Birth Control Pill Fact Sheet

Here is some information for you regarding the birth control pill. As always if you have any questions please feel free to call Millennium Gynecology at 703-224-9999.

How to Take Birth Control

  1. Start your first pack of pills on the first Sunday after your period begins. If your period begins on Sunday start your pills that day.
  2. Use a BACKUP METHOD (foam, condoms, sponge) along with the pills for the first month.
  3. Take a pill every day until you finish a pack then start a new pack. Do not skip any days between packs.
  4. It is very important to take your pills every day at the same time. If you miss or take any pills late, you may spot or bleed and should use a back-up method until you start the next pack of pills.

If You Miss a Pill

  1. IF YOU ARE LATE with a pill by 4 hours or more, be sure to use a BACK-UP METHOD until you start the next pack of pills.
  2. IF YOU MISS ONE PILL, take it as soon as you remember it, then take today’s pill at the regular time. USE A BACK-UP METHOD until you start the next pack of pills.
  3. IF YOU MISS TWO PILLS IN A ROW, take 2 pills as soon as you remember and 2 pills the next day. EXAMPLE: If you forget pills on Monday and Tuesday, take 2 pills on Wednesday and 2 pills on Thursday to catch up. USE A BACK-UP METHOD until you start the next pack of pills.
  4. IF YOU MISS THREE PILLS IN A ROW, start using a back-up method right away. Start a new pack of pills on the next Sunday after the last pill you took. Use your back-up method until you finish the new pack of pills. If you have been sexually active before starting your new pack of pills you must wait for your next period before starting. You need to use another form of birth control for the month and for the next cycle of pills.
  5. If you get sick and have diarrhea or vomiting, within two hours of taking the pill, use a back-up method until you start your next pack of pills. Keep taking your pills.
  6. Anytime you see a doctor/nurse, be sure to mention you are on birth control pills especially if you may be admitted to a hospital.
  7. Certain medicine, such as antibiotics, may cause your pills to be less effective. Call the clinic to find out if you need to use a back-up method.

**For more information please read your pill packet insert.**

Effectiveness
Pills are nearly 100% (99.6%) effective in preventing pregnancy if they are taken correctly. However they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

Birth control pills do not protect you against STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). Use condoms every time you have sex to protect yourself from getting a sexually transmitted disease.

Benefits of the Pill

  1. Periods will be predictable, shorter, lighter and with less cramping.
  2. Improvement in acne.
  3. Suppression of ovarian cysts

Adjusting to the Pill
Some women may notice minor changes when first starting the pill. These changes are usually greatly improved or go away completely after the first 2 to 3 months. Possible changes may include:

Breast tenderness or fullness.

  1. Nausea-taking pills with food should help. Call the office if vomiting is a problem.
  2. Spotting (breakthrough bleeding) – does not mean there is something wrong with you or that the pill is too strong or weak for you.
  3. Very short and light periods. Some women will have only a drop of blood or brown smear on a pad, tampon or underwear. It is normal for some women to miss a period completely or have no bleeding . If you have taken all pills correctly and have a very light or miss a period, keep taking your pills. If you miss any pills AND miss a period, call the office. You may need a pregnancy test.
  4. Weight gain/fluid retention – usually not greater than 5 pounds. A healthy diet, less intake of salty foods and regular exercise will help.
  5. Acne – a few women may have an acne flare-up.
  6. Mood changes – usually mild and temporary.

Call the clinic if these changes are severe or do not go away after the first three-six months

Danger Signs
ABDOMINAL PAIN (severe).
CHEST PAIN (severe), shortness of breath, coughing up blood.
HEADACHE (severe), numbness of lips, tongue, arm or leg.
EYE PROBLEMS – vision loss, blurring, flashing lights
SEVERE LEG PAIN – redness, swelling of calf or thigh.

CALL THE OFFICE at 703-224-9999 OR GO TO THE NEAREST ER IF YOU DEVELOP ANY OF THE DANGER SIGNALS LISTED ABOVE.

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