Monday, February 13, 2012

What Are Combination Pills And Minipills? by Wendy Moyer

Combination pills and minipills are two types of oral contraceptives that women take in order to prevent pregnancy. If taken as prescribed these pills are approximately 97% to 99% effective. However, neither of them can prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

What is the Combination Pill?

Combination pills contain both estrogen and progestin. Progestin is a form of progesterone. When a woman takes a combination pill that contains these hormones she will not ovulate and the eggs in her ovaries will not mature.

Depending on the company that manufactures the combination pill, prescriptions come in either 21- or 28-day packs.

Twenty one day packs have pills for twenty one days. Women who have these packs do not take any pills for seven out of every twenty-eight days. They're "on" the pill for 21 days and "off" the pill for 7 days.

Twenty eight day packs contain four weeks of pills. However, only the first twenty one days of pills have active ingredients. The following seven days of pills contain placebos, which contain inactive ingredients.

Recently combination pills that can be used either continuously or for extended periods of time have been developed. Women who use these products will find that the will have fewer menstrual periods.

The Minipill

The only hormone that is in the minipill is progestin. The result of taking this pill is that a woman's cervical mucus is thickened. When this happens it makes it more difficult for sperm to travel through the cervix.

In addition, progestin lowers the possibility of a fertilized egg being implanted in the lining of the uterus.

Minipills are sometimes recommended to women who, for medical reasons, shouldn't take pills that contain estrogen.

The medical reasons a doctor may recommend minipills to a woman are if the woman has, or is prone to certain kinds of blood clots in her veins, liver disease, breast cancer, or uterine cancer.

Because progestin does not adversely affect breastfeeding minipills are also often recommended to nursing mothers.

There are no on or off days associated with the minipill. It is taken every day.

Whatever type of birth control pill you use, you should take it at the same time every day. This will help you to establish a routine that you should not forget.

It's especially important that the minipill be taken at the same time every day because taking it at different times during the day can impair its effectiveness significantly. That's because its low dose causes its effects to rapidly wear off even if only one of the pills is missed.

Keep in mind, though, that a number of birth control pills that are on the market have caused serious illnesses and even death.