How do they work?

Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. They contain hormones, a type of estrogen and progesterone that prevent your body from releasing an egg each month.  There are some pills that contain only progesterone, though still work in the same manner.

How effective are they?

Birth control pills are most effective when taken at the same time every single day. With typical use, their effective rate is 91%.

Will they make me gain weight?

Birth control pills are not correlated with weight gain.

What hormones do they have?

Some pills have estrogen and progesterone. Some pills have progesterone only. It is best to discuss with your doctor which is right for you. These hormone levels can be adjusted as needed if you are having unwanted side effects or symptoms.

What happens if I miss a pill?

If you miss a pill, take it as soon as you remember it.  If you don’t remember until the next day, take two that day. If you miss two days in a row, take two a day until you are caught up. If you miss three in a row, throw the pack out and start a new one after you have your period. If you ever miss a pill, use backup birth control such as condoms. You may experience some spotting or unpredictable bleeding if you miss any pills.

Do they protect me from STIs?

They do not protect from any sexually transmitted infection.

Are there any long term effects of taking birth control pills? Am I going to get cancer?

In many women, birth control pills reduce heavy periods and reduce cramping. Many will also see an improvement in acne. Birth control pills actually REDUCE the risk of ovarian, colon and uterine cancer.  Birth control pills help you control the timing of your menstrual cycle and prevent unplanned pregnancy. There is no long term effective on your fertility after stopping birth control pills regardless of how long you used them.

What are the side effects?

Common side effects include bleeding in between periods, headaches, nausea or no period. at all. If you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare provider before discontinuing the pill.

I’m not having sex, why do I need birth control pills?

Birth control pills can help with other symptoms you may be experiencing such as irregular menstrual cycles, painful or heavy bleeding during your cycles, frequent ovarian cysts, painful fibroids, or acne to name a few.

Do I need a break from birth control pills?

You do not need to take a break from birth control pills for any reason. In fact, if you do, it may disrupt the positive effects you gain while taking them, such protection from getting pregnant, regulating cycles, improving acne, etc.

Who shouldn’t take birth control pills?

You should not take a pill with estrogen in it if you are over the age of 35 and smoke, have a history of uncontrolled high blood pressure, heart disease or a blood clot.  Whenever you start a new medication, be sure to discuss all your medical problems and medications with your provider.

Can I take birth control pills if I’m breastfeeding?

Progesterone-only forms of birth control are safe during breastfeeding. There are many progesterone-only forms of pills to choose from while breastfeeding.