroughly consult with your doctor to discuss what might be risks particular to you.

Hormonal pills have the added side benefits of helping relieve conditions like severe acne, PMS, and heavy bleeding. If you have any of these conditions, it is worth discussing birth control as a possible treatment during your initial conversation with your doctor.

Why Should I Pick the Pill?

The birth control pill is one of many possible birth control options, so it is worth understanding its benefits compared to the other options.

Birth control is easy to take and convenient to carry with you. Ingestion is simpler than, say, inserting a vaginal ring. Further, it has a 60+ year track record and you'll be working with a birth control method that ob/gyns and many healthcare providers are very familiar with. This familiarity pays off in the event that you are prescribed new medications or need other treatments.

Finally, the birth control pill comes in various formulas and ratios of hormones. You can easily discuss with your health care provider and adjust formulas and brands until you find the perfect hormone doses for you.

What Next?

If you're ready to try birth control, it's time to have a consultation with a trained professional. Our clinicians here at Hello Alpha can help you decide which pills are right for you. We offer an easy, online consultation during which we can identify your needs, understand your past medical history, and prescribe you with your medication.

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