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Birth Control Pills: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

What is the treatment? How is the treatment done? Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?) Who is not eligible for the treatment? Are there any side effects? What are the post-treatment guidelines? How long does it take to recover? What is the price of the treatment in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? What are the alternatives to the treatment?

What is the treatment?

Birth control pills are basically a type of hormonal contraception that prevents sexually active females from getting pregnant. They are an effective way to control pregnancy and they are generally taken by mouth. Birth control pills are generally prescribed by a doctor after a consideration of various factors like menstrual symptoms, cardiovascular health, whether a woman is breastfeeding, whether a person is suffering from any chronic condition or if the person is on any other medication.

There are different types of birth control pills. Combination pills contain synthetic forms of estrogen and progestin and most of such pills are active in each cycle. The different types of combination pills are monophasic pills, multiphasic pills and extended-cycle pills. Monophasic pills contain the same dose of hormones and are used in one-month cycles. Multiphasic pills also are used in monthly cycles but they provide different levels of hormones. A person on either of these pills has to take inactive pills during the last week and have her periods. Extended cycle pills cause a person to have period only 3-4 times a year as they are generally used in 3-week cycles.

Another type of birth control pill is known as the mini-pill or progestin-only pill. This medication is generally used by women who cannot take estrogen for some reason. All cycles are active when this pill is used. Do to the paucity of inactive pills, a woman even may not experience periods when she is on this medication.

How is the treatment done?

Pregnancy in women occurs when a man’s sperm fertilizes an egg released from the ovary of the woman. This fertilized egg develops into a baby after it gets nourished in the woman’s uterus. The entire process of releasing the egg from the ovary and preparing the body to accept the fertilized egg is regulated by hormones. The man-made estrogen and progestin hormones present in birth-control pills work together to inhibit the body’s natural cyclical hormones and thus, help to prevent pregnancy. There are a number of ways by which pregnancy is avoided. Birth control pills may cause a woman’s body to stop ovulating or they may also help to change the cervical mucus so as to make it difficult for the sperm cell to go through the cervix and impregnate an egg. Birth control pills may also change the lining of the womb and make it difficult for the fertilized egg to get implanted and hence, prevent pregnancy.

Another type of birth control pill is the extended-cycle pill. They contain the same hormones as other birth control pills but the hormones are taken over a longer period of time. This pill is generally taken continuously for a period of 12 weeks and this drastically reduces the number of periods that a woman normally experiences in a year. A person is generally supposed to take one week of inactive pills after the 12-week cycle.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

Birth control pills are a highly effective way of avoiding getting pregnant. Women who are sexually active but do not want to get pregnant are eligible to use birth control pills. As they pills help to regulate the menstrual cycle, this pill is helpful for women suffering from heavy or irregular periods. Progestin-only pills are good for women who are intolerant to estrogen, smoke, older than 35 years, have to breastfeed or have a history of blood clots.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

As the effects of birth control pills are fully reversible, women who want to permanently avoid pregnancy are not eligible to use these pills. Progestin-only pills may not work so well in a woman who does not have a known intolerance to estrogen therapy. Similarly, women who have to breast-feed, are older than 35 years or who cannot handle estrogen therapy are not eligible to use combination pills.

Are there any side effects?

The side-effects of birth control pills include weight gain, sore or swollen breasts, nausea, lighter periods, small amounts of blood in between periods and mood changes. The majority of these symptoms are not so serious. Some of the less common but more serious side effects include abdominal pain, headaches, eye problems, chest pain and swelling or aching in the legs and thighs.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

There are no such post-treatment guidelines. A woman has to adhere to the cycle of the birth control pill that she is using. Combination pills can follow a 21-day, a 24-day or 28-da cycle while extended pills follow a 91-day cycle. A woman has to take one pill everyday to avoid getting pregnant. A woman can get pregnant after she stops taking such pills.

How long does it take to recover?

A woman may get pregnant even if she misses one pill that she is supposed to take. The results of birth-control pills are fully reversible and women can get pregnant when they discontinue the medication. Thus there is no recovery period for consuming birth-control pills.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

Azurette is a combination pill that aids in birth control. It costs around Rs 1400 to get such pills for one cycle. Ovora oral tablets generally cost more than Rs 8000. Ocella is another combination drug that can be purchased for Rs 3800. Progestin-only pills are available between Rs 900 and Rs 3200.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

Birth control pills prevent a woman from getting pregnant when they are consumed regularly. However, its effects are fully reversible and a woman can get pregnant by discontinuing the consumption of such pills. Hence, the results are not permanent.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

A woman who does not wish to get pregnant can opt for alternative treatment in the form of birth control patch, birth control implant, birth control shot, vaginal ring, sponge or cervical cap. A woman can also use a female condom, diaphragm or an intra-uterine device. Surgical methods like tubal litigation and vasectomy are also highly effective in birth control.

Popular Questions & Answers

Hi Dr. Mae kal without precautions physically intimate hui thi. Hone se pehele subha ocp tab loette khayi thi. Uske baad koi pill nhi liye. 2 tab avi baki hai. Last period hui thi23rd may ko. Agar ye 2 tab dose miss hue tho kya pregnent hone k chance hai.

Mbbs, DM - Gyne & Obs
Gynaecologist, Hyderabad
Hi. Ocps kabh se shuru kare aapne and beech mein kabh chode tablet lena. Can you please tell me your dates? Usually we advice everyone who's on ocps for contraception to not miss a single tablet in that 21 day course, yes it true that if you miss ...

I have been prescribed novex daily twice until the bleeding stops. After I took my first tab, my bleeding increased. What to do?

M.B.B.S, Post Graduate Diploma In Maternal & Child Health
Gynaecologist, Bokaro
Novex is not apt for cessation of bleeding. What is the cause of bleeding? For more details please contact online. There are very good medicines available so please do not worry.

I had unprotected sex on 1st and 1 took I pill on first itself. My due date for periods was 2nd june (tentative according to app). On 5th I did uti it was negative and starting taking meprate 10 mg for course of 5 days. On 12 th june I had few drops of bleeding. Should I consult a doctor and what does few drops bleeding signifies.

MBBS, M.S Obstetrics & Gynaecology, F.MAS FELLOWSHIP IN MINIMAL ACCESS SURGERY, D. MAS Dipolma in MINIMAL ACCESS SURGERY, FICRS, Fellowship in COSMETIC GYNAECOLOGY, Diploma in advanced Laparoscopy for Urogynaecology & Gynaec oncology, Basic training course in minimal invasive surgery in Gynaecology, Basics of Colposcopy, Fellowship in Cosmetic Gynaecology, Certificate course in diagnostic ultrasound imaging, Certificate of hands on training in hysteroscopy, Certificate course in diabetes, Fellowship in assisted reproductive technology, Certificate program in aesthetic Medicine, Certificate of operative Hysteroscopy, Certificate course in clinical embryology
Gynaecologist, Chennai
Yes. Urine pregnancy test.

I had unprotected sex on 1st and 1 took I pill on first itself. My due date for periods was 2nd june (tentative according to app). On 5th I did uti it was negative and starting taking meprate 10 mg for course of 5 days. On 12 th june I had few drops of bleeding and then it stopped. Should I consult doctor and what does it signifies.

MBBS, M.S Obstetrics & Gynaecology, F.MAS FELLOWSHIP IN MINIMAL ACCESS SURGERY, D. MAS Dipolma in MINIMAL ACCESS SURGERY, FICRS, Fellowship in COSMETIC GYNAECOLOGY, Diploma in advanced Laparoscopy for Urogynaecology & Gynaec oncology, Basic training course in minimal invasive surgery in Gynaecology, Basics of Colposcopy, Fellowship in Cosmetic Gynaecology, Certificate course in diagnostic ultrasound imaging, Certificate of hands on training in hysteroscopy, Certificate course in diabetes, Fellowship in assisted reproductive technology, Certificate program in aesthetic Medicine, Certificate of operative Hysteroscopy, Certificate course in clinical embryology
Gynaecologist, Chennai
It is a sign of upcoming period.

Lmp -25th may contact with precum -10th june took I pill on 10th june within 10 hrs cycle length-29 to 31 days what is chances of pregnancy? When upt should be done?

MD - Obstetrtics & Gynaecology, FCPS, DGO, Diploma of the Faculty of Family Planning (DFFP)
Gynaecologist, Mumbai
Chances from your description almost- nil, after taking the high hormonal emergency pill like I pill one gets withdrawal bleeding 5 to 10 days later, and then a new cycle starts. If this does not happen as well as period is missed then to do pregn...

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