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Types of Birth Control Pills: What’s Best for You?
With the bewildering array of types of birth control pills available today, which one is best for you? The answer depends on your personal needs and preferences, and different types of birth control pills have their own pros and cons. For example, there are low dose birth control pills, a progestin-only mini-pill, and pills that only give you a period every three months.
“Traditional” birth control pills guide your body through a regular 28-day cycle, and are a popular choice for many women. For the first 21 days, you take a pill containing estrogen and some form of progestin hormones. The last seven days’ pills are a placebo, and during this week you usually get your period. Birth control pill side effects may include high blood pressure, nausea, breast tenderness, or depression, and more rarely, blood clots and other serious complications.
Extended-cycle pills allow you to extend the time between periods to three months by taking an active hormone pill continuously for three months, then a placebo or low-dose estrogen pill for one week during your menstrual cycle. If you don’t plan to get pregnant for several months, or want to delay your period for other reasons, extended-cycle pills may be a great fit for you.
The progestin-only or mini-pill is an excellent alternative for women who are breastfeeding or need to avoid estrogen for other reasons. They also may reduce cramping and some other side effects of traditional pills. However, the mini-pill has a higher rate of breakthrough or irregular bleeding. Ultimately, talk to your doctor to decide on the right choice for you.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.