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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.

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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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Do Birth Control Pills Make You Fat?

There are many wonderful reasons for choosing the oral contraceptives as your birth control method, but it is important to remember that birth control pills are medication. So do birth control pills make you fat? Women who decide to use them may experience negative side effects.

These side effects may include nausea, headaches, decreased libido, and yes, even weight gain. Remember, not every woman who uses birth control pills suffers from these side effects. Even those who do, these problems are rarely severe.

Over time, most of these side effects will disappear or at least become less pronounced as the body adjusts to the increase of hormones.

Do Birth Control Pills Make You Fat?

Weight gain is one of the main reasons why many shy away from using oral contraceptives. Before starting many women want to know if birth control pills would bring on weight gain.

Most women do not gain any excessive weight from the pill at all.

There is not one answer for everyone. While indeed some women gain weight while on the pill, it is not necessarily a consequence of being on the pill. In fact, most women do not gain any excessive weight from the pill at all.

There are a few reasons why a minority of women may appear heavier and notice a larger number when they step on the scale. The largest amount of blame lies with a hormone known as estrogen.

Studies show that estrogen may both increase a person’s appetite and have the tendency to cause someone to retain water. However according to a large independent study from 2014 there is no sufficient evidence to suggest that the pill would cause major weight gain.

In the early days of oral contraceptives, birth control pills had much higher levels of estrogen than those which are present in today’s pills. Due to these larger amounts of estrogen in the older pills, many more women experienced negative side effects.

For many women weight gain is a normal occurrence that comes with age.

It is pure consequence why other women begin to wonder if birth control pills are causing weight gain.  It is natural for women to gain some weight during their older teen years into their young twenties and then again when they are in their mid-thirties and beyond.

These just so happen to be the time when many women use birth control pills. Therefore, it is quite natural to put the blame on birth control pills for this normal weight gain.

Do birth control pills make me fat? Highly unlikely, according to science.

What Can You Do If You Gain Weight While Using Oral Contraceptives?

If you are among the small percentage of women who continuously gain weight even after a few months of being on the pill, you should know that there is hope. Your first step is to make an appointment with your doctor to discuss your concerns over gaining weight.

Your weight gain may just be a coincidence and have no link to your birth control at all. For weight gain due to birth control pills, a doctor may be able to help.

Not all birth control pill brands have the same impact on your body.

Not all brands of birth control pills use the same dosage level of estrogen. Your doctor may want to try a prescription with a lower estrogen level to determine if that corrects the problem. Alternatively, your  doctor may put you on a progestin-only pill.

These pills are sometimes known as POPs or minipills because they do not contain any estrogen at all. A recent study that analysed 22 earlier studies found little evidence that POPs would cause weight gain.

One thing to note with POPs is that getting the same contraceptive efficiency as with combination pills will require you to be extra careful with timing. Missing a pill here and there will increase your risk of unwanted pregnancy more than with combination pills.

After you change to a new pill, you should not expect any immediate changes, It generally takes up to three months before most women will notice a reduction in their weight.

As for any other medication, women should ask their doctors questions to understand all the possible side effects birth control pills may cause.

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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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