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    Birth Control Pills: What Are the Choices?

    For many women, birth control pills are a good choice to prevent a pregnancy. It's easy to get a prescription from your doctor, and they're generally safe and effective. They’re pretty hassle-free, too. You just have to remember to take a pill every day.

    Different types are available. If you’re thinking about using one of them, here's what you should know to help you make a smart choice.

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    Other Benefits of Birth Control Pills

    You know that birth control pills can keep you from getting pregnant. But the pill can have other benefits, too. One survey found that more than half of women who take birth control pills do so for reasons other than avoiding pregnancy. It can make your periods more regular. With the pill, you'll know when you'll have your period. With traditional birth control pills, you'll take 3 weeks of hormone-containing active pills, followed by one week of inactive pills. You'll get your period the week...

    Read the Other Benefits of Birth Control Pills article > >

    What Are the Main Types?

    Most women in the U.S. who are on the pill take what’s called the combination pill. It uses man-made versions of the hormones estrogen and progesterone to keep you from getting pregnant. These hormones stop your ovaries from releasing eggs, and they also make changes in your cervix and uterus that lower your chance of a pregnancy.

    Another type is the mini-pill. It uses only man-made progesterone. It works mostly by causing changes that keep sperm from reaching eggs.

    What Are the Benefits of Combination Pills?

    You have less than a 1% chance of getting pregnant if you use them exactly as directed. That means taking your pill every day.

    Their effects are easy to reverse, too. When it’s baby-making time, just stop taking them. It’s possible to get pregnant right away.

    Usually, if you miss two of these pills in a row, you’ll need to use backup birth control for a week.

    Combo pills have benefits beyond birth control.

    • They help regulate your period and lessen cramping.
    • They can lower your risk of certain cancers.
    • They might clear your acne.
    • Two brands, (Beyaz, Yaz) are approved to treat a severe form of premenstrual syndrome.

    Do Combination Pills Have Side Effects?

    You might have:

    • Changes in your period
    • Headache and nausea
    • Tender breasts
    • Breakthrough bleeding (bleeding between periods, also known as spotting)

    More-serious but rarer side effects include:

    You shouldn’t take a combination pill if you already have high blood pressure or have had a heart attack, stroke, or blood clots.

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