The pill is an oral contraceptive. It contains a mix of hormones that prevent you from ovulating and therefore from getting pregnant.
What is it?
The pill is made up of two synthetic female hormones: estrogen and progesterone. These hormones block the production of other hormones by the pituitary, a gland located in your brain. Thus, they prevent your ovaries from releasing ova (eggs), and so you can’t get pregnant.
Your doctor can prescribe the pill for you after a medical examination. In Quebec, a specialized nurse 👩⚕️ can also prescribe it for 6 months.
How do I use it?
You take a pill every day, in the order indicated on the box and at the same time of day, within about 3 hours. The pill’s reliability depends on your taking it regularly.
If you choose the 21-day pill, you need to stop for 7 days after each box. On the other hand, with the 28-day version, there’s no break. The 7 extra pills are placebos – “fake pills” that don’t contain hormones. By taking a pill every day, you keep up the habit. And when you take the last one, you know it’s time to start a new box.
What if I forget?
If you forget to take one or more pills, check this site to find out what to do.
- If you take the pill regularly, you can have sex at any time without a risk of pregnancy.
- It’s 99.5% to 99.8% effective if you use it properly and always take it at the same time.
- It can relieve your menstrual pain, reduce your flow, make your cycle more regular, and help treat acne.
- The birth control pill can reduce the risks of benign breast tumours, ovarian cancer, endometrial cancer, and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in one of the fallopian tubes).
- It doesn’t protect you against BBSTIs.
- You might forget to take it, which increases the risk of unwanted pregnancy.
- Birth control pills cost about $15 to $20 a month, but the cost may be covered by insurance.
- It can cause some side-effects: high blood pressure, depression, migraine, nausea, and sore breasts. However, with the development of low-dose pills, these side-effects have been reduced. If symptoms appear, consult your doctor, a nurse, or a pharmacist.
- You shouldn’t take the pill if you have a cardiovascular or circulatory disorder, asthma, epilepsy, or certain liver diseases.
- Avoid cigarettes! They don’t mix well with the pill: the combination can damage your health.
- You need to use another contraceptive method, such as condoms, while taking the first box.
Some birth control pills can really affect your moods because of the estrogen they contain. Consult your doctor and explain what’s happening. He/she may change your prescription and give you another kind of pill with a lower hormone content.