White birth control pills in blue package on pink background.

There are many options to choose from when it comes to birth control. Birth control pills are available if you are sexually active and can become pregnant.

Birth control pills, also called oral contraceptives, are medications you take by mouth to prevent pregnancy. According to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), they’re an effective method of birth control with a success rate of about 91 percent (or a failure rate of 9 percent).

You can find out how birth control pills work, what side effects they can cause, and other information to help you decide if they are a good choice for you.

Birth control pills are similar to the hormones your body uses during the menstrual cycle in that they contain small amounts.

The hormones in birth control pills work to prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation, or the release of an egg from the ovary. Some birth control pills also temporarily change the lining of the uterus so it’s less likely a fertilized egg will implant.

Birth control pills come in a pack and are assigned a pill each day. You take a birth control pill daily, depending on the pill you choose. You are less likely to get pregnant if your hormones are elevated.

Combination pills

Combination pills contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen and progesterone (called progestin in its synthetic form). Estrogen controls the menstrual cycle.

Estrogen levels are naturally highest in the middle of your cycle and lowest when you have your period. Progesterone prepares the uterus for pregnancy after ovulation by thickening the endometrium. High progesterone levels also prevent ovulation.

“There are 28 pills in a 28-pack. Most pills in a cycle are active. The pills are inactive and don’t contain hormones. There are several types of pills.”

  • Monophasic pills. These are dispensed in 1-month cycles. Each active pill gives you the same dose of hormone. During the last week of the cycle, you can take or skip the inactive pills and will still have your period.
  • Multiphasic pills. These are dispensed in 1-month cycles and provide different levels of hormones during the cycle. During the last week of the cycle, you can take or skip the inactive pills and will still have your period.
  • Extended-cycle pills. These are typically dispensed in 13-week cycles. You take active pills for 12 weeks. During the last week of the cycle, you can take or skip the inactive pills and have your period. As a result, you have your period only three to four times per year.

There are examples of brand-name combination pills.

  • A woman named Azurette.
  • Beyaz.
  • Enpresse.
  • Estrostep Fe is a song.
  • Kariva.
  • Levora.
  • The drug loestrin.
  • Natazia.
  • Ocella.
  • Low-Ogestrel is a drug.
  • The knee is called the ortho-Novum.
  • The ortho tri-cyclen is a type of bicycle.
  • Seasonale
  • Seasonique.
  • Velivet is a person.
  • There is a person named Yasmin.
  • There is a person named Yaz.

Possible benefits of combination pills

Some protection against:

  • There is a problem with the skin
  • ectopic pregnancies.
  • Thinner bones.
  • There are breast growths that are notcancerous.
  • Ovarian and endometrial cancer are the most common types.
  • Anemia.
  • Heavy periods.
  • There is severe menstrual pain.

Progestin-only pills

Progestin-only pills have progestin without estrogen. The mini pill is also called this type of pill.

Progestin-only pills can help reduce bleeding in people with Heavy periods.. They may be a good choice for people who can’t take estrogen for health or other reasons, like a history of stroke, migraine with aura, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, and/or There is a deep vein thrombosis..

If you smoke and are over 35, you should avoid estrogen as it can increase your risk of developing a blood clot.

All the pills in the cycle are active with progestin-only pills. You can take progestin-only pills, but you may or may not have a period.

There are brand-name progestin-only pills.

  • A person named Camila.
  • “It’s Errin.”
  • Heather is a woman.
  • Jencycla.
  • No-QD.
  • The ortho musucuor is made of metal.

Possible benefits of progestin-only pills

People who take progestin-only pills may be safer.

  • They are unable to tolerate the therapy.
  • Are they smokers?
  • They are older than 35.
  • Have a history of blood clot.
  • I would like to breastfeed.

Deciding on a type of birth control pill

Not every pill is a good fit for everyone. Discuss the pill option with your doctor. Factors that can affect your choice.

  • Your menstrual symptoms. If you experience heavy bleeding, you may do better with a progestin-only birth control pill instead of a combination pill.
  • Whether you’re breastfeeding. If you’re breastfeeding, your doctor may recommend avoiding birth control pills that contain estrogen.
  • Your cardiovascular health. If you have a history of stroke, blood clots, and/or There is a deep vein thrombosis., your doctor may recommend a progestin-only birth control pill.
  • Other chronic health conditions you may have. If you have chronic health conditions, such as active breast or endometrial cancer, migraine with aura, or heart disease, you may not be a good candidate for oral contraceptives. Talk with your doctor and make sure to give your full health history.
  • Other medications you may take. If you’re taking antibiotics or herbal remedies, such as St. John’s Wort, combination birth controls may not be a good fit for you. Certain antiviral drugs and epilepsy medications can also interfere with birth control pills, and vice versa.

The combination pills work in two ways.

First, they prevent your body from ovulating. This means your ovaries won’t release an egg each month.

Second, these pills cause your body to thicken your cervical mucus, the fluid around your cervix that helps sperm travel to your uterus so it can fertilize an egg. The thickened mucus helps prevent sperm from reaching the uterus.

Progestin-only pills also work in a few different ways. Mainly, they work by thickening your cervical mucus and by thinning your endometrium.

An egg implants after it is fertilized in your uterus. If the lining is thinner, it will be harder for an egg to implant in it, which will prevent a pregnant woman from growing.

Progestin-only pills may also prevent ovulation.

Combination pills come in a variety of formats. These include monthly packs, which follow 21-, 24-, or 28-day cycles. Extended regimens can follow 91-day cycles. With all these formats, you take one pill each day at the same time of day.

If you start taking your combination pill within 5 days after your period starts, you will be protected against pregnancies. You need to take the pills for 7 days before you are protected. During this time, you should use a barrier method of birth control.

Progestin-only pills, on the other hand, come in only packs of 28. As with combination pills, you take one pill at the same time every day.

“If you take 2 pills within 48 hours, you will be protected against pregnancies. If you don’t want to wait 48 hours to have sex, you should use a barrier method of birth control.”

If taken correctly, birth control pills are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Both the combination pill and the progestin-only pill have 9 percent failure rates with typical use. That means out of 100 people using the pill, 9 would get pregnant.

To be fully effective, progestin pills must be taken within the same 3-hour time period every day. If you miss this time window, you should take your pill as soon as you remember and use a different method of contraception, like a condom, for 2 days.

There is more flexibility with the combination pills. You can take combination pills within the same day and still have protection against pregnancies, but you should try to take them at the same time each day.

Certain medications can make either pill less effective.

  • rifampin is an antibiotic.
  • certain antiretroviral and HIV medications such as efavirenz
  • certain antiseizure medications such as carbamazepine, levonorgestrel, oral norethindrone, and the subdermal etonogestrel implant
  • “St. John’s wort is a bitter substance.”

If you experience vomiting or idiocy, the pill may be less effective. If you have a stomach illness, you should see your doctor to see if you are at risk of pregnant. If that happens, you should use a condom.


  • When taken correctly, they’re highly effective. They protect against pregnancy better than most other birth control options.
  • They can help regulate your menstrual cycle. This can be helpful for people with irregular or Heavy periods..
  • They’re reversible. When you stop taking them, your cycle will return to normal and you can get pregnant if you want to.


  • They don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). You or your partner(s) will have to use condoms to prevent STI transmission.
  • You have to take a pill every day. If you miss a pill or take it outside the 3- or 12-hour window (depending on which pill you’re using), your risk of pregnancy increases.
  • You have to make sure you have a new pack ready to go. Delaying starting a new pack can also increase your risk of pregnancy.

Depending on which pill you’re taking, there are different routes to take when you’ve missed one or more doses.

Number of missed pills Action Emergency contraception (EC) Backup birth control
1 active combination pill Take the missed pill ASAP, even if that means you take 2 in 1 day. Continue taking the rest of your pills on a normal schedule. Unless you missed the pill early in your cycle (5–7 days) or late in your previous cycle, EC isn’t usually needed. none needed
2+ active combination pills Take the most recent pill ASAP, even if that means you take 2 in 1 day. Continue taking the rest of your pills on a normal schedule. If you missed the pills during the first week of your cycle and had sex without a condom or other barrier method, consider using EC. Use backup BC or abstain until you’ve taken the active pills for 7 consecutive days.
If you missed pills in your third week, take the active pills in the pack daily until you run out, then start a new pack the next day.
Don’t take the inactive pills.
1+ active progestin-only pills Take 1 pill ASAP. Continue taking your pills on a normal schedule. If you had sex without a barrier method within the past 5 days, consider using EC. Use backup BC or abstain until you’ve taken pills for 2 consecutive days.
1+ inactive pills (either type) Discard the missed inactive pill(s) and continue on your normal schedule.
You should never leave more than 7 consecutive days between taking active pills.
none needed none needed

While birth control pills are safe for most people, they do come with some side effects and risks. Everyone reacts differently to the hormones in birth control pills. Some people have side effects such as:

  • Sex drive was decreased.
  • nausea
  • There are headaches.
  • Bleeding or spotting between periods.
  • Breast pain.
  • Abdominal pain.
  • The discharge of vaginal fluids has increased.

“The side effects will likely improve after a few months of using the pill. If they don’t improve, you should talk to your doctor. They may suggest a different type of birth control pill.”


Birth control pills are more likely to cause blood clot than other contraceptives. This can lead to something.

The risk of a blood clot from using any kind of birth control pill is low.

According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, out of 10,000 people taking birth control pills, about 10 will develop a blood clot after taking a combination pill for a year. This risk is still lower than the risk of developing a blood clot during pregnancy and immediately after giving birth.

The risk of a blood clot from the pill is higher for certain groups. This includes those who are not related to the person.

  • Live in larger bodies.
  • Have high blood pressure.
  • They are on bed rest.

If you have any of these factors, you should talk to your doctor about the risks of using a birth control pill.


The birth control pill is an excellent option for birth control. The best birth control choice depends on many factors. Talk to your doctor about the option that works for you. Ask any questions you have. These might include:

  • Which type of birth control pill would be better for me?
  • Is there any medication that could cause problems with a birth control pill?
  • Is the pill riskier for me to have blood clot?
  • What should I do if I forget to take a pill?
  • What other birth control options should I use?

Access to birth control pills is becoming easier with the increasing demand.

You can schedule an in-person visit with the doctor. Once you have a medical history and discuss your family planning goals with your doctor, he will give you a prescription for you to fill at the pharmacy.

There are also several ways to get birth control pills online without an in-person visit to a doctor.

Telehealth services, like Nurx, Lemonaid, SimpleHealth, and The Pill Club offer online consultations, some via video and some through messaging or a medical questionnaire, with licensed doctors and healthcare professionals who review your medical history and then provide a prescription for a recommended birth control.

Birth control pills are shipped directly to your home once the prescription is filled.

Does birth control make you gain weight?

Many people believe that birth control pills lead to weight gain. But, while some people do gain weight after starting oral contraceptives, there’s little research to determine a direct link.

In a 2014 review, researchers looked at 49 studies on the association between combined contraceptives and weight gain. They concluded that there was insufficient evidence to suggest that birth control leads (or doesn’t lead) to weight gain.

An increase in weight might be due to water retention. Other factors, such as lifestyle changes, muscle gain, and emotional health, can affect weight gain as well. There is a lack of recent clinical studies looking at whether the pill leads to weight gain. Hopefully, future research will tell us more.

What are popular birth control pills with little side effects?

It is not easy to predict whether you will experience side effects when taking birth control pills.

Discuss your options with your doctor. If you experience side effects on one pill, talk to your doctor about changing to another oral contraceptive.

Can I get birth control without my parents’ permission?

In the United States, most states allow teenagers to access oral contraception and other birth control options without parental permission. It’s best to call your doctor, a local Planned Parenthood center, or your student health center to find out whether you’ll need a parent’s permission.

“Doctors have to be careful with patient confidentiality. If you are on your parent’s insurance plan, it is possible that your parent will receive a statement in the mail that shows what insurance paid for.”

“If you are concerned about privacy, you might want to pay out of pocket. If you can’t afford it, the organization may be able to help.”

How are birth control pills different from an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control. It’s a small device that’s inserted into the uterus.

An IUD can be more expensive up front than other types of birth control, but it might save you money in the long run. You won’t need to replace it for a while — depending on the type of IUD you use, it can last 3 to 12 years. It’s also one of the most effective forms of birth control, at more than 99 percent effective.

You can get a copper or hormonal IUD if you prefer. If you are considering using an IUD, you should consult a healthcare professional to make sure it is right for you.

Birth control pills are contraceptives that can prevent pregnancies. The hormones estrogen and/or progestin are in the pill. They have a success rate of over 90 percent.

There are two types of birth control pills, combination and progestin-only. Combination pills are more common, but progestin-only pills, which don’t contain any estrogen, may be a better fit for certain groups of people, such as those who Have a history of blood clot. or have Heavy periods..

Before taking birth control pills, you should talk to your doctor or a licensed medical professional to determine which type is right for you.