Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills come in more varieties than you probably realize. Among your options are combination pills, progestin-only pills, and extended-cycle pills. Combination birth control pills like Ortho Tri-Cyclen Lo, Yasmin and Yaz prevent pregnancy through a daily dose of two hormones -- estrogen and progestin. While they offer 99-percent protection, making them the mainstay of birth control pills, smokers and women 35 or older are often advised against them since estrogen they can increase the risk of blood clots in those women. The progestin-only pill, often called the “mini pill,” protects against pregnancy through a daily dose of progestin (but not estrogen) thereby making it safe for women who are at risk of blood clots such as smokers, diabetics and heart-disease patients. However, they must be taken at the same time every day in order to effectively prevent pregnancy, says OB/GYN Michael Krychman, M.D. If you take a pill more than three hours later than you usually do, you'll need to use a backup method of birth control. Some women also experience spotting on the mini pill. On extended-use cycle pills, which allow women to have periods only every three months, breakthrough bleeding can also be common in the first few months of use. However, spotting generally resolves itself after the first few months, and then the only bleeding you have is during the one week every three months you take your placebo pills. While there’s no harm in not having a period every month, some women like getting a monthly assurance that they aren’t pregnant. Common extended-cycle pills include Seasonale and Seasonique. And on another, Lybrel, you only have your period once a year.
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