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The Pill - Oral Contraception

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Product Description of the Birth Control Pill:

“The Pill” is the term most often used to describe oral contraception. It is a highly effective reversible form of birth control. There are two types of pills (combination and progestin-only), both of which are made of hormones similar to those that women’s ovaries produce. Both can prevent pregnancy and you need to consult a doctor to find out which pill is right for you. . It is important to remember that the pill does not protect against any STDs, including HIV.

How to Use the Birth Control Pill:

The pill is easy to use. It is important to remember to take the pill every day, and most people find it helpful to take it at the same time each day.

Failure Rates for the Birth Control Pill:

The pill is very effective, with less than one woman out of every one hundred who use the pill getting pregnant with perfect use. It is thought that with improper use that figure rises to eight out of every one hundred women.

Cost of the Birth Control Pill:

The cost for one pack (a one month supply) ranges from $15-$35. Some clinics that serve youth will provide the pill either free of charge or at a greatly reduced rate.

Where To Get the Birth Control PIll:

The pill requires a prescription written by a doctor.

Side Effect of the Birth Control Pill:

  • bleeding between periods
  • breast tenderness
  • changes in mood
  • headache
  • nausea
  • weight gain for some women, weight loss for others
  • change in sexual desire
  • depression

Things to Watch Out for with the Birth Control Pill:

There are antibiotics that make the pill less effective. If you are using the pill, be sure and talk to your doctor if you start any other medications.

If you miss a pill it is important to get instructions from your doctor about how to get back on track. If you do miss a pill you should use a back up form of birth control until you are back on regular use.

Who Should Not Use the Birth Control Pill:

  • Women who are 35 or older and smoke cigarettes
  • Women with a history of high blood pressure, some blood clotting disorders, heart attacks, or certain kinds of stroke you should not use the ring.
  • Women with a history of migraine headaches.
For other specific concerns talk to your health care practitioner.

Contraception Information on About.com:

The following information is compiled from a variety of sources, including the CDC, information from drug manufacturers, Planned Parenthood, and Family Health International.

We strive to keep this information up to date, but new studies and information about side effects and effectiveness may not be reflected immediately in this information. This should be used as a guide only, and a health care professional should be consulted when considering a new or changed contraceptive method.

Updated December 18, 2005.

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