Birth control pills are a very effective way to prevent pregnancy
Birth control pills continue to be the most popular form of birth control for women in the United States. They are also highly effective, with approximately 9 out of 100 women becoming pregnant with typical use, and only 1 in 100 women becoming pregnant when taking birth control pills exactly as prescribed every day.
How do birth control pills work?
Birth control pills are a hormonal method that work by releasing estrogen and progesterone into the body to prevent ovulation. Ovulation occurs when the ovary releases an egg; when sperm fertilizes an egg, a pregnancy begins to develop.
In addition to interfering with ovulation, the pill also causes other changes that help prevent pregnancy.
- Thickened cervical mucus helps prevent sperm from entering the uterus.
- Thinning of the uterine lining helps prevent the embryo from attaching to it.
What are the benefits of this contraceptive method?
This method offers several advantages, including many non-contraceptive benefits.
- Allows for spontaneous, uninterrupted sexual intercourse
- May help with menstrual problems
- Reduction or complete cessation of menstrual bleeding
- Can be used immediately after giving birth and while breastfeeding
- Can be used to treat endometriosis
- Can be used to treat PMS or PMDD
- May help reduce acne
- May help women with excessive hair growth or hair loss
- May offer some protection against pelvic inflammatory disease and uterine, ovarian and colon cancers
- May be used to reduce the frequency of menstrual migraines
What are the side effects and risks?
Some women experience side effects when they take birth control pills. If this happens, we encourage you to speak with our Austin obgyns to determine if a different form of birth control pill would work better for you. The most common side effects include: tender breasts, nausea or vomiting. Sometimes, women experience bleeding between periods, usually if they are taking progesterone-only pills.
There can be more serious and rare side effects as well. Taking birth control pills creates a small, but increased risk of heart attack, stroke and DVT, or deep vein thrombosis. This slight risk increases in women who are over age 35, smoke and have multiple risk factors for cardiovascular disease, or a history of heart attack, stroke or DVT. The risk also increases for those with a history of migraines accompanied by auras.
If you are interested in taking birth control pills to prevent pregnancy, please contact us for an appointment.