When deciding what type of birth control is right for you, the choices can feel overwhelming. There are barrier methods, injectable contraceptives, and oral birth control pills. Even if you opt for oral birth control, your choices don’t end there. From selecting a brand to choosing between minipills or combination pills, there are still many decisions to be made. This article discusses the differences between popular oral birth control options so you can make an informed choice.
People often refer to oral birth control as “the pill,” even though there are multiple brands and types of birth control pills available. Of all the contraception methods available, pills are some of the most popular. They’re easy to use and very effective. Nowadays, you can even access birth control online to ensure you never miss a dose. To help you choose the right oral contraceptive for your lifestyle, here’s an overview of how minipills and combination birth control work.
Unlike most types of oral birth control pills, a minipill does not contain both estrogen and progesterone. Instead, it’s a progesterone-only form of birth control. It contains a synthetic version of progesterone called progestin. It works by changing the consistency of the cervical mucus to make it harder for sperm to travel through it. It also causes thinning of the uterine lining to prevent attachment of a fertilized egg. Finally, it stops ovulation from occurring so there is no egg released from the ovary.
Minipills come in 28-pill packs. You should take a pill every day at the same time of day, with no breaks between packs. When you first order your pills, begin taking them within the first five days of your period. If you begin taking minipills more than five days after your period starts, you’ll temporarily need additional birth control. Use a condom or some other type of backup birth control for at least two days.
There are many reasons people choose minipills over other types of contraception. Some of the benefits include shorter, lighter, and less painful menstrual periods. Many women choose minipills after giving birth because it’s safe to take even while breastfeeding. It does not affect the amount of milk the body can produce.
The minipill is also a good option for many women who can’t tolerate birth control pills containing estrogen. You can still get your period while taking the minipill, but it will be short and minimally uncomfortable. It may be irregular when you first begin taking minipills, and this is normal. If menstrual irregularity lasts longer than three months, talk to your healthcare provider.
As with most forms of contraception, there are possible side effects associated with taking minipills. Some of the most common include nausea, breast tenderness, weight changes, and headaches. Some people may also notice increased hair growth and unexpected changes in weight. Others may notice changes in their monthly menstrual cycle, such as heavy bleeding or no bleeding at all. However, menstrual regularities typically resolve themselves within six months of taking minipills.
One of the biggest disadvantages associated with the minipill is that it’s less effective than combination birth control pills. If you become pregnant while taking the minipill, your risk for ectopic pregnancy is higher. Fortunately, if you take the pill at the same time every day, it’s about 99% effective. If you don’t take it at the same time every day, it becomes about 91% effective.
As the name suggests, a combination birth control pill contains both estrogen and progestin. Like minipills, combination contraceptives prevent the body from ovulating. They also change the uterine lining and cervical mucus to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg. There are different types of combination birth control pills that deliver different doses of hormones. They include conventional, extended-cycle, and continuous-dosing pills.
Conventional combination birth control packs come with 21 active pills and seven inactive pills (without hormones). You take a pill every day and begin a new pack as soon as you finish the current one. Many people experience menstrual bleeding when they take the inactive pills. Extended-cycle packs contain seven inactive pills and 84 active pills, meaning you’ll only bleed approximately four times a year while taking the inactive pills. Continuous-dosing packs contain 365 active pills and no inactive pills, which means periods may stop completely while taking them.
One of the top benefits of combination birth control pills is that they can prevent pregnancy while lessening symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. For this reason, many girls with painful periods take this type of medication even if they aren’t sexually active. Combination birth control pills may also reduce acne and reduce androgen production associated with polycystic ovary syndrome.
In addition to these benefits, combination birth control pills can also reduce the risk of certain reproductive health conditions. These include ovarian cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cysts, ectopic pregnancy, and noncancerous breast disease. Finally, combination birth control pills are highly reliable and easy to take.
Combination birth control pills offer a variety of benefits, but they may not be the most suitable choice for everyone. Due to the hormones they contain, these pills may cause unwanted side effects in some people. Possible side effects include breast tenderness, headaches, bleeding or spotting between periods, and nausea.
Though less common, some people may also experience unwanted changes in libido while taking combination birth control pills. These pills may also cause mood swings or depression in some people. If you experience these types of symptoms for more than three months, consider switching to another type of contraception.
Of all the birth control options available, pills are still some of the most popular. They’re effective, convenient, and easy for most people to take. Now that you know more about minipills and combination birth control pills, you should find it easier to choose between them.