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How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

How Do Birth Control Pills Work?

Birth control is a controversial topic for some, but for those who’ve seen the effects of preventing unwanted pregnancy, it is not just a topic, but a necessity. Birth control has evolved beyond the pills of the mid-20th century, and other birth control options are popular, but birth control pills remain the standard choice for doctors and patients across the US. 

When you or your teen are ready to discuss birth control, it’s important to choose an experienced gynecologist who understands the best options for you. Rachel Spieldoch, MD leads our team of warm professionals at McDowell Mountain Gynecology in Scottsdale, Arizona, and can assist you with any questions that you might have about birth control. 

Who needs birth control? 

Birth control is any method used to prevent pregnancy. Condoms are a type of birth control, diaphragms are a type of birth control, and abstinence is also considered a type of birth control. Abstinence is the only method that can guarantee the prevention of pregnancy, but avoiding sex entirely isn’t always the feasible choice while dating, married, or in a casual relationship.

In lieu of abstinence, choosing safe sex means taking birth control into account, whether it is solely for the prevention of pregnancy, the prevention of STDs, or both. Though condoms are an easy and reliable type of pregnancy prevention, birth control pills provide another layer of protection from pregnancy, and are even much more effective. 

Birth control pills are generally prescribed to any sexually active biological woman of reproductive age, or girls as young as 13, though16 is the normal age to start using birth control pills. Birth control is rarely, if ever, prescribed to post-menopausal women. After age 55, hormonal birth control pills can raise the risk of blood clots, breast cancer, stroke, and heart attack. For women who are going through menopause, birth control may mitigate some of the uncomfortable symptoms, including: 

How do birth control pills work? 

If Dr. Spieldoch determines that birth control pills are right for you, there are several options from which to choose. Whichever pill is best for you, it will be made from one or two hormones, progesterone and/or estrogen. The pill that combines both hormones prevents eggs from being released from the ovaries, and changes the environment of your uterus, making it inhospitable to sperm, or to fertilized eggs. 

Birth control pills made solely of progesterone change the lining of the uterus, making it nearly-impossible for sperm to thrive. Birth control pills should be taken at the same time every day for maximum effectiveness, and when taken properly, birth control pills are over 99% effective in pregnancy prevention. 

What else do birth control pills do?

As mentioned, perimenopausal women may benefit from birth control that reduces their symptoms of menopause. Similarly, birth control is prescribed to many women to control severe PMS and PMDD symptoms. Some women are able to find relief from migraines by adjusting their hormone levels with birth control, and better hormone balance can lead to clearer skin in acne-prone women. 

Birth control pills have benefits for women’s menstrual cycles, as well. Birth control pills can help regulate heavy, irregular periods, and are used as a treatment for endometriosis. 

I’d like more information on birth control pills

We’re ready and happy to assist you! Dr. Spieldoch is an experienced doctor of gynecological medicine, and regularly prescribes birth control to patients of all ages. Before prescribing any medication to you, Dr. Spieldoch goes over your complete medical history, and goes over any medications you’re currently using. Make an appointment today by calling 480-483-9011, or book an appointment with us online.  

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