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Birth Control Pills
Birth control pills contain a synthetic version of the naturally occurring hormones estrogen and progestin. Some pills have estrogen-only components, progestin-only or a combination of estrogen and progestin. These pills are administered orally; and they must be taken daily in order to achieve their full benefits.
Oral contraceptives are prescribed by doctors for several reasons. Typically, these pills prevent pregnancy by stopping ovulation and by altering the cervical mucus and endometrium, making them less likely to support fertilization of eggs. Birth control pills are also effective in treating irregular menstrual cycle and heavy bleeding during menstruation. Some pills can also treat acne while others relieve symptoms of endometriosis.
Just like all types of medication, birth control pills have side effects that may cause discomfort to some. There are pills, though, that have less side effects than the others, because of the hormone level that they contain. Monophasic birth control pills have a constant dose of estrogen and progestin in each hormonally active pills throughout the entire 21 days in each cycle. They are least likely to cause side effects such as mood changes, because of the uniform level of hormones in each pill.
Among the common examples of these birth control pills that are available upon prescription are the following: Alesse, Brevicon, Demulen, Desogen, Levlen, Levlite, Loestrin, Microgestin, Modicon, Necon, Nelova, Nordette, Norinyl, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho-Novum, Ovcon, Ovral, Yasmin, and Zovia.
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Alesse contains progestin (levonorgestrel) and estrogen (ethinyl estradiol). This combined oral contraceptive is used to prevent pregnancy, regulate the menstrual cycle and treat acne in women 14 years of age and older.
This oral contraceptive comes in a 21-day and 28-day pack. Each pill must be taken daily for 21 days, preferably at bedtime. After the last pill is taken, there must be a lapse of 7 days before starting the new pack. During the first 7 days of pill use, it is recommended to have additional method of contraception (condoms, spermicidal foam or gel). It is very important to follow strictly the doctor's instruction in taking the pill. Missing a pill increases the risk of pregnancy, thus losing the potency of the pill.
Although most women do not experience alarming side effects from taking Alesse, other go through mild physical discomfort such as nausea, headache, spotting or breakthrough bleeding, and diarrhea. Risk factors for Alesse are women who:
- Are or may be pregnant
- Have unusual vaginal bleeding
- Has/ had hypertension or coronary artery disease
- Has/ had stroke
- Has/ had breast cancer
- Are allergic to any of the ingredients found in Alesse
- Has/ had an abnormal vaginal bleeding
- Has/ had blood clotting disorders
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Brevicon contains ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone, the synthetic versions of estrogen and progestin. This birth control pill is used to prevent pregnancy and to treat acne. It is also prescribed to women who have irregular menstrual cycles, and those who experience heavy bleeding and cramps associated with menstruation.
This pill comes in a 28-day pack, and it must be taken at a similar time daily. Pregnancy is likely to occur if a pill or two is missed. This tablet may be chewed or swallowed whole followed by a glass of water. During the first cycle of using the medication, a second birth control method such as condoms or spermicidal foam/ gel should be used.
During the first three months of taking this birth control pill, breakthrough bleeding may be experienced. Among the other side effects of Brevicon are the following:
- Mild nausea and vomiting
- Darkening of facial skin
- Increase in hair growth or loss of scalp hair
- Weight changes
- Headache and dizziness
- Vaginal discharge or itching
Women who are pregnant, have certain medical conditions (breast or uterine cancer, abnormal vaginal bleeding, history of stroke and blood clot, liver disease, and jaundice caused by birth control pills) are not advised to take Brevicon.
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Zovia 1/35E (28)
Zovia contains ethinyl estradiol and ethynodiol diacetate, the synthetic versions of the naturally-occurring female hormones estrogen and progestin. It has these purposes: 1) prevents pregnancy; 2) treats irregular menstrual cycle; 3) decrease blood loss and stops dysmenorrhea; 4) decreases the risk of ovarian cysts. However, Zovia does not cure or prevent AIDS, HIV, or other sexually-transmitted diseases.
This birth control pill is administered orally. They come in 21-day and 28-day packs. One pill is taken daily, preferably at a particular time each day. If taken before meals, the pill can help if one has nausea or an upset stomach. For those who are using a 21-day pack, there is a break of 7 days after taking the last active pill. 28-day packs have 7 "reminder pills" that are taken daily before starting with the next pack. It is very important to take a pill each day; missing one pill or more can increase the chances of getting pregnant.
Several mild side effects may be experienced while taking this pill such as nausea, vomiting, vaginal discharge during the first few months of use, breast tenderness and/ or swelling, and increased vaginal fluids. Acne may also improve or worsen.
Cigarette smokers, pregnant and breastfeeding women, and those who are allergic to any of the ingredients found in Zovia are not advised to take this pill. Those who suffer or who have undergone certain medical conditions are not given prescription to take this medication. Among those disorders are the following: history of stroke or bood clots, unexplained vaginal bleeding, history of jaundice during pregnancy or while taking other birth control pills, breast and/ or uterine cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, and liver disease.
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Birth Control Medications, From
Types of Birth Control Pills, From