Birth control is something that a lot of people consider. It saves you the trouble of worrying about the consequences and allows you to live your life the way you want to live it. There are many different types of birth control methods available in the market but the most common and safest one for women is to take the birth control pills. Not only are these pills safe but they also help women in keeping their internal cycles regular too.
These birth control pills may be made of a combination of female hormones or may have only one hormone depending on their type. They are taken orally (ingested through the mouth) and the amount of dosage required depends on the type of pill being used. The characteristics of the two main types of birth control pills are described as follows:
- Combination Pills: The most common type of oral contraceptive. These types of pills are usually a combination of two female hormones: estrogen and progestin. They help prevent pregnancies in the following ways:
- By thickening the mucus in your cervix
- By suppressing the process of ovulation in your body
- By thinning the lining of your uterus.
These are the pills that are more commonly used as compared to so-called mini-pills, which we will get to in a moment. Combination pills help improve your menstrual cycle as well as reduce the cramps associated with them. This in turn reduces the chances of anemia. They also help clear up skin acne which is an added benefit for them. The combo pill may also reduce the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. Have a look at some of the other side-effects here.
- Mini-pills: Mini-pills, which are sometimes called Progestin-Only Pills (POP), are made up of only one type of female hormone known as progestin. These pills help thicken your cervical mucus and cause thinning in the walls of your uterus. Sometimes these pills may also act as ovulation repressants but that is usually a rare case. This is normally advised when you have shown sensitivity to estrogen.
Just like the combination pill, also the mini-pill is effective if taken daily at the same time. It is safe to use in case you are at risk of heart disease or stroke or are a heavy smoker. It is also safe to use in the case of breastfeeding women. However, with mini-pills, you have less flexibility with the timing (should not be late more than 3h), and if you forget or exceed the buffer time you should use a backup contraceptive such as a condom for at least the next 48h. If you’re on the mini-pill and find it difficult to take around the same times, have a look at our recommendations on how to jog your memory.
Mikko Törmä is certified pharmacist and has over 15 years experience in pharmaceutical industry, pharmacy and has worked also in Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Mikko is a professional writer who’s main focus is to make medical science simple to read and understandable, so that ordinary people can easily benefit from the research & recommendations made by professionals. His deepest interest is in the public health and to provide fair access to primary health care for everyone.