Birth Control Pill: What You Should Know

Birth control pills are a time-tested family planning option that women have trusted for years. Thanks to advancements in clinical research, there are many options available. But how do you know which one is right for you? Read on to find out what you should know when it comes to the pill.

Types of Birth Control Pills and How They Work

Birth control pills contain either a combination of hormones (estrogen and progestin) or progestin-only. They work in similar ways to prevent pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to get to and fertilize the egg. In addition, the pill thins the lining of the uterus and stops ovulation. With the progestin-only pill, some women will continue to ovulate but taken properly they can be very effective because fertilization is prevented.

Benefits

The benefits of birth control pills stretch beyond the prevention of pregnancy.

Combined Hormonal and Progestin-only

  • They do not interfere with sex
  • Periods may be lighter, shorter, and more regular
  • Reduced severity of menstrual cramps
  • Reduced cancer risk in the ovaries, and uterus
  • May help treat certain disorders like endometriosis
  • Relief of heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Prevention of menstrual migraines

Combined Hormonal (Estrogen + Progestin)

  • Improved bone mineral density
  • Treatment of acne
  • Menstrual cycle regularity

Progestin-only

  • Are a good option for women who cannot take combined hormonal pills due to high blood pressure, certain types of migraines or other contraindications to estrogen
  • May reduce menstrual bleeding or stop it altogether
  • Can be taken immediately after childbirth and while breastfeeding

Are Birth Control Pills Right for You?

Finding out which birth control pill option is right for you begins with talking to your doctor. Birth control pills, like certain other medications, should not be taken with some health conditions. Your health history and family planning needs will all play a part in determining which option is right for you.

Advancing Birth Control Options

Clinical research is making great strides in the search for birth control pill options. The doctors and staff at Seattle Women’s are dedicated to giving you the information and guidance needed to make the right decisions for your birth control choices. Research conducted by Dr. Robin Kroll and her team has played an integral part in bringing progestin-only birth control pills, like Sylnd (a new progestin-only pill), to the market as well as other birth control methods like copper IUDs. If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about birth control pills or other options, call our office at 206-522-3330 ext 2.

References:

https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Combined-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-Patch-and-Ring

https://www.pharmacytimes.com/resource-centers/womens-health/fda-approves-drospirenone-tabeletfor-pregnancy-prevention

https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Progestin-Only-Hormonal-Birth-Control-Pill-and-Injection

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