Birth control pills are hormonal contraceptives, meaning they contain small doses of hormones which inhibit pregnancy. They work in various modes to prevent pregnancy. Some hormone pills inhibit the ovaries from releasing egg every month. As there is no ovulation, there is no risk of pregnancy. Some other hormone pills thicken the cervical mucus in cervix to create a barrier to prevent sperm entry. There are other pills that prevent implantation of an egg in uterus, in an event of fertilization. There are also certain birth control pills which adopt all the above strategies to prevent unwanted pregnancies.
About Low Dose Birth Control Pills
Depending upon the dose of hormone present, birth control pills can be classified as high dose, phasic, low dose and ultra/very low dose pills. All of these pills are a combination of female hormones estrogen and progesterone. High dose birth control pills contain about 50 mcg estrogen and a small amount of progestin. Low dose contain about 30 to 35 mcg of estrogen and small amount of progestin. Phasic birth control pills contain estrogen doses in variable amounts. Ultra or very low dose pills contain less than 20 mcg of estrogen and progestin.
Low dose or low estrogen birth control pills are mostly prescribed to reduce the risk of side effects common with high dose pills. As these pills contain only a small amount of estrogen, they do not produce hazardous side effects. However, they indeed prevent unwanted pregnancies in an effective manner. Low dose pills are also used to regulate menstrual cycle in women who experience irregularities with their menses. In addition, they are also used as a treatment for heavy bleeding during period. These pills are also prescribed for perimenopausal women to control some of the undesirable symptoms of menopause.
Some low dose pills can be used for treating Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS). These pills also reduce the risk of certain types of cancer such as ovarian, endometrial, etc. They are ideal for women who only need short time birth control, as they do not have any lingering side effects on body.
How to Take Low Dose Birth Control Pills
These birth control pills are oral contraceptive pills that are to be taken daily. They come in a pack of 21 pills or 28 pills. You start taking these pills on the first Sunday after your period ends (you may start the course on any other day, but make sure you maintain the schedule for subsequent months). You take the pills for 21 days in a row and then stop taking the pill for the next 7 days. You will get your period once you are off the pill. After your period ends, you resume the course for the next month. Some women may opt for a 28 day course, in which 21 pills are hormone pills while the rest are non hormone or placebo pills. The idea is to make a woman stay in habit for the entire month. You ought to take these pills every day, roughly at the same time to avoid the risk of pregnancy. If you miss a pill, your chances of conception are greatly elevated, due to the small dosage.
Low Dose Birth Control Pills List
The following list of birth control pills that are lower in dose can help you make a choice. The names in the bracket indicate generic names of the pills.
- Alesse (Aviane, Levlite)
- Levlen (Portia, Nordette, Levora
- Mircette (Kariva)
- MonoNessa (Ortho-Cyclen)
- Ortho Cept (Apri, Solia and Desogen)
- Ovral (Cryselle, Low-Ogestrel)
- Triphasil (Enpresse, Trivora, Rilevlen)
- Zovia (Demulen)
Low dose birth control pills carry a certain amount of risk of unwanted pregnancy. Hence, it is best to use a backup contraceptive such as male condoms along with pills.