Birth Control: The Pills

Health & Medical Blog

Birth control is a preventative measure you use or take to lessen the chance of becoming pregnant. There are many different kinds of birth control. Birth control can come in the form of a condom, an implantable device, a pill, etc. There's an option to fit everyone's needs. 

What Are Birth Control Pills?

There are actually two types of birth control pills people can choose from. 

Combination Pill

This is the most common pill people take. This pill contains a combination of estrogen and progestin. In each cycle, there are active pills and inactive pills. Active pills contain both hormones while inactive pills don't. The three variations of combination pills are the following:

  • Monophasic pills
  • Multiphasic pills
  • Extended-cycle pills

Monophasic and multiphasic pills are both in one-month cycles. While monophasic's active pills all contain the same amount of hormones, multiphasic's active pills contain different amounts. With both of these, you take active pills every day until the last week of the month when you take the inactive pills, allowing yourself to have a period. 

Extended-cycle pills are in 13-week cycles. Just like the other two pills, the active pills are taken until the last week when you begin the inactive pills, again, allowing yourself to have a period. 

Mini Pill

The mini pill contains only progestin, no estrogen. The mini pill is a great option for freshly postpartum people, those who are breastfeeding, or that have bad reactions to the combination pill. The mini pills do not have inactive pills since they are all progestin; they are all active. Therefore, it's a toss-up whether or not you will have a period. 

The Good and the Bad

Just like anything, these pills have their pros and cons. 


  • ​Convenient
  • Easy
  • Safe
  • Helps regulate periods
  • Helps with cramps
  • Helps prevent anemia

Side Effects

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Changed sex drive
  • Can cause depression
  • Tender breasts
  • Can cause blood clots

How Effective Are Birth Control Pills?

Overall, birth control pills are 99% effective. However, there are things that lower their effectiveness. For example, human error is the biggest thing to fear. If you don't take the pill every day at the same time, this will lower the protection it offers you. You also need to be wary of some antibiotics. Antibiotics will generally void your birth control. If you are prescribed an antibiotic, it would be a good idea to confirm with your doctor whether or not your birth control will be affected. 

For more information on birth control, contact a local medical professional.


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