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Birth Control Pill Examination: 6 Tests Your Doctor Will Carry Out

A birth control pill examination is needed before starting on contraceptives. Some tests are not crucial and can be postponed.

Birth control pills are not handed out like candy. You have to go through a birth control pill examination before your doctor can prescribe the contraceptives. Some of the prescribed tests are not crucial and can be postponed to a later date. The tests also vary based on age.

Mandatory birth control pill examination

These are tests that the doctor must administer before you start birth control or refill your prescription.

Blood pressure

Your doctor should check your blood pressure before you begin taking the birth control pills. This is because the hormones found in birth control pills can sometimes cause your blood pressure to rise. In extreme cases, the pills can cause secondary hypertension.

If you have a history of hypertension, then you should inform your doctor before going on the pill. For the average woman, blood pressure tests can be done annually if she is in good health.

Ask if you are a smoker

Smoking is a high-risk factor when taking contraceptive pills. Your doctor will, therefore, enquire if you are a smoker.

Your risk of having a stroke or a heart attack increases when you are a smoker on the pill. You can also develop a blood clot. However, it does not mean that smokers should not be on birth control as there are contraceptive pills that are suited for them.

Ask if you’ve had a problem with blood clots

People with blood clot issues are also in the high-risk bracket when using oral contraceptives. The birth control pill is known to increase the possibility of blood clots. The hormones, estrogen and progestin, found in many oral contraceptives cause an increase in clotting factors. Doctors, therefore, have to check for a history of blood clotting as part of the birth control pill examination. If you have had blood clots in the past, the doctor can recommend a suitable type of contraceptive.

Non-mandatory tests

Some of the birth control tests can be skipped and done at a later date. Although these tests are important, they are usually not mandatory when signing up for an oral contraceptive plan to encourage more women to get on the pill. Some of these tests can be costly while others might discourage women from getting the contraceptives due to anxiety.  The non-mandatory birth control examination includes the following tests:

Breast exam

These exams help check for breast cancer. This is because studies have shown that some contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer. The breast exams are still important although the high-risk contraceptives are now rarely prescribed. Although getting a breast exam is not mandatory, it is important that you get it several times a year so that if you develop breast cancer, it can be detected early enough.

Pelvic exam

This exam is used to test for sexually transmitted infections. It is also important if you have complications such as abdominal pains or vaginal discharge. You can opt to skip this birth control pill examination if you are in perfect health.

Pap smear

This test is used to check for cervical cancer. You can skip it during a birth control examination, but you should make a point of having the Pap smear done at a convenient time. Teenagers also don’t get pap smears since they are inconclusive.

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When Should You Start the Pill? Determining The Best Time

When should you start the pill? We compared the methods: Quick Start, Sunday start, Fifth day start and First day start

Birth control has become a necessary stage in every woman’s life. Among all the birth control means, the pill has emerged on top due to its convenience and efficiency. Birth control is all about planning your family and personal life. This planning should start from the minute you decide to take that first birth control pill since it is likely to affect your menstrual cycle. So when should you start the pill? First, let’s explore our options.

Ways to start the pill

There are many approaches you can use to start taking the pill.

Quick start: with this method, you start the pill immediately after you get your first pack. This plan does not consider what day it is or where you are in your menstrual cycle.

Sunday start: as the name suggests, you start taking the pills on a Sunday.

Fifth day start: Wait until the fifth day of your period to take your first birth control pill.

First day start: Start taking the pill on the day your menstrual cycle begins

Now that we know the various methods let’s dig in deeper.

What would make starting or using pills easier?

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When should you start the Pill?

The time you choose to start your pill depends on your convenience, and the advantages you wish to gain.

Under normal conditions, most doctors recommend you start on the fifth day. This method is the most convenient for people who experience a normal cycle and are not in a hurry to start taking the pill. Should you start the pill on the fifth day, you start getting protection from that day, and hence you do not need to use a backup birth control method before the pill kicks in.

Another advantage of starting the pill on the fifth day is that it syncs up with your body’s natural cycle. Therefore, you are more likely to avoid complications such as intermenstrual spotting.

The first-day start method has the same advantages as the fifth-day start. You can also start taking the pill anywhere in between the first and fifth day of your menstrual cycle to gain the same benefits.

The Sunday start method is also chosen by many due to its convenience. This method helps to ensure that you don’t have your period during the weekend. Therefore, if this is a priority for you, then this is when you should start the pill. Another benefit is that the Sunday start also links up with most contraception calendars. It is therefore convenient so that you do not forget to take the pill.

Combining the fifth or first-day start with the Sunday start offers you more convenience since you rip the benefits of both methods. A Sunday that falls anywhere from your first day of bleeding to your fifth day is when you should start the pill.

Some women also opt for the quick start method. You can use this method if you are in a hurry to get the pill working. Just remember that for the first seven days after taking the pill, you should use an alternative method of protection. This approach is also likely to cause intermenstrual spotting.

So when should you start the pill? It is all a matter of convenience. Consulting your doctor and knowing what to expect when you take the pills for the first time will help you take the decision.

 

(A clinical pilot – DOI: 10.15761/COGRM.1000217, was conducted by a team of doctor’s including Henna Kärkkäinen, MD, Ph.D, Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Heikki Matero Ph.M, Janne Sahlman MD, Ph.D at the Kuopio University Hospital.  The study concludes that an on-demand reminder system increases adherence of birth control pill users. More details regarding this study can be found here. )

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Birth Control Pill Side Effects You Should Know About

If you are taking birth control pills, it is right that you know the side effects that might come with them so that you can recognize them early. If you experience some of these uncomfortable birth control pill side effects, you can switch to another pill or another form of contraception as recommended by your doctor.

Common Birth Control Pill Side Effects

These are some of the effects associated with taking birth control pills:

1. Intermenstrual Spotting

Vaginal bleeding is one of the common birth control pill side effects. It affects around half the women who use the pill. The bleeding mainly occurs within the first three months of taking the birth control pill, and it occurs between menstrual periods.

Spotting is usually caused by the body adjusting to the new hormonal environment. For 90 percent of women, the intermenstrual spotting stops by the end of the third month. However, for others, it might take longer.

The pill is always active even when you are experiencing these side effects as long as you observe the correct schedule.  You should seek medical advice in case of heavy bleeding for more than two days or normal bleeding for more than four days.

2. Nausea

Nausea is also another common symptom that occurs during the initial days of taking the pill. For most people, nausea ends after a while. Check out some great tricks to avoid nausea below.

https://www.instagram.com/p/By5c1-hhoWX/

The key to preventing unwanted side effects is to be consistent with pill-taking. There are a number of solutions to help in this regard, from reminder apps to more sophisticated pill reminder devices.

3. Fluid retention

Taking birth control pills causes some people to experience a slight weight gain due to their cells retaining fluids. The estrogen found in the contraceptives might cause the enlargement of fat cells causing them to retain more water. However, just like with many other side effects, this symptom is short lived, and many women regain their normal weight after 2 to 3 months.

Note that serious weight gain is not one of the birth control pill side effects. Various scientific studies have come out to disprove this myth.

4. Mood changes

Mood changes when using birth control pills can occur especially in people with a history of mental disorders such as depression. The pill might cause people to experience emotional changes. Therefore, people with a history of mental health problems should discuss this with their doctor.

5. Missed periods

At times, you might miss your period even when you are on the pill. This can result from other factors such as stress, hormonal abnormalities or illness. You should, however, ensure that you take a pregnancy test if you have been engaging in sexual intercourse to confirm that you are not pregnant.

If you continue to miss your periods, then you should seek medical advice.

6. Decreased sex drive

The hormones contained in birth control pills can affect some people’s sex drive. It is, however, difficult to ascertain if ones decreased libido is a birth control pill side effect since other factors can also cause the symptom.

Uncommon side effects

Other birth control pill side effects are less common but might be a serious hazard to your health. These include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Headaches
  • Abdominal pain
  • Swelling in the legs

In case you experience such symptoms, you should seek medical advice. They may be a pointer to a more serious problem such as liver disease or heart disease.

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