Daily Birth Control Pills are daily pills that contain specific hormones that change the way the body works to prevent unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
Most birth control pills are "Combination Pills' and they contain a mix of the hormones oestrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation, which is the release of eggs during the monthly cycle. A woman cannot get pregnant if she doesn't ovulate because there is no egg to be fertilised.
The second type of birth control pill is called "Progestin-Only Pills''.The pill works by thickening the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released. The hormones in the Pill can also sometimes affect the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for an egg to attach to the wall of the uterus.
Most combination pills come in either a 21-day pack or a 28-day pack. These pills are used daily in one-month cycles and each active pill gives you the same dose of hormone. During the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period.
You have your period when you stop taking pills that contain hormones. There's also a type of combination pill that is typically used in 13-week cycles. You take hormone pills for 12 weeks, and during the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period. As a result, you have your period only three to four times per year.
Progestin-only pills: They contain progestin without oestrogen. They may be a good choice for women who can’t take oestrogen for medical or other reasons. With these progestin-only pills, all pills in the cycle are active.
There are no inactive pills, so you may or may not have a period while taking progestin-only pills. The mini-pill is taken every day without a break. For the mini pill to work, it must be taken at the same time every day, without missing any doses.
There are different daily birth control brands. However, any type of birth control pill works best when it is taken every single day at the same time of the day, regardless of whether you are going to have sex or not. The pills are safe, affordable, and effective if taken appropriately.
Birth Control Pills Pros
Birth control pills offer a range of benefits beyond pregnancy prevention. Other benefits include:
- Regulates menstrual cycles - Birth control pills balance the hormonal instabilities that happen throughout the cycle which can help with numerous menstrual issues, including irregular periods, heavy bleeding, cramps, and painful periods. It can even help with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) symptoms, including acne and unwanted hair growth.
- Relieves symptoms of PMS and PMDD - Most women experience physical or emotional symptoms in the weeks or days of their period. This is known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
PMS is usually due to hormonal fluctuations. Hormonal birth control is also a potential treatment for premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). This is a type of severe PMS that tends to involve more emotional or psychological symptoms.
- Relieves Endometriosis Symptoms - Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside of it. This can cause painful periods with painful menstrual cramps. Hormonal birth control methods help because they allow you to skip periods.
- Reduces risk of ovarian cysts - Ovarian cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that form in your ovaries during ovulation. They aren’t harmful, but they’re sometimes painful. Women with PCOS often have a large number of small cysts in their ovaries. By preventing ovulation, hormonal birth control can prevent these cysts from forming. They may also stop preceding cysts from regrowing.
- Reduces Risk of Anaemia - Some women experience very heavy bleeding during their periods. This can increase the risk of anaemia. People with anaemia don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen around their bodies, which can cause weakness and fatigue.
Birth Control Pills Cons
- It can cause temporary side effects at first, such as headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, and mood swings – if these do not go after a few months, it may help to change to a different pill
- It can increase blood pressure
- It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
- Breakthrough bleeding and spotting are common in the first few months of using the pill
Possible Side Effects
The birth control pill is a safe and effective method of birth control. Most young women who take the Pill have none or few side effects.
The side effects that some women have while on the Pill include:
- Irregular menstrual bleeding
- Nausea, headaches, dizziness, and breast tenderness
- Mood changes
- Blood clots (rare in women under 35 who do not smoke)
- Weight gain. Although rare, some women gain a bit of weight when they start taking birth control pills. It's often a temporary side effect due to fluid retention, not extra fat.
Typically, you should be able to get pregnant within 1-3 months of stopping the pill. However, some women may experience a delay in resuming ovulation and menses following prolonged birth control use and this can reduce their chances of getting pregnant immediately.
Overall, the pill has no negative impact on fertility.
Forgetting pills, losing the pack, and not refilling your prescription on time are the major reasons people get pregnant when using the pill.
Here are some ways to help you remember to take your pills every day;
- Use a birth control reminder app or set a daily alarm on your phone.
- Keep your pill pack next to something you use daily (like your toothbrush).
- Keep your pills in your bag so they’re always with you. If you are anxious about putting it in your bag because you don't want people finding out, you can put it in a pill organiser or a small safe container.
Over 1 year, about 9 out of 100 typical couples who rely on the pill to prevent pregnancy will have an accidental pregnancy. Of course, this is an average figure and the chance of getting pregnant depends on whether you take your birth control pills every day. A pill is an effective form of birth control, but even missing 1 day increases the chance of getting pregnant.
Are you team birth control or let's see how it goes? Let's get your thoughts in the comment section.