The Birth Control Pill

How does it work?

The hormones in the pill work by preventing ovulation. If a woman doesn't ovulate, she can't get pregnant.

How do I use it?

There are a number of ways to start oral contraceptives. We usually have you start the pills on the Sunday after your normal menstrual period begins. If your period begins on Sunday, then start the pills on that Sunday. Take one pill at the same time of day, each day so you won't forget them, even if you are not going to have sex. NEVER take a friend's pill or someone else's pill. If you forget one pill, take it as soon as you remember. If you do not remember until the next day, then take two pills that day. If you miss two pills, take two pills a day for two days. If you miss three or more pills, call your health care provider or clinic for instructions.


Highly effective method. Often reduces menstrual cramps. You may have lighter periods. The pill may protect against uterine, ovarian cancer and ovarian cysts. Some pills clear up acne. The pill might possible help prevent endometriosis -- still being debated.


Condoms must be used along with the pill to offer protection from STDs. Some antibiotics interfere with the pill's effectiveness. Always tell a health care provider that you are taking them if you are given any prescription medication. Use a back up method like condoms if you take an antibiotic while taking the pill. Ask the pharmacist if the antibiotic will interfere with the effectiveness of your pill -- they know, that is their job to know about drug interactions. Don't be afraid to ask, they are very knowledgeable.


Perfect-use failure rate 0.5%
Typical failure rate 2% (due to human error)

Side Effects

Sometimes: Weight gain, nausea, breast tenderness, and irregular bleeding or 'spotting'.

If you develop spotting while starting the pill for the first time. Tell the health care provider that prescribed them. You might just need a different pill or dose.

More than eighty-five percent of women in the United States have taken the pill at one time in lives. It is the most frequently used form of birth control in the United States. It’s an excellent choice of birth control despite many myths that circulate about this form of contraception. If you have any questions the pharmacist or your health care provider.

Important Safety Information
Oral contraceptives are not for everybody. Most side effects of the Pill are not serious. And those that are occur infrequently. Serious risks, which can be life threatening, include blood clots, stroke and heart attacks, and are increased if you smoke cigarettes. Cigarette smoking increases the risk of serious cardiovascular side effects, especially if you're over 35. Women who use oral contraceptives are strongly advised not to smoke.You should speak to your doctor or healthcare professional about how this risk relates to your use of the Pill.

Some women should not use the pill, including women who have blood clots, certain cancers, a history of heart attack or stroke, as well as those who are or may be pregnant.

The pill does not protect against HIV or sexually transmitted diseases.

The pill is often used to control acne and it does work for many young women. Read more on this...


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