Which Type Of Birth Control Pill Is Best For You
Theres no best birth control pill for everyone. In fact, theres no best birth control pill period. The best birth control pill is subjective, and all depends on you. Combined birth control pills and progestin-only pills both offer a range of unique advantages and disadvantages, meaning that one type of pill could be a better match for your needs, lifestyle and health than the other.
As with anything contraceptive-related, the best tactic is to talk to your doctor about your needs and expectations. Theyll be able to choose a form that offers the protection you need while helping you avoid any health risks and adverse birth control side effects.
Progestin Vs Progesterone: Uses In Menopause Symptom Treatment
In treating menopause symptoms, including bone loss, progestin is a commonly prescribed medication. However, over-the-counter progesterone creams and supplements are growing in popularity.
Progestin Vs Progesterone: Uses In Gender
While it has been overlooked in the past, experts now believe progesterone can play an important role in gender-affirming therapy when combined with estrogen for people looking to increase their bodys feminization.
that adding progesterone medication to a persons gender-affirming care can lead to the development of feminine secondary sex characteristics faster than estrogen alone, as well as:
- diminish testosterone production
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Path To Improved Health
Second, like regular birth control pills, the progestin-only pill makes your body think youre pregnant and stops your ovary from releasing an egg. This doesnt happen as often as with combination birth control pills. Forty percent of women taking the progestin-only pill will continue to ovulate.
Third, the mini-pill causes changes in your uterus that make it less likely to let a pregnancy get started, even if an egg is released.
Triphasic Birth Control Pills
Triphasic birth control pills contain three different doses of hormones so the hormone combination changes approximately every seven days throughout the pill pack.
Depending on the pill brand, the amount of estrogen may change as well as the amount of progestin. In a single months supply, triphasic birth control pills may have a slow increase in estrogen, and some pills may also increase the dose of progestin.
In each pill pack, the first few pills are one strength . The next phase of pills is another strength . The final phase of pills also change strength and are a different color. The last seven pills are placebo pills, so they do not contain hormones.
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Which Birth Control Works Best
People often have a misconception that all birth control methods are the same in terms of protection. But thats not true. Some work better than others, Dr. Stanwood says. I tell patients that, aside from permanent sterilization , what gives the most protection is an intrauterine device or the arm implant, both of which have a less than 1% risk of pregnancy in a year.
An IUD is a small, soft, flexible piece of plastic shaped like a “T”it is inserted into your uterus, via your cervix, by your doctor. There are several brands , all of which release the hormone progestin, which changes the cervix and uterus to prevent sperm from getting through to an egg. These hormonal IUDs protect against pregnancy for three to seven years, depending on which one a woman chooses. Another type of IUD is hormone-free and instead uses a copper coil, which also changes the cervix and uterus to prevent sperm from getting through to an egg, and it can be used for up to 12 years.
The arm implant, sold under the brand Nexplanon, is a rod about the size of a matchstick that is inserted under the skin of your upper, inner arm. It releases progestin and prevents pregnancy for up to five years by stopping ovulation and thickening cervical mucus.
Estrogen Cream Vs Progesterone Creams
Hormone therapies, for trans and cis women alike, may be recommended in the form of creams applied to the genitals or the skin. These creams are most frequently used to treat vaginal dryness during menopause.
The National Womens Health Network states that estrogen and progesterone creams are safe to use for menopause treatments. Theyve been shown to be one of the safest ways to treat some menopause symptoms.
However, this style of treatment is fairly low dosage, and less research exists on their higher dosage use in trans women.
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What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Combination Birth Control Pills
Hormonal birth control, including both combination and progestin-only pills, affects every woman differently. Many women experience additional advantages to pregnancy prevention from the pill, but there are also possible negative side effects. Not everyone will experience these negative side effects, but its still important to know that they are a possibility.
How Do Combination Birth Control Pills Work
With combination birth control pills, you take hormones daily for three consecutive weeks, then have a week of no pills or placebo pills with no hormones, when you will get your period. Alternatively, you can take your pills continuously to skip your period altogether or take extended-cycle pills that only give you a period every three months.
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Estrogens And Progestin Pills
Birth control pills contain a combination of estrogen and progestin.
Estrogens and progestin pills are taken by women to prevent pregnancy. They work by preventing ovulation. Estrogen is the primary female sex hormone. Estrogens are also used in menopausal hormone therapy.
Progestin is a synthetic form of natural progesterone that is used in hormonal birth control pills, emergency contraception, and for menopausal symptoms.
Estrogens and progestin pills include:
A Word On Progestin Iuds
Although still synthetic, unlike other forms of birth control where progestin impacts the whole body, a progestin IUD acts locally where inserted, only impacting the uterus. Therefore, the side-effects of progestin IUDs are very minimal as opposed to other forms of synthetic birth control. The 3 types of IUDs that use the hormone progestin include Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta. Progestin IUDs are 99 percent effective.
If you are using a progestin IUD as a means of birth control, simple adjustments to your diet, natural supplementation, and lifestyle choices can help to combat any effects the IUD may have on your overall hormone health.
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Frequently Asked Questions Expand All
You can start using this method for the first time at any point during your menstrual cycle. But you and your obstetriciangynecologist or other health care professional should be reasonably sure you are not pregnant. Follow these directions:
If you start taking the pills within the first 5 days after the start of your menstrual period, no additional birth control method is needed.
If you start taking the pills more than 5 days after the start of your period, you need to use an additional birth control method or avoid sexual intercourse for the next 2 days.
If you are switching from another form of birth control, simply stop using the other method at the same time you start the progestin-only pills. If it has been more than 5 days since your period started, use an additional birth control method or avoid sex for the next 2 days.
If you are switching from an intrauterine device , you have a few options. You can wait until you have been taking the pills for at least 2 days to have the IUD removed. You can use another form of birth control or avoid sex for the 2 days before removing the IUD and starting the pills. Or you can use emergency contraception at the time of IUD removal.
Certain medications may interfere with the effectiveness of the progestin-only pill. These medications include
rifampin, a drug used to treat certain infections
some drugs used to prevent seizures
It stops ovulation.
What Does Estrogen Do
Estrogen plays a key role in many functions throughout the body and helps develop and maintain both the reproductive system and sex characteristics like body hair and breasts. During puberty, it is responsible for female sexual development and triggers the growth of breasts, pubic hair, and other sex characteristics.
Estrogen plays an important role in your reproductive health as it controls the growth of the uterine lining at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and during pregnancy. In addition, while estrogen powers the menstrual cycle, it is also crucial for your overall health. Estrogen regulates your bone and cholesterol metabolism, as well as your body weight, glucose metabolism, and insulin sensitivity to name a few.
There are three types of estrogen found in the female body: estradiol, estrone, and estriol. Each plays a different role in reproductive health and levels change or fluctuate based on what stage of life you are in. For instance, estrone is the most common type of estrogen produced after menopause whereas estradiol is the most common type of estrogen found in women of reproductive age. In general, when talking about estrogen levels in the body, it is a reference to the levels of estradiol, which fluctuate naturally throughout the menstrual cycle.
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How Does The Progestin
This contraceptive does three things. First, like regular birth control pills, the progestin-only pill makes your body think that you are pregnant and stops your ovary from releasing an egg. Second, the mini-pill causes changes in your uterus. Because of the changes caused by progestin, your uterus is less likely to let a pregnancy get started even if an egg is released.
Birth Control Pills Do Not Fix Hormone Related Issues
Although its extremely common for doctors to recommend the pill to fix PMS and other hormone related symptoms, the truth is, birth control doesnt solve these issues, it hides them, acting like a band aid covering a deeper wound and fails to address the underlying root issue.
Birth control will not fix your irregular, heavy, painful periods.
It will not fix your acne or cramps.
And it will not fix symptoms related to peri or post menopause.
Heres what the pill WILL do:
- Increase Candida overgrowth
- Contribute to Estrogen Dominance and a hormone imbalance
Synthetic birth control will not fix hormone related issues and can cause estrogen dominance, leading to weight gain and more.
Some of the beliefs on what birth control can help comes from a sheer lack of information or misinformation and thats okay. BUT BeBalanced is here to change the narrative.
Before we get into the side-effects of the pill, and offer more natural alternatives, lets go over a brief understanding of what birth control pills are or, more importantly, the risks they carry.
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Other Possible Benefits Of Birth Control
Birth control pills have benefits besides contraception. They lower your risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer and can help with acne. But it’s not clear if ultra-low-dose formulas do as good a job of providing these perks.
Birth control isn’t one-size-fits-all, so you should weigh the pros and cons of going extra-low with your doctor.
Is Progestin Good For You
For some people, progestin may be the best available medication to address their needs. In other cases, people may choose between progestin and progesterone medications.
Some progesterone medications, such as topical creams, can be bought over the counter to address some of the symptoms of menopause. The side effects of both progestin and progesterone are similar. For both types of medications, its important to follow dosage directions to avoid potentially serious adverse side effects.
Compare the side effects of progesterone medications and progestin medications:
The majority of progesterone-like medications on the market today are made of progestin. However, a growing number of progestin medications are on the market, including a few that have been approved by the FDA.
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When To Switch Birth Control Methods
Finding the right form of birth control is a process of trial and error. Many people find that hormonal birth control reduces the pain of period cramps and regulates the menstrual cycle.
However, it is common to have to try several different types or brands of pill before finding one with manageable side effects. Some people find that they are not able to tolerate hormonal birth control in any form.
Many non-hormonal options are available, including the copper intrauterine device , condoms, a diaphragm, and spermicidal lubricants. If people are interested in permanent contraception, they can discuss surgical options with a doctor.
People can also speak to a doctor about switching birth control types whenever the side effects feel intolerable, or the risks seem too large.
Switching birth control type might be beneficial for people who are:
- continuing to experience side effects that are no better after 23 months
- having side effects that are unbearable or interfere with daily functioning
- living with a medical condition, such as lupus, liver disease, or cardiovascular disease, that may worsen the side effects of birth control
- smoking while using hormonal birth control
- having migraines while using birth control, especially those with aura
The Crucial Difference Between Progesterone And Progestins
Progestins such as drospirenone, levonorgestrel, or medroxyprogesterone are not progesterone.
Thats because progesterone is not a generic term like estrogen. Instead, progesterone refers only to the hormone made by the corpus luteum or taken as oral micronized progesterone.
Consider the structural difference between progesterone and the progestin drug levonorgestrel, which is used in many oral contraceptives, implants, hormonal IUDs, and the morning-after pill.
Can you spot the difference?
Levonorgestrel is actually more similar to testosterone than it is to progesterone, which is why it can cause hair loss and weight gain.
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Which Type Is Right For You
When deciding which form of progesterone-only birth control method to choose, you should take into account the convenience factor, among other things. Can you reliably take the minipill at the same time every day, or are you better off with the injection, IUD, or implant, which you don’t have to think about for months or years?
Also, if you know if or when you might like to become pregnant, you’ll want to consider whether a method that is instantly reversible is preferable to one that may not restore fertility for months once you stop it . The best way to make an informed decision is to discuss these pros and cons with your gynecologist.
How Effective Is It At Preventing Pregnancy
Birth control pills are one of the most popular forms of contraception, and they are typically very effective at preventing pregnancy. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, they are up to 98% effective when used as intended.
There are a few things to keep in mind when using birth control pills. First and foremost, itâs important to make sure you take them every day at the same time. If you miss a pill, it could lead to pregnancy.
Second, itâs important to make sure you use a reliable form of contraception â birth control pills arenât as effective if theyâre not taken correctly.
And finally, you should always consult with your health care provider before starting birth control pills or any other contraceptive method for that matter.
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Oral Contraceptives May Cause Side Effects Tell Your Doctor If Any Of These Symptoms Are Severe Or Do Not Go Away:
- increased or decreased appetite
- weight gain or weight loss
- brown or black skin patches
- hair growth in unusual places
- bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods
- changes in menstrual flow
- light-colored stool
- swelling of the hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
- depression, especially if you also have trouble sleeping, tiredness, loss of energy, or other mood changes
- unusual bleeding
- menstrual bleeding that is unusually heavy or that lasts for longer than 7 days in a row
Oral contraceptives may increase the chance that you will develop liver tumors. These tumors are not a form of cancer, but they can break and cause serious bleeding inside the body. Oral contraceptives may also increase the chance that you will develop breast or liver cancer, or have a heart attack, a stroke, or a serious blood clot. Talk to your doctor about the risks of using oral contraceptives.
Some studies show that women who take oral contraceptives that contain drosperinone may be more likely to develop deep vein thrombosis than women who take oral contraceptives that do not contain drosperinone. However, other studies do not show this increased risk. Before you begin taking oral contraceptives, talk to your doctor about the risk that you will develop blood clots and about which oral contraceptive or other method of birth control may be the best choice for you.
Oral contraceptives may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.
Things To Keep In Mind
If you opt for the minipill, it is very important that you take it at the exact same time every day. The Depo-Provera shot must be given every four months. Another thing to consider before starting a progestin-only method is whether you hope to become pregnant in the future. Fertility returns right away after you discontinue some of these methods , while it may take several months with others .
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