How Does Birth Control Pills Work?
- October 20, 2021
- by The Ginger-U Team
Birth control pills, commonly known as oral contraceptives, are medications women take to prevent pregnancy. They are an effective method of birth control.
How Effective Are Birth Control Pills?
If taken correctly, birth control pills are effective in preventing pregnancy. However, according to the CDC, the combination and progestin-only pill have 9 percent failure rates with typical use. That implies that 9 women out of 100 would get pregnant. Birth control pills’ efficacy also depends on the time window (in case of emergency contraceptive pills) and regularity (if you take extended usage birth control pills). Follow your doctor’s advice and use a pill tracker for women for desired results.
What Are The Types Of Birth Control Pills?
Combination (progestin+estrogen) pills are the commonly prescribed birth control pills for women. Whereas, progestin-only pills are safe for women and trans people.
Progestin-only pills must be taken within the timeframe of three-hour every day. However, there is more flexibility with combination pills. In general, you should try to take combination pills at the same time each day, but you can take them within the same daily 12-hour window and still have pregnancy protection.
Continuous birth control pills are also a type of combination pills that women can take for a year or more.
What Are The Effects Of Birth Control Pills?
In addition to preventing pregnancy, birth control pills help regulate your period, alleviate cramps, lessen the severity of PCOS/PCOD symptoms, treat endometriosis and PMDD, and lower the risk of certain cancers.
- Generally, birth control pills are safe and an effective method of birth control. Most young women who take the pill have none to very few side effects. However, some may experience the following side effects: mood changes
- irregular menstrual bleeding
- nausea, headaches, dizziness, and breast tenderness
- blood clots (rare in women under 35 who do not smoke)
How Do Birth Control Pills Work?
Combination pills work in two ways. First, they prevent your body from ovulating. It means that your ovaries will not release an egg each month. Second, these pills cause your body to thicken your cervical mucus. This mucus is fluid around your cervix that helps sperm travel to your uterus so it can fertilize an egg. The thickened mucus helps prevent sperm from reaching the uterus. Progestin-only pills also work in different ways. The pills thicken your cervical mucus by thinning your endometrium. Your endometrium is the lining of your uterus where an egg implants after fertilization. If this lining is thinner, it is harder for an egg to implant, preventing pregnancy from growing. In addition, progestin-only pills may prevent ovulation.
What are the benefits of birth control pills?
Birth control pills have several benefits:
- They protect you 24/7. Women do not have to worry about birth control during intimacy.
- They are more effective than most other birth control options.
- They help regulate your menstrual cycle. It can be help with irregular or heavy periods.
- They are fully reversible. This means your cycle will return to normal when you stop taking them. So, you can get pregnant later.
There are also benefits depending on the type of pill. Combination pills may also provide some protection against:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Thinning bones
- Heavy periods
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Non-cancerous breast growths
- Endometrial and ovarian cancer
Progestin-only pills have other benefits as well, such as being safer for women and trans women who:
- Cannot tolerate estrogen therapy,
- Are smokers,
- Are older than 35 years,
- Have a history of blood clots
- Want to breastfeed.
Birth control pills are your way to sexual freedom combined with several health benefits that outweigh the side effects. However, consult your doctor to determine the type of birth control that will work best for you.