Birth Control Pills Explained

Birth control is a doctor-prescribed medication that significantly affects the hormones in your body to prevent pregnancy. As your body changes with age, your hormones change as well. When experiencing side effects such as weight gain, headaches or nausea, it is essential to switch your birth control to coincide with your changing hormones.

OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson's Medicine Cabinet 101 on Birth Control

Monophasic Pill: These are the traditional pills that provide three weeks of equal doses of estrogen and progestin and one week of placebo pills. This type is recommended for those who are prone to acne or mood swings.

Tri-Phasic Pill: Women who use birth control often experience spotting. The tri-phasic pill combines changing levels of estrogen and progestin to mimic a dynamic cycle to prevent spotting. It also eases pain caused by endometriosis, a disorder of the female reproductive system where endometrial cells attach to tissues surrounding the uterus, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or the large or small intestines. It can cause bleeding, intense cramping and pain, and can affect a woman's fertility.
Extended Cycle Pill: For women who suffer from extreme PMS and painful periods, extended cycle pills decrease periods to three or four times a year to avoid these symptoms. Dr. Lisa confirms that it is completely safe to do away with monthly periods.

Try the PMS Smoothie!

Mini-Pill: Women with chronic headaches and nausea should avoid estrogen, ruling out the above three birth-control pills. The Mini-Pill is a progesterone-only pill that is less effective than the varieties above, but is a good alternative to avoid painful side effects. Nursing mothers should also use the Mini-Pill, as estrogen can harm the baby. Always consult your doctor when starting birth control as a new mother.
IUDs or Vaginal Ring: Unlike pills, these types of birth control are not taken orally, which makes them a great alternative for women prone to nausea.

Birth control does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. Always be sure to practice safe sex by using a condom.

Birth control risks.