Birth Control

Birth Control Pills: Are They Right for You?

The type of birth control you use is a personal decision, and there are many options to choose from. If you’re a sexually active female, you may consider birth control pills.

Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, are medications you take by mouth to prevent pregnancy. They’re an effective method of birth control. Find out how they work and what side effects they can cause, as well as other factors to help you decide if birth control pills are a good choice for you.

What Are the Types of Birth Control Pills?

Combination Pills

Combination pills contain synthetic (man-made) forms of the hormones estrogen and progestin. Most pills in each cycle are active, which means they contain hormones. The remaining pills are inactive, which means they don’t contain hormones.

There are several types of combination pills:

  • Monophasic pills: These are used 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.
  • Multiphasic pills: These are used in one-month cycles and provide different levels of hormones during the cycle. During the last week of the cycle, you take inactive pills and have your period.
  • Extended-cycle pills: These are typically used in 13-week cycles. You take active 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.

Examples of brand-name combination pills include:

  • Azurette
  • Beyaz
  • Enpresse
  • Estrostep Fe
  • Kariva
  • Levora
  • Loestrin
  • Natazia
  • Ocella
  • Low-Ogestrel
  • Ortho-Novum
  • Ortho Tri-Cyclen
  • Seasonale
  • Seasonique
  • Velivet
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz

Progestin-Only Pills

Progestin-only pills contain progestin without estrogen. This type of pill is also called the minipill. Progestin-only pills may be a good choice for women who can’t take estrogen for health 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.

Examples of progestin-only pills include:

  • Camila
  • Errin
  • Heather
  • Jencycla
  • Nor-QD
  • Ortho Micronor

Deciding On a Type of Birth Control Pill

Not every type of pill is a good fit for every woman. Talk to your doctor about which pill option would work best for you. Factors that can affect your choice include:

  • your menstrual symptoms
  • whether you are breastfeeding
  • your cardiovascular health
  • other chronic health conditions you may have
  • other medications you may take
Source
Health line

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