Birth Control Pill Brands

Birth control pills have been used safely for decades by women who want to prevent pregnancy. Choosing your birth control pill brands depends upon your medical history, your schedule and the type of pill that your doctor deems right for you.

Oral contraceptive pills, better known as birth control pills, are used by millions of women across the world to prevent unwanted pregnancy. These pills work in various ways: some prevent a woman from ovulating, or releasing an egg that could be fertilized. Others make the lining of the uterus unsuitable for the fertilized egg to attach to, while still others thicken the cervical mucus, thus preventing the sperm from entering the womb and getting to the egg.

There are numerous different types of birth control pills offered by various manufacturers. Most women choose a combination pill that contains estrogen and progesterone, but some opt for different formulas. The choice should always be made after close consultation with your physician.

Types and Brands of Birth Control Pills

The sheer number of possibilities for birth control pills can make your head spin. The good news is that they are broken into four specific groups. This is a quick run-down of the types of pills out there, as well as those that belong to that type of pill.

Type

Comment

Brand

Progesterone-only Pills

Also known as mini-pills, they are usually taken by nursing mothers, women who have pre-existing conditions of blood clots, or those with other conditions that stop them from using estrogen.

Micronor or Nor-QS and Ovrette

Combination Pills

These pills contain both estrogen and progesterone. They can be monophasic, with the same level of hormones throughout the month. They can be biphasic, with two levels, triphasic, with three levels, or quadraphasic, with four levels. Most prescriptions are for monophasic pills, though all four types are very effective.

Alesse, Brevicon, Demulen, Desogen, Enpresse, Jenest-28, Mircette, Levlen, Tri-Levlen, Loestrin, Necon 10/11, Norinyl, Tri-Norinyl, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Novum, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho-Novum 10/11, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, and Triphasil

Specialty Pills

Though most birth control pills do the same things, there are some that have added benefits. Yasmin is known to help with symptoms of pre-menstrual syndrome, or PMS. Yaz is similar to Yasmin, but is on a different schedule, with 24 pills instead of 21. Beyaz includes a folate supplement, and so does Safyral. Loestrin FE is for those women who want to have lighter, shorter periods.

Yasmin, Yaz, Beyaz, Safyral and Loestrin FE

Extended Cycle Pills

Some women prefer to use birth control that allows them to have fewer periods, lighter periods or no periods at all. For those who want to stop worrying about periods, Lybrel can get rid of them indefinitely. Seasonale allows you to have a period once every three months or so. Seasonique allows you to have four periods in one year. Those who are on these types of birth control pills might want to take pregnancy tests from time to time to ensure the pills are working, and should take a pregnancy test anytime they start to feel strange symptoms that could be indicative of pregnancy.

Lybrel, Seasonale and Seasonique

Remember, before making any choices about birth control pills, speak with your doctor about which ones are right for you. Though you might have a good idea of what you want, certain medical conditions should be taken into consideration. Because of this, a full physical exam is usually required by physicians in order to prescribe birth control pills.

Considerations of Using Birth Control Pills

Though birth control pills have been proven safe for the vast majority of women, there are several things to consider before filling that prescription.

1. People Who Shouldn't Take Birth Control Pills

There are certain medical conditions that can make birth control pills a bad idea.

  • If you have diabetes, birth control pills can only be used under close medical supervision.
  • If you have a history of blood clots, high blood pressure, cardiac problems, or liver problems, you should not take them.
  • If you are over the age of 35 and a smoker, or if you are on antibiotics or some other medications, birth control pills might be a bad idea.
  • If you have ever had a problem with birth control pills in the past, it might be possible to try other options, but be sure to tell your doctor exactly what problems you had and what pill you were on.

2. Side Effects of Birth Control Pills

Though the side effects of birth control pills are often very mild, some of them might affect you.

Common side effects can include:

  • Weight gain
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Mood swings
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Fatigue

These side effects can be worse when you first start taking the pills but then decrease over time.

Uncommon side effects can include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • High blood pressure
  • Arm numbness
  • Severe headaches
  • Heart attack
  • Hair loss
  • Vaginal itching

Any of these very uncommon side effects mean you should go to the emergency room.

3. Keeping Up With Your Schedule

The birth control pill brand you choose can be based on your chosen schedule.

  • Monthly Cycle. Most birth control pills are on a monthly, or 28-day, cycle. This means you would get your period every four weeks.
  • 24-day Cycle. On a 24-day cycle, you might have periods that last less than three days.
  • Three-month Cycle. If you choose the three-month cycle, that means you will have periods only four times per year.
  • Continual Use. You could also take them continually, thus eliminating your periods altogether.

Keep in mind, however, that many women rely on the schedule of birth control pills to help ensure that they are not pregnant; if you are taking a pill that eliminates your periods, be extra-vigilant for signs of pregnancy.

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