It is a tablet containing two hormones, estrogen and progestogen, or progestogen only (known as the “mini pill” for nursing mothers and teenage females). It prevents ovulation, changes the properties of the cervical mucus (which becomes impenetrable to sperm), and changes the endometrium to inhibit implantation of a fertilized ovum.
Pros: This method is highly effective. The failure rate for the two-component pill is 0.1-0.2%.
Well-chosen, it can increase a fading libido, make menstruation less painful and abundant, and possibly shorten its duration in women with prolonged menstrual bleeding. For most women, it alleviates the symptoms of the premenstrual syndrome and may help maintain a more regular menstrual cycle.
In exceptional cases, by missing out the seven-day break, you can skip one period (e.g. because of going on holiday or an exam).
The pill slightly reduces the risk of ovarian cancer, and decreases the risk of osteoporosis and endometriosis.
Cons: Birth control pills must be taken daily. If you omit one pill, especially one of the first seven, additional contraception should be used for 10 days in this cycle.
Vomiting and diarrhoea may reduce the efficacy of the pill.
Birth control pills slightly increase the risk of breast cancer. The pill cannot be used by women suffering from certain varieties of migraine, with high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, at risk of breast cancer, with liver impairment, history of thrombosis in the patient or the family, with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and hypertension.
How to use it?
Take your first pill from the packet on the first day of menstruation. Triphasic pills (e.g. Qlaira) should be used in a specific order, because the hormone content in each tablet is aligned with the consecutive days of the cycle. Biphasic pills may be taken from the packet in any order for 21 days. Once the packet is empty, take a seven-day break, during which you should get a bleed. After these seven days, you start a new packet, even if the bleeding has not stopped. If the bleeding does not occur during the break, take a pregnancy test and consult your doctor before the next packet.
The mini pill, such as Cerazette, should be taken at the same hour every day, and without the seven day break.
Recently, there have been several preparations with a convenient continuous administration method, without the seven-day break (e.g. LesiPlus, Daylette or Yaz). This regimen minimizes the risk of mistakes in starting a new packet on the correct day and eliminates the symptoms of PMS due to the continuous use of the preparation.
Another new product in our market (Seasonique) enable a reduction in the annual number of menstrual periods to about 4 or 5 appearing once a quarter (every 3 months). This method is intended for women who suffer from severe PMS, who work very actively and cannot afford frequent and lengthy absences due to heavy and painful periods.