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Category Archives: Birth Control

The birth control pill is one of the most commonly used medications.  However, there still remain some misconceptions about the pill.

There are a number of different types of pills.  They all contain the same type of estrogen.  Newer pills have less estrogen than older pills.  Newer pills are effective in preventing pregnancy and they demonstrate reduced symptoms of bloating and breast tenderness.  The lower dose pills may be less effective if one pill is missed.  If an individual goes for longer than seven days in a pill free interval that is when they are at most risk of pregnancy.  This means it is very important to take the last pill and the first pill of a cycle.  There are some recommendations that a pill with a higher dose of estrogen should be used in women weighing over 154 pounds for increased effectiveness.

Pills differ in the type of progesterone they contain.  Some pills are particularly effective for improving acne.  Diane 35 is used to treat moderate to severe acne.  Yaz is used for mild to moderate acne.  There may be a very small increased risk of forming a clot on these pills, and so pills such as Alesse and Marvelon can be tried first.

Some pills are monophasic, meaning they have constant levels of estrogen and progesterone.  Others have changing levels of progesterone.  Both types of pills are effective, the only difficulty with a triphasic pill is that it is not ideal to be taken without a pill free interval.  If an individual wants to take their pills back to back to avoid a period, they may still get a period with the triphasic pill.

Sometimes women develop migraines on the pill because of a drop in estrogen during the week off the pill, or they want to avoid having a period.  In this case it may be worth taking Seasonale.  This is a pill you take for three months in a row without a break.  This is safe to do and may help with the above mentioned issues.

Patients should be aware that some medications can decrease the effectiveness of the pill.  Rifampin, barbiturates, phenytoin and carbamazepine can all decrease effectiveness.  Experts say that antibiotics are unlikely to reduce efficacy of the pill.

The pill is a good tool for treating a myriad of issues.  It can prevent pregnancy, clear acne, regulate and lighten cycles.  There a number of options when it comes to the type of pill you take to address each of these concerns.  Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to determine the right one for you.