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

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.

Safety: High Effectiveness: High Timeliness: Medium Relative Risk: Medium Side Effects: Medium Time For Recovery: Low Price Range:

Rs 900 - Rs 8000

Popular Health Tips

3 Surefire Ways To Prevent Ovarian Cancer!

MBBS, DNB (Surgical Oncology), MS - General Surgery
Oncologist, Delhi
3 Surefire Ways To Prevent Ovarian Cancer!

If it runs in your family, you are at risk to get it too. Yes, we are talking about cancer and the debilitating effect that cancer has, on not only the victim but also his/her immediate relatives. However, the idea that this malady is passed on to progeny unquestioningly and runs from generation to generation like a curse is but a myth.

Ovarian Cancer is one of the cancers that affect a woman’s ovaries whereby abnormal cell growth takes place in one of these places: on the tissue within the ovary, on the surface of the ovary, in egg-forming germ cells within the ovary. Studies show that 85% of the patients who had developed Ovarian Cancer had no family record of the disease. Thus it can be attested that one is not compelled to follow the footsteps of the forefathers. Bifurcation is possible and prevention can be accomplished if these guidelines can be followed.

  1. Exercise well and eat better: This is a fool-proof tip that works behind the cure of almost all severe ailments, whether it is about prevention or post-treatment care. In this case, exercise and healthy eating habits reduce the risk of developing Ovarian Cancer. Fatty fish, orange juice, milk, nuts, beans, eggs, fortified cereals, carrots, sweet potato, broccoli, leafy vegetables, flax, whole grains are some of the food products that prevent cancer. For better results, you can seek advice from a physician. Intake of food rich in Vitamin D is another measure. Regular exercise and maintaining a sound BMI are keys to staying healthy and cancer-free.
  2. Birth Control Pills: According to research conducted by the American Cancer Research Institute women who have consumed birth control pills are less likely to develop ovarian cancer so much so that the risk reduces by 30% to 50%. However, one who wishes to opt for this as a preventive measure must consult a physician beforehand.
  3. Surgery: Post-menopausal women can undergo surgeries that remove ovaries & tubes alongwith uterus. These surgeries reduce the risk of ovarian cancer by 90% in post-menstruating women and by 60% in pre-menstruating women. However, a person opting for such surgeries as preventive measures of ovarian cancer owing to a genetic disorder must consult a specialist before undergoing surgery.

These methods are not fool-proof and do not warrant the elimination of one’s possibility of developing cancer. But like they say it’s better to be safe than sorry. Therefore, maintain a healthy lifestyle and who knows, maybe you will succeed in becoming one of those who eliminate that possibility!

2940 people found this helpful

Essure - Does It Really Work? How Safe Is It?

MBBS, MS - Obstetrics and Gynaecology
Gynaecologist, Allahabad
Essure - Does It Really Work? How Safe Is It?

When it comes to the birth control, most women opt for oral contraceptive pills (mostly containing estrogen or progesterone) or the use intrauterine contraceptive device or IUD to deal with unwanted pregnancies. Most of these, however, provide only temporary freedom from pregnancy. When we talk about the permanent birth control measures, not many people (especially in India and the neighbouring countries) are aware of Essure. Essure is a female sterilization procedure which, when performed, makes a woman infertile for the lifetime. In this article, we will discuss Essure in detail, including its merits and demerits.

What is Essure?
Approved by FDA in 2002, Essure is a relatively new procedure that sterilizes a woman permanently by placing an insert in each of the fallopian tubes. The event serves as a trigger for the formation of a barrier (mainly comprising of scar tissues) around each of the flexible inserts. It is this barrier that prevents the fertilization of the eggs to take place (the sperm fails to cross the barrier to reach the egg) thereby preventing pregnancy.It takes between 2.5-3 months (approx) for the barrier to form. During this period, a woman should continue with the birth control pills and oral contraceptives to negate the chances of her getting pregnant. There is an Essure Confirmation Test performed at the end of 3 months, after which a woman can discontinue the use of the oral contraceptives and pills.

Who should avoid Essure?
In spite of its effectiveness and being minimally invasive, Essure may not be a wise option under the following circumstances.

  1. A woman who has plans of conceiving in the future.
  2. There is unusual and unexplained vaginal bleeding.
  3. A woman who is already pregnant.
  4. A woman being allergic to metals (silver-tin, titanium, platinum, stainless steel, nickel) or fibres (especially polyester).
  5. Cancer affecting the ovary, cervix, and other female reproductive organs.
  6. Women with gynaecological infections (active) or tubal damage should refrain from undergoing Essure.

Merits and demerits of Essure
Essure comes with a myriad of benefits, some of which include:

  1. Essure is a minimally invasive sterilization procedure that comes with a success rate of almost 99.3% (once there is an Essure Confirmation Test).
  2. In most cases, the entire procedure of Essure takes a maximum of 40 minutes with the patient getting back to normal life within a day or two.
  3. Unlike the various birth control pills, Essure does not involve the use of any hormones (especially the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone, which can trigger many complications and side effects including a hormonal imbalance).

Unfortunately, with merits come the demerits. Many medical practitioners are skeptical about the effectiveness and safety of Essure.

  1. Many women having undergone Essure have complained of moderate to excruciating pain (short-term or chronic).
  2. Following Essure, there have been uterine and fallopian tube perforations in some women, though the percentage of such women is really low.
2692 people found this helpful

Different Types Of Oral Contraceptive Pills - How To Choose The Right One?

Diploma In Advanced Gynaecological Endoscopic Surgery, ATSM (Urogynaecology), MRCOG, DRCOG, DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Noida
Different Types Of Oral Contraceptive Pills - How To Choose The Right One?

Birth control pills are an icon of feminism. These little pills have given today's woman the power over their reproductive cycles and enables them to plan families in a better way. However, given the many different types of birth control pills available, it can get a little confusing to determin, which one is the best suited to you. Hence, it is essential to understand the difference between birth control pills.

Birth control pills can be categorised as progestin-only pills and pills that are a combination of progestin and oestrogen.

  1. Progestin-only pills or mini-pills: These pills do not stop ovulation but thicken the cervical mucus and thus prevents the sperm from entering the uterus. Mini-pills are beneficial for women who are sensitive to oestrogen and those wo are at a higher risk of suffering from cardiovascular diseases, thromboembolism, etc. Also, these pills do not have side effects such as nausea or headaches as associated with combination pills. A key factor that determines the efficacy of mini pills is that they must be taken at the same time every day. Delaying or skipping even one pill can affect the pill’s effectiveness.
  2. Combination pills: This is the more common form of birth control pills. The oestrogen in combination pills prevents ovulation and the progestin in these pills thicken cervical mucus to prevent a pregnancy. In addition, these hormones also thin the lining of the uterus or endometrium. Depending on how the pills change a woman’s hormone levels in the first three weeks of the menstrual cycle, combination pills can be categorised as monophasic, biphasic and triphasic.
  3. Monophasic pills: These pills maintain a uniform hormone level through the menstrual cycle and hence are least likely to have side effects such as mood swings, etc.
  4. Biphasic pills: These pills cause a change in the progestin levels midway during the menstrual cycle. Hence, the dosage of progestin in increased at this time.
  5. Triphasic pills: These pills cause a fluctuation in progestin levels every week and hence there are three different potencies of progestin hormones that are needed.
  6. Emergency Contraceptive pills: In addition to regular birth control pills, taking an emergency contraceptive pill within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse can also prevent pregnancy. However, this should not be taken regularly. These pills work by preventing the release of an egg or by preventing the sperm cells from fertilising the egg. They may also keep a fertilised egg from being implanted in the uterus. In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!
3551 people found this helpful

Contraceptive Methods - 4 Common Side Effects You Must Be Aware Of!

Diploma In Endoscopic Surgery, DGO, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Contraceptive Methods - 4 Common Side Effects You Must Be Aware Of!

Anti-contraception medication pills and patches, when utilised accurately, are extremely useful in averting pregnancy. They are all right for most healthy women and can even be utilised to treat a couple of medical issues. In any case, as with all medications, there are have some potential undesirable reactions and dangers.

The side effects include:

  1. Reproductive System: When utilising hormonal contraceptives, a few women encounter lighter and shorter periods along with menstrual cramps and premenstrual symptoms. Utilisation of hormone-based contraceptives decreases the danger of endometrial and ovarian cancer. The longer a woman takes contraceptive measures, the more increased these symptoms get to be. These treatments may likewise lead to cancerous breast or ovarian growths.
  2. Cardiovascular and Central Nervous Systems: For a few ladies, conception prevention pills and patches can build circulatory strain. Those additional hormones can likewise make it somewhat more likely that you will face blood clots. That risk is significantly higher in case you are a smoker or are over the age of thirty-five. The danger of blood clots is likewise increased in case that you have hypertension, previous coronary diseases or diabetes. Oestrogen may cause headaches. A few women encounter emotional changes when taking these contraceptives.
  3. Digestive system: A few women encounter changes in their desires and weight while taking hormonal contraception. Opposite reactions include nausea and bloating. There is an expanded danger of liver cancer In case that you have a past filled with gallstones, these contraceptives may lead to the speedier growth of those stones. See your doctor in case that you have serious pain or yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice).
  4. Integumentary System (Skin, Hair, Nails): For some women, this technique for contraception can enhance skin breakout or acne. Others may encounter skin inflammation or notice no change by any means. It might cause pigmentation of the skin. Once in a while, these hormones cause abnormal hair growth. Nonetheless, oral contraceptives are likewise, the main cause behind hirsutism, a condition that causes coarse, dull hair to develop on the face, back, and stomach.

When you quit taking hormone-based anti-conception medications or patches, your menstrual period will probably be misbalanced. However, a portion of the cancer avoidance benefits gathered from years of medicine use may continue over the long term. These symptoms are unexpected in most women yet are intense when they do occur. That is the reason hormonal contraception techniques require a medicine and routine checking. There is an increased danger of heart attacks and strokes, especially in smokers and women over the age of thirty-five.

Look for a doctor in case you feel abdominal pain, cough up blood, or feel swoon. A serious migraine or trouble talking could also be serious indications of a stroke.Side effects of different contraceptive methods.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3565 people found this helpful

Uterine Fibroids - Surgical & Non Surgical Treatment!

MBBS, DGO, DNB (Obstetrics and Gynecology), FMAS, FAM
Gynaecologist, Delhi
Uterine Fibroids - Surgical & Non Surgical Treatment!

Uterine fibroids, also known as leiomyomata, are non-cancerous growths which develop in and around the uterus or the womb and form benign tumors in course of time. Though there are several types of uterine fibroids, they are all consistently similar in their genetic makeup. They are generally classified depending on their specific locations:

  • Myometrial or intramural fibroids
  • Submucosal fibroids
  • Subserosal fibroids
  • Pedunculated fibroids

Signs and symptoms

In most cases, uterine fibroids display little or no symptoms at all. Therefore many women are caught unawares and do not realize whether they have leiomyomata or not. When symptoms do show, however, they may include any one of the following:

1. Prolonged menstrual periods, usually for seven days or even longer
2. Bloating belly or pelvis
3. Intensive bleeding during periods
4. Pain during sexual intercourse
5. Constipation


Since uterine fibroids do not cause any significant complications, they normally do not require much treatment. The condition, however, can be treated through either one of the following approaches:

1. Non-surgical approach

(1) Alert and careful inspection as well as watchful anticipation of the growth and development of uterine fibroids
(2) Birth control pills or oral contraceptives which help reduce heavy periods caused by uterine fibroids
(3) Pain relievers to help numb the pain
(4) Intrauterine device along with levonorgestrel to help reduce heavy periods
(5) Iron tablets are helpful in substituting the blood loss caused by heavy menstruation

2.Surgical approach

i) Myomectomy

ii) Hysterectomy

These two procedures can be performed using several techniques like:

  • Laparoscopy
  • Open abdominal surgery
  • Robot-assisted laparoscopy
  • Vaginal approach
  • Hysteroscope approach

iii) Uterine artery embolization (UAE)

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!

3996 people found this helpful

Popular Questions & Answers

I had a sexual activity on 1st Jan without any insertion of penis. For the safer side I took i-pill within 27 hours. Today after 14 days of taking i-pill. I had abdominal cramps but no period. What should I do?

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

Hi, I was on Norethisterone tab, after some hours I had unsafe sex, then I took I pill to prevent pregnancy, do I pill will do its work and will prevent pregnancy?

BASM, MD, MS (Counseling & Psychotherapy), MSc - Psychology, Certificate in Clinical psychology of children and Young People, Certificate in Psychological First Aid, Certificate in Positive Psychology, Positive Psychiatry and Mental Health
Psychologist, Palakkad
Dear user. TO CAUSE PREGNANCY on a woman, sperm should be ejaculated inside the vagina or fresh sperm should be inseminated inside the vagina with some means during the fertility period of the woman. There are many determinants of pregnancy. You should be sexually matured. Your partner should be sexually matured. The period of your partner should be in the fertile stage. Her egg and your sperm cells should be healthy enough. Then her uterus should be capable to get conceived. If all these were satisfied, the pregnancy could be a result. Semen do not pass through clothes to make pregnancy. Sex during periods does not cause pregnancy. Usually precum do not contain any sperm cells. Period means disintegration of the uterus membrane which is meant to be for the child. Swallowing male sperm cannot cause pregnancy. If you have taken unwanted 72 within 72 hours of intercourse, the chances of pregnancy is low. In the given case, there are less chances of pregnancy. Talk to a gynecologist for advice. Take care.

I am 28 years old. I had an abortion. After that my doc suggested me to take Novelon for 21 days just to prevent pregnancy. My doctor said I do not need to take the medicine if I'm not planning for intercourse. My question is, If I use protection during intercourse, do I need to take the medicine?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, DGO, DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology
Gynaecologist, Gurgaon
Hello dear, purpose of protection is mainly to protect from infection and failure rate of it is 40 -50 % where as pills are the most effective method to avoid pregnancy ,failure rate os less than 1 % so pills are better than protection take care.

Table of Content

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?
Play video
Contraception refers to something, which works to prevent a pregnancy from occurring. But what is emergency contraception? This sort of contraception is made use of in case other methods of birth control do not work or a woman has had unprotected sex.
Play video
Emergency Contraception
Emergency contraception can prevent pregnancy after unprotected love making or if the contraception you have used has failed. Tell a GP, nurse or pharmacist what medicines you're taking, and they can advise you if they're safe to take with the emergency contraceptive pill.
Play video
Oral Contraceptive Or Birth Control Pills
Oral contraceptives are hormonal preparations that may contain combinations of the hormones estrogen and progestin or progestin alone. The most common side effects of the birth control pills include nausea, headache, breast tenderness, weight gain, irregular bleeding, and mood changes.
Play video
Contraception After Giving Birth
When Can You Use Contraception After Having A Baby?
Play video
Hello, I am Dr Anuradha from Amar Colony Market. Today, I am telling you about the methods of contraception. The ideal contraception is one which is hundred percent effective, convenient to take, which has no side effects, and is reversible whenever you want to conceive.

There are methods that are based on information or are based on the temperature changes during the cycle, changes in quantity and quality of cervical mucus, and withdrawal of penis before ejaculation. Then is the Barrier Methods that includes both male and female condoms, but these male and female condoms have to be worn and removed again and again which is not hundred percent effective as it may get torn or the semen may come out of the condom. The female condom known as the Femidom prevents against other infections also and can be kept on for twenty-four hours. It has to be put in approximately three to four hours before contact. There are other methods like Hormonal methods which are most commonly used, that includes the Pills. These pills come in a pack of twenty-one days. You have to take these tablets regularly, without fail. They should not be skipped. It has to be taken at a particular time of the day and if you forget the pill you are at risk for the next one week so it should not be forgotten.

The main drawback of these tablets is the convenience of taking these tablets. These oral contraceptives help in other things also.

First, it prevents the Pregnancy.
Second, it helps if you are prone to ovarian cysts, regulates periods if you have irregular periods before, and cramping during periods.
Third, it decreases acne. It also decreases the chances of ovarian and uterine cancer.
But as a side effect, it may cause nausea, weight changes, moody behaviour. However, these changes are only for only two to three months and once the body had adjusted, these side effects decrease. These are also reversible; when you stop the tablets, there are high chances that you will get fertile within six months of stopping these tablets.

Next are the Emergency pills which people do take very regularly nowadays but it is not at all advisable by a doctor that you take it frequently. These methods, for example, I-pills, are commonly available which you can take within seventy-two hours after unprotected sex or if the condom failed, the condom has torn, or you have forgotten your pill. It should only be taken in these cases after consulting the doctor. Next are the injections available in the market. It causes irregular menses or you may miss your periods for two three months which is another point of concern and it causes tension. These are again not advisable.

Best are the Oral Contraceptive Pills. In case you have delivered normally or through cesarean then the best method is the multi load insertion copper Ts that are available. These are called the Intra-Uterine Devices. It is inserted once during your period dates, maybe within five days of your periods. It can be kept for five to eight years, as per your choice and you can remove it whenever you want. Side effects could be that you get cramps and irregular bleeding for a few months. It then gets adjusted to the body and there is no harm.

This much for today and if you want to know more about this or you want to have any contraception or any details you want to know then you can contact me through lybrate.
Having issues? Consult a doctor for medical advice