Birth Control Pills: What is the Difference? - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Birth Control Pills: What is the Difference?

When it comes to choosing the appropriate birth control pill, it can be a hard decision for both the patient and her doctor. There are so many pills with so many catchy slogans and pretty boxes. SO, what is the difference?

First, we have to understand how pills work and why they are made the way they are made. Oral Contraceptives (OCPs) are made with two main ingredients, estrogen and progesterone. These are the two main hormones in the female reproductive system and both are made by the ovaries.

OCPs are designed to mimic the female pregnant state by cycling the hormones in a constant rhythm. As a result, your body thinks that you are pregnant and shuts the ovaries down, allowing the pills to “run the show”. Most pills these days are packaged around a monthly cycle with three weeks of “active” pills (i.e. contain hormones) and one week of sugar pills that are just there to keep you in the habit of taking your pills daily. Thus, most women on pills have a regular monthly cycle during that last week of pills.

The most common side effects of OCPs are nausea, weight gain (fluid retention), stomach upset, mood swings, and breakthrough bleeding. Thus, the difference in most OCPs is a result of the pharmaceutical companies trying to reduce these side effects by using different progesterones and/ or lower/ higher doses of estrogen. Since most side effects are secondary to estrogen, companies try to find ways to lower the dose of estrogen (less nausea, weight, etc.) while keeping the dose of estrogen high enough to prevent breakthrough bleeding and spotting. Another difference in pills is monophasic pills versus multiphasic pills. What that means is that some pills have the same thing in them everyday with no changes from week to week and some pills change their dosing from week to week in an attempt to have fewer side effects.

SO, what pill is right for you? The right OCP is very dependent on the patient and how she responds to different hormone changes. My advice is that you contact your OB/GYN and set up an appointment to discuss OCPs with him or feel free to give us a call at Central Alabama OB/GYN Associates, PA (334) 265-3545 and schedule a visit with one of our experts to discuss what pill is best for you.

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