Birth control pill, also called oral contraceptive pill or simply the pill, is a form of birth control method used by many women worldwide. Birth control pills help to prevent unwanted pregnancy with 99% effectiveness. The pills contain synthetic female hormones estrogen and progesterone and act by suppressing ovulation and preventing the sperm from reaching the egg.
There are two types of oral contraceptive pills, combination contraceptive pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone and the pills containing only progesterone. Both types of the pills work by preventing conception although most women prefer combination pills.
However, birth control pills can cause side effects. Common side effects of the pills include spotting, irregular or lighter headaches, weight gain, mood changes and breast tenderness. Woman’s hormone levels will usually determine whether she will experience the side effect of particular type of the pill. This can be prevented by switching to other type of the pill with different levels of hormones. On the other hand, if done abruptly, this switch from one to another type of oral contraceptive pill can also cause some side effects. Therefore, a woman must know how to conduct the change in birth control pill intake to avoid any unwanted effects.
How Does The Pill Work?
Normally, a conception occurs when sperm fertilizes a woman’s egg released from the ovaries. The egg is released during an ovulation that takes place during every menstrual cycle. This process is controlled by hormones in the female body. Birth control pills interfere with natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy from occurring.
Birth control pills can work in three ways depending on the type of the pill. Oral contraceptive pills may prevent the ovaries from releasing the egg, alter the lining of the uterus or help thickening of the cervical mucus to prevent the sperm from entering the womb.
Birth control pills should be taken every day at the same time for 21 days. If only one pill is missed, the risk of pregnancy increases. After 21 days, pills should not be taken for 7 days or a woman may take placebo or hormone-free pills. After that, the new pack has to be started immediately.
Switching Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills can cause side effects such as nausea, vomiting, bloating, weight gain, headache, fatigue and dizziness. This is usually experienced during the initial days of taking the pills until the body adjusts to hormonal changes. Still, some women may suffer the side effects for a longer period of time. In that case, it is recommended to switch between different types of the pills until most suitable are found.
However, this must be done in a controlled manner to avoid negative effects caused by the switch. A woman should not start with the new type of oral contraceptives until intake of the old one is not completely finished. Also, in the beginning, new birth control pill will not be entirely effective. It takes time for the body to adjust so additional birth control method should be used.