How Long Do Birth Control Pills Take to Work?

image001The popularity of oral contraceptives cannot be just attributed for its birth control properties, but other problems not even related to it. Acne problems, irregular menstrual period and dysmenorrhea are just some problems that birth control pills help to eliminate. These problems are mostly hormonal related, which is what the oral contraceptives contain. Man-made estrogen and progestin hormones work primarily by inhibiting the effects of these hormones in our body. Having the knowledge on how they actually work whether for aesthetic purposes or for birth control, may also protect you from its unlikely effects.

How Long Do Birth Control Pills Take to Work?

The “pill”, as most often referred to, is a combination of the hormones estrogen and progestin. It’s a very reliable birth control method if used correctly. The ratio of its effectiveness is that only 3% of women who use it correctly can get pregnant. Among the three methods of starting the pill, the "Day 1" method is the easiest since you start taking the pill on your first day of menstrual cycle. It doesn't need a back up method such as condoms unlike the "Quick Start" and "Sunday Start" method. Starting on the first day of your cycle increases the protection level since the hormonal effect starts at the very beginning of the cycle. And if taken correctly will start to protect you from pregnancy right after the first week of taking them. Therefore, the sooner you start the sooner birth control pills work.

Can I Take Birth Control Pills?

As most oral medications, oral contraceptives do come with necessary precaution before and even after taking them. For starters, women over 35 years of age and those who smoke are advised against taking the “pill”. Women at this age and lifestyle predisposes them to unlikely side effects, much more if they have existing conditions where a hormonal contraceptive should not be taken. A woman who has had a serious heart or liver disease, cancer of the breast or uterus and a history or presently has signs of blood clots in the arms, legs or lungs is not recommended to take hormonal pills. As a medical health personnel, it is important to screen women planning to take birth control having the said risk factors. And women who suspect they have this conditions should consult their doctor first before starting oral contraceptives. Therefore, not all women can take birth control.

How Do I Start Taking Birth Control Pills?

There are three ways to start taking the pill with the guidance of a qualified health personnel. The first method is the easiest since you start taking them on the first day of the menstrual cycle. This way, protection from pregnancy starts right away. The second method can start anytime within the first 7 days after you start your menstrual period. This method is best combined with a back up method of birth control such as condoms and spermicide during the first 7 days of use. And the third method is starting the pill anytime during the cycle, as long as you are sure you are not pregnant. Protection starts after 7 days of taking them and all through out the cycle if taken correctly and continuously.

What If I Forgot to Take Them?

Forgetting to take a pill should not be a cause for panic, just take it immediately as soon as you remember. If you missed one day, you can take two pills right away. If you missed two days in a row, you can take two pills the same day and two pills the next day. If you missed more than two days,its advisable to consult with your doctor first. It is most likely that you will need to start a new pack of pills to restart your cycle. The moment you forgot a pill, it would be best to use a back up birth control such as a condom as an added protection. Missing any of the last 7 on the pill pack may not be as critical as missing the rest of the other pills since the last 7 are merely placebo pills. Taking a pregnancy test once you missed one or more, it is advised to make sure you're not pregnant before continuing the pill you missed. Even so, though you did not miss any pill and missed one or two periods take a pregnancy test right away. Protection from pregnancy maybe as important as protection from sexually transmitted infection. Hence, using a condom may also be a necessity for some. Protection from infection relatively strengthens protection from pregnancy as it eliminates possible harm for us women.

Are There Any Side Effects of Birth Control Pills?

There are two kinds of side effects, the not serious and the serious side effects. It's important that the serious side effects are distinguished from the not serious since it may require urgent care for evaluation in an emergency room. Usual side effects are spotting between periods, nausea, weight gain, sore or swollen breasts and mood swings. Those requiring medical intervention and may be indicative of a serious disorder though less common is known by the acronym ACHES. Abdominal pain, chest pain, headaches (severe), eye problems (blurry vision), and swelling or aching in the legs or thighs. These symptoms may indicate a blood clot or high blood pressure. However, it could also be a sign of a more serious disorder such as heart, liver and gall bladder disease. Therefore, always be on the look out for these signs when taking oral contraceptives.

More Tips on Taking Birth Control Pills

It is on a woman's best interest to keep in mind some pointers while on the pill. To enhance the protection level of the contraceptive, always take the pill the same exact time everyday. If you are a highly active person and you move from one place to another, keep in mind to carry the pills with you all the time. Take another form of birth control handy such as a condom or spermicidal foam in case you forgot to take a pill. Another tip is to make sure you have the next refill or pack ready before you finish the previous pill pack. And lastly, always inform your doctor you are on birth control.

Watch this video and learn more about the birth control:

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