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What Type Of Hormones Are In Birth Control Pills

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Oral Hormones: The Pill


The combination pill contains the hormones estrogen and progestin, a form of progesterone. When a woman uses the combination pill, the eggs in her ovaries do not mature and she does not ovulate. She doesnt become pregnant because no egg is available to be fertilized by a sperm.

The traditional combination pill comes in 21-day packs or 28-day packs depending on the manufacturer. The 21-pill pack has pills for 21 on days and no pills for the 7 off days that follow. The 28-pill pack has active pills for the first 21 on days and seven inactive or reminder pills for the following 7 off days.

New preparations have been developed that allow for extended or continuous use of combination pills for months at a time. These products allow for a reduction in the number of menstrual periods a woman experiences.

The minipill only contains one hormone, progestin. Progestin thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to pass through the cervix. It also makes the lining of the uterus less receptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg. The progesterone-only pill is sometimes recommended for women who have medical reasons for which they must avoid taking estrogen hormones. In addition, it is often recommended in nursing mothers because it has no adverse effects on breastfeeding. Indeed, extended breastfeeding, as well as delay in the need for formula supplementation has been observed in breastfeeding users of the minipill.

How is the minipill taken?

What Are Benefits Of Taking The Pill

Some women take the pill for health purposes. The pill can:

  • Regulate or lighten menstruation.

Your doctor will talk to you about your level of risk based on your medical history. Luckily, if an individual is not able to use an estrogen-containing pill, most can still safely take progestin only pills.

How Can I Get Birth Control Pills

With increasing demand for contraceptive options, access to birth control pills is becoming easier than ever.

You can go the traditional route and schedule an in-person visit with a doctor. Once you go through your medical history and discuss your family planning goals, your doctor will provide a prescription that you can then fill at your local pharmacy.

There are also several ways to get birth control pills online without an in-person visit to a doctor.

Telehealth services, like Nurx, Lemonaid, SimpleHealth, and The Pill Club offer online consultations, some via video and some through messaging or a medical questionnaire, with licensed doctors and healthcare professionals who review your medical history and then provide a prescription for a recommended birth control.

Once the prescription is filled, the birth control pills are shipped directly to your home.

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Is Birth Control Bad For You Long Term

The pill is generally safe to take over a long period of time. But there is some research that suggests it might raise your risks of developing some types of cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, taking birth control pills may increase your risk of breast cancer or cervical cancer over time.

Read Also: How To Lower Estrogen In Women

Pro: You Can Control When You Have A Period

MiniPill  The Progestin

When you are taking hormonal birth control pills like the combination pill, it can actually be very convenient. Usually, there are three weeks of active pills and then one week off of the active pills. You may take sugar pills or no pills at all this fourth week, which is where bleeding occurs like a period.

However, if you decide that you want to go to the lake that weekend, plan an international trip, or a romantic getaway with your partner, you can simply skip your break week and continue taking a new pack of active pills. This essentially allows you to skip your period and leaves you in total control.

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When Will I Start Having Periods Again After I Quit Taking The Pill

  • A womans menstrual periods should begin again within about 3 months of stopping the oral-contraceptive pill. However, the length of delay before a womans period returns after stopping the pill varies from woman to woman.
  • Oral contraceptives are about 97% effective in preventing pregnancy. The pill does not protect a woman against sexually transmitted infections.

An adhesive patch has been developed that provides hormonal contraception through the skin, which is known as a transdermal delivery system. The patch is about the size of a half-dollar and can be worn on the arm, abdomen, or buttocks. A woman wears the patch for a week and then replaces it with a new patch.

These patches are called Ortho-Evra , and are similar to the pill in that they contain both estrogen and progesterone. Ortho-Evra should be just as effective in preventing pregnancy as the pill. Ortho-Evra is similar to the pill in that it suppresses ovulation and has the advantage of improved compliance and convenience due to weekly administration. A woman only needs to remember to replace the patch once a week instead of being required to remember taking a pill every day. However, some studies have shown that the contraceptive patch may be associated with a greater risk of negative side effects, such as blood-clotting problems, than oral contraceptive pills.

As with all other hormonal methods of birth control, the patch will not protect a woman against sexually transmitted infections.

What Are The Benefits Of The Implant

As with any type of birth control method, implants have pros and cons.

Advantages include:

  • They work. Fewer than 1 in 100 women using an implant will get pregnant each year.
  • Easy to use. Unlike some birth control options — like condoms, patches, shots, rings, and pills — the implant works no matter what. You don’t have to worry about using it incorrectly or remembering to replace or take it often.
  • Fast reversal. If you want to get pregnant, you can get started on that right after you get the implant taken out.
  • Less painful periods. In studies of women using implants, painful periods got better.
  • Lighter or no periods. Your period might get shorter, or even stop completely.

Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Form Of Non Hormonal Birth Control

Best For Choice: Nurx

Nurx stocks over 50 different brands of pills, including generic forms. These include combination and progestin-only pills. It also offers emergency contraception.

In addition, Nurx sells other types of birth control such as a ring, shots, and a patch.

Nurx accepts most private health insurance plans, apart from Medicaid and Medicare. How much an insured person pays each month will depend on the copayment set by their insurer.

There is a $15 consultation fee that is generally not eligible for insurance coverage, and uninsured people could pay around $15 per month for their medications.


  • a wide array of brands and prices to choose from
  • free shipping

What Are The Benefits Of Hormonal Birth Control

Birth Control Pills

In addition to guarding against unwanted pregnancy, hormonal birth control can also have a number of other benefits, such as:

  • Menstrual regulation: because birth control balances out the bodys hormonal levels, most women will find that it regulates their menstrual cycle as well, reducing period bleeding and PMS along the way.
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome symptoms: over 10% of adult women suffer from PCOS, and taking hormonal birth control can help dampen some of the symptoms.
  • Less hormonal acne: imbalanced hormones are one of the leading causes of acne in women, meaning that birth control will help clear up the skin of many.
  • women who regularly use hormonal birth control are 50% less likely to develop uterine cancer in their lifetimes.
  • Migraine activity reduction: the relationship between migraines and birth control is complex and under-studied, but many women will experience a reduction in migraine activity as a result of hormone regulation.

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When Does The Pill Start Working

If the pill is started within the first 5 days of a regular period, it will work right away.

If started any other time during a menstrual cycle:

  • Do not have sex for 7 days or be sure to use another birth control method for 7 days. If switching from an IUD, do not have sex or use a back-up birth control method for 7 days.
  • You do not need to use a back-up method if you switch directly from a non-IUD method to an oral contraceptive pill.

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What Are Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are oral contraceptives that contain small amounts of hormones similar to the ones your body uses as part of the menstrual cycle.

The hormones in birth control pills work to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovary. Some birth control pills also temporarily change the lining of the uterus so its less likely a fertilized egg will implant.

Birth control pills come in a pack, usually a 28-day cycle, with one pill assigned to each day. You take a birth control pill daily, typically during the same time frame each day, depending on the pill. This keeps certain hormones elevated, so youre less likely to get pregnant.

Read Also: What Hormone Makes You Break Out

Its Actually Used For Doping In Men Sometimes Belinda Pletzer

Its actually used for doping in men sometimes, says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so its popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015

The hormone used by the pill is a close relative of an androgen that male boxers have used for doping

Weve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.

Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.

The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.

Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.

But there are some side effects.

More recent types of contraceptive pill are designed to be anti-androgenic, often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth

Even small amounts of testosterone can make some parts of the female brain get smaller and others to get bigger

Reduce Serotonin And Melatonin

Birth Control Pills: Types, Effectiveness, and More

The pill can interfere with your bodys methylation process by reducing methyl donors, thereby, leaving women deficient in hormones like serotonin and melatonin . An estimated 20% of people are slow methylators anyway so adding the pill to that mix can be disastrous for their well-being, leaving them edgy and anxious all day long, then unable to get a good nights sleep.

Also Check: Does Birth Control Help Hormonal Imbalance

Why Doesnt The Pill Work As An Acne Treatment For Everyone

And that brings us to the important conundrum: why doesnât the Pill work for everyone? It all comes down to the type of acne you have and the factors causing these breakouts to occur.

For those who havenât noticed an improvement in their skin after 3 months of using the oral contraceptive Pill, itâs important to speak with your GP to understand the root cause of the acne. In some cases, the Pill can actually cause acne .

Itâs important to speak with your GP to rule out any underlying conditions that may be causing breakouts to still occur while on the Pill, such as polycystic ovarian syndrome . If there is another condition at play, topical products and even hormonal treatments often wonât work effectively in resolving acne.

Although the Pill might be an effective acne treatment for some, it isnât a cure-all for every woman. It might be a process of trial-and-error for a number of different treatment methods before finding the solution. So, make sure to speak with your doctor to find the right treatment plan to suit your skin.

When Do I Start Another Birth Control Pill Pack

Youâll start each new birth control pill pack on the same day of the week that you initially started it. If you are on the 21-day pill pack, start the new pill pack 7 days after you finished the old pill pack. If you are on the 28-day pill pack, begin the new pack after taking the last pill in the old pack.

Start your new pill pack on schedule, whether or not you get your period or are still having your period.

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Can I Take The Pill If I’m Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding mothers should avoid the estrogen in combined hormonal birth control as it may reduce milk supply. Birth control options for breastfeeding women include:

  • Swelling or pain in the legs
  • Chest pain, heart attack, blood clots, stroke

Other warnings and side effects exist for birth control pills. It is important to review the specific consumer information for the birth control of your choice and discuss any questions or concerns with your healthcare provider. Generic options of birth control pills may be available check with your pharmacist for cost-savings.

Tell your healthcare provider about all other medications you take, including prescription, over-the-counter, vitamin and herbal supplements. Certain medications may make your birth control less effective. Be sure you have complete drug interaction review each time you start a new medication.

Can You Make Contraception Part Of Your Daily Routine

Birth Control 101: Everything you need to know about the pill

If youre a well-organised person with a reasonably regular routine, you have a wide choice of contraception.

This is because youre less likely to forget about your contraception by forgetting to take a pill or reapply a patch, for example.

You may want to use a method that you only need to use when you have sex, such as the male or female condom, or you may prefer a method that you need to take every day, such as the pill.

Or you may want to consider methods like the patch, injection or implant, which you do not need to use every day or each time you have sex.

The list below shows how often you need to use, replace or take each contraceptive method.

Once you have looked at the list, ask your GP or a doctor or nurse at your local clinic for more details.

Methods used each time you have sex:

Methods taken on a daily basis:

  • the pill , but there are some types of 21-day pill where you have a week off each month

Methods replaced every week:

Recommended Reading: Do Birth Control Pills Have Hormones

Depo Provera And Depo

Depo Provera and Depo-subQ Provera 104 are hormonal contraceptive injections. Both depo shots are similareach injection slowly releases the progestin, medroxyprogesterone acetate. You must get a Depo Provera injection every 11 to 13 weeks . If you use Depo Provera, you basically need to have four injections each year. Like all hormonal birth control methods, Depo Provera does have some side effects. Many women stop using Depo Provera because of the side effects . There is no way to know before starting Depo Provera if you will have any of these side effects. The good news about Depo Proverait has been FDA-approved to help treat endometriosis.

Precautions And Risks While Taking The Pill

Combination pills do pose a slightly increased risk of cardiovascular side effects such as heart attack, stroke and blood clots, which can be fatal.

People with a history of blood clots, heart attacks or stroke are advised not to take the combination birth control pill.

Blood clots are rare, but anyone with a history of blood clots, heart attacks or stroke is advised not to take the combination birth control pill and to speak with their medical provider about using an alternative method.

It is also important to note that an unintended pregnancy has its own side effects.1

The US Food and Drug Administration advise against the use of combination pills in women aged 35 years or older who smoke. Additional factors that increase the risk of blood clots include obesity or a family history of heart disease.1

It is not recommended to take hormonal contraceptives if there is a personal history of liver or heart disease, uterine or breast cancer, uncontrolled blood pressure or migraines with an aura.11

Combination pills with the form of synthetic progesterone called drospirenone may have a higher risk of blood clots including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism.1,11

A qualified health care provider should be consulted for individual guidance on the most appropriate method of birth control.

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Disadvantages Of The Pill

Like all forms of hormonal birth control, the pill has several disadvantages, from side effects to the possibility of becoming less effective if you dont use it correctly.

First, the birth control pill does have side effects. Most of these side effects are relatively minor, ranging from fluid retention to breast tenderness, nausea and spotting. Its common for the side effects of birth control to occur during the first few months of use before gradually stopping.

You can learn more about the side effects of the birth control pill, as well as how likely they are to affect you, in our guide to birth control side effects.

The pill also has several less common, more serious potential side effects. The biggest of these is a slight increase in your risk of blood clots. If youre older than 35 and smoke, taking the birth control pill could significantly increase your risk of experiencing these side effects.

You can learn more about these side effects, as well as the most significant risk factors, in our guide to smoking and birth control.

Second, the pill has the potential to affect your sex drive. Although rare, its possible for you to experience a decrease or an increase in your level of interest in sex after you start to take the birth control pill.

While the pill will help prevent you from pregnancy if you use it properly, it wont protect you from the risk of catching an STI. This means youll need to use condoms if youre not sure about your partners STI status.

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