Raj K. Syal, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Jenna A. Everson, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.    |    Holly Westmoreland, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.   
    • 24 FEB 15
    Differences In Popular Birth Control Pills

    Differences In Popular Birth Control Pills

    If taken correctly, the birth control pill is a highly effective and popular method of birth control. The pill has a less than 1% failure rate, which means that less than one out of a hundred women who use the pill get pregnant. However, for those who miss taking the pill or take it incorrectly, the failure rate goes up significantly.

    Although most people simply call it the pill, there are, in fact, many different types of birth control pills, each with its own pros and cons. Before taking any birth control pill, one should make sure that this is the right type of contraception. Individuals can do this by talking to an OBGYN. For anyone seeking a great OBGYN, The Woodlands OBGYN Associates is one of the best.

    Types of Pills

    Birth control pills can be divided into two main categories:

    • Progestin-only pills
    • Combination pills

    Progestin-only pills, or mini pills, are commonly used by mothers who are nursing and women with preexisting risks for blood clots and other conditions that may prevent them from taking estrogen. One must take them at the same time every day; otherwise, they may not work. In fact, a three hour delay can lead to failure.

    Since constant breastfeeding already protects against pregnancy, progestin-only pills are ideal for nursing mothers. They simply provide added protection. However, the mini pill’s efficacy may be too low for women with normal fertility. Progestin-only pills work by thinning the endometrium and thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from joining the egg.

    Combination pills, on the other hand, contain the hormones progestin and estrogen. Most birth control pills on the market are combination pills. When taken correctly, they are equally effective at preventing pregnancy. Combination pills have other benefits, including:

    • Some improve acne.
    • They help women have lighter, shorter, less painful, and more regular periods.
    • They can lower the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer.
    • They can improve pain and bleeding associated with fibroids and endometriosis.
    • Some reduce the frequency and severity of menstrual migraines.
    • They may improve bone density.
    • They can lower the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.

    Combination pills work by suppressing ovulation. They also thicken the thin lining of the uterus and the cervical mucus to keep sperm from coming into contact with the egg. However, they raise the risk of blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks. The blood clots may start in a leg vein and travel to other parts of the body, which could be fatal. Women who smoke and are more than 35 years of age, in particular, should avoid taking any type of combination pill.

    Each woman may have different experiences with different types of birth control pills. Some common side effects of birth control pills include weight gain, breast tenderness, nausea, and light spotting or bleeding between periods. Fortunately, these side effects tend to go away in time; therefore, gynecologists recommend that women should stick to one pill for 3 to 6 months before giving up because of side effects.

    Women who choose to take the pill should work with their health care providers to choose the right type of pill for them. If you are considering using birth control, contact Woodlands OBGYN Associates today!