Type of birth control pills

What you need to know about Birth Control Pills

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Let’s face it – when it comes to birth control, Malaysians may not be the most aware. The reputation of birth control pills differs between communities, but did you know that these contraceptive pills can be taken by people who are single and unmarried?

Even many married people do not know about contraceptive pills and its uses.

According to Berita Harian writer Mohd Anwar Patho Rohman, Malaysia is likely to experience an unusual increase in the number of births in January 2021 following the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18 last year. In this regard, he advised married couples to wisely plan pregnancies during the MCO period.

In this regard, Malaysians are advised to use birth control well.

Pregnant woman is holding teddy bear

There are many different types of birth control. Some work better than others. Yet it is better to use any birth control than using nothing at all. Women without birth control who have vaginal sex have an 85% risk of getting pregnant in a year.

Almost everybody uses birth control at some point.

People do not necessarily use birth control pills to prevent pregnancy but they use them for other things. According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, 14% of women use oral contraceptive pills for the following reasons:

  • 31% of them use it to reduce cramps or menstrual pain
  • 28% of women use it to prevent migraines and other side effects of periods
  • 14% use it for acne
  • 4% use it to treat endometriosis

There are 2 types of birth control pills

Combination Pills (COCs)

Combination pills consist of 2 hormones

  • Estrogen

A hormone made in the ovaries, and in much smaller amounts in the adrenal glands at the top of your kidneys, and sometimes even fat tissue. Estrogen plays a part in puberty, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy. Many people take extra estrogen after menopause or as part of transgender care.

  • Progestin

A synthetic progesterone found in all hormonal birth control methods. Progestins prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and reducing the amount and stretchiness of cervical mucus, making it unfriendly to sperm that are trying to enter the uterus.

Progestin-Only Pills (aka POPs or Mini Pills)

The minipill norethindrone is an oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin. But it doesn’t contain estrogen. The progestin dose in a minipill is lower than the progestin dose in a combination birth control pill.

Some common progestins and the type of birth control they are found in
Some common progestins and the type of birth control they are found in the table above

The Progestin-Only Pill is an easily reversible method of contraception. Your fertility is likely to return to normal immediately after you stop taking the mini-pill.

The mini pill may also be prescribed by your health care provider to help relieve a form of skin irritation (dermatitis) that appears to be linked to the menstrual cycle.

However, the mini-pill is not ideal for all. Your health care provider can discourage the mini-pill from being used if:

  • You have or have had breast cancer
  • You have liver disease
  • You have unexplained uterine bleeding
  • You’re taking medications for tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS or to control seizures
  • You’ll have trouble taking the pill at the same time every day due to a changing work schedule or other factors

Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

The side effects of birth control pills are possible, but the majority of these side effects are not serious. Among the side effects are:

  • Nausea
  • Sore or swollen breasts
  • Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods
  • Lighter periods
  • Mood changes
  • Mild headache

Is It Safe to Take Other Drugs While Taking Birth Control Pills?

Medicine can make birth control pills less effective, including antibiotics and anti-seizure drugs. The way your pills work can also be influenced by certain herbal supplements and some medications used to treat HIV.

Tell the doctor if you are taking any drugs, over-the-counter agents, herbs, and recreational narcotics. They will be better able to inform you of the pill’s possible effects.

Things to remember before taking Pills for Birth Control

  • Keep another form of birth control on hand in case you fail to take a pill, such as spermicidal foam and condoms.
  • If you do not often sleep in the same place, take your pills with you.
  • Take a pill every day at the same time.
  • Get your refills right after the last prescription begins. Just don’t ever wait for the last minute.

How old do I need to be in order to take the pill?

When you start having your period.

There’s no minimum age, although some doctors recommend waiting until about 16 years of age to allow your body a chance to develop the rhythm properly. Talking to doctors, parents, or psychiatrists is a smart idea to make sure you’re comfortable physically and psychologically, both for the pill and for sex.

Is that going to make my period more regular?

Yes. In certain instances, the period would be made more stable by the pill. Each month, you’re more likely to get your period at the same time. Bleeding and cramps may be lighter, too. Every now and then, you might even skip a period. However, these symptoms differ in part because, based on the dosage, the quantity and form of hormones will vary. Speak to your doctor about the most suitable type for you.

Is the pill going to make me gain weight?

It’s uncertain. No correlation between the pill and weight gain was found in a study of more than 40 trials. However, along your thighs, hips, and breasts, you may feel a little heavier. But that’s probably a symptom of weight and water retention, rather than fat accumulation.

What do I do if I want to get pregnant?

Only stop taking the pill if you know you wish to get pregnant. No matter what kind of birth control drug you are on, even after you stop taking it, it’s easy to get pregnant. Getting back to the cycle you had when you stopped taking the pill may take a few months for your period, but during that time you can still get pregnant.

Anything else that I should know?

The pill is easy to prevent pregnancy, inexpensive, and overwhelmingly successful, that is, if you take it as instructed. But if you know you’re not the sort of person who’s going to recall taking a pill every day at the same time (despite having an alarm on your phone or something else you’re doing to alert yourself), then you might need to go for a contraception that needs a little less everyday work.

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