Do Low Doses Of Birth Control Prevent Pregnancy

When Should Emergency Contraception Be Used

Should I take a low dose birth control pill during perimenopause?

Emergency contraception should be used after unprotected sex, or when another birth control method, like condoms, failed or were used incorrectly. Its generally advised to take a morning after pill as soon as you can after sex. You can take a levonorgestrel up to five days after unprotected sex, however the longer you wait, the less effective it becomes.

Although levonorgestrel morning after pills are the most common in America, if youre over 155 pounds, you may be advised to try another option like ella . This is a prescription only option however, and may make your hormonal birth control ineffective. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a copper IUD, which can then also be used going forward as an effective birth control method.

Getting Contraception During Coronavirus

If you need contraception, call your GP surgery or a sexual health clinic as soon as possible. Only go in person if you’re told to.

It can take longer to get contraception at the moment and some types are not widely available.

You may only be able to get the combined pill if you’ve had your blood pressure and weight checked in the last 12 months.

If you cannot get the combined pill, you may be advised to use the progestogen-only pill or condoms for now.

Disadvantages And Side Effects Of The Combination Pill

While many women find success with the combined pill, there are a few disadvantages and side effects to be aware of, including:

  • Nausea
  • Weight gain
  • Health risks for smokers – smoking while taking the pill increases the risk of blood clots, strokes and heart attacks
  • Potential increased risk of breast and cervical cancer

You May Like: Can I Use Vagisil Wipes While Pregnant

How Effective Is The Pill

The pill has the potential to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if you take it without fail meaning you dont forget to take the pill for even a day or two. However, taking the pill perfectly can be difficult, which is why nine out of 100 women who use the pill will have an unintended pregnancy every year. The pill is most reliable when you take it consistently at the same time each day. Being consistent helps keep hormone levels from fluctuating.

The Combined Pill With Other Medicines

What is Low Dose Birth Control? (with pictures)

Some medicines interact with the combined pill and it does not work properly. Some interactions are listed on this page, but it is not a complete list. If you want to check your medicines are safe to take with the combined pill, you can:

  • ask a GP, practice nurse or pharmacist
  • read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medicine


The antibiotics rifampicin and rifabutin can reduce the effectiveness of the combined pill. Other antibiotics do not have this effect.

If you are prescribed rifampicin or rifabutin, you may be advised to change to an alternative contraceptive. If not, you will need to use additional contraception while taking the antibiotic and for a short time after. Speak to a doctor or nurse for advice.

Epilepsy and HIV medicines, and St John’s wort

The combined pill can interact with medicines called enzyme inducers. These speed up the breakdown of hormones by your liver, reducing the effectiveness of the pill.

Examples of enzyme inducers are:

  • the epilepsy drugs carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine, phenytoin, phenobarbital, primidone and topiramate
  • St John’s wort
  • antiretroviral medicines used to treat HIV

A GP or nurse may advise you to use an alternative or additional form of contraception while taking any of these medicines.

Recommended Reading: Is Kinesio Tape Safe For Pregnancy

Will I Get Periods On Low Dose Birth Control

You will have regular bleeding with low dose birth control pills. You dont technically menstruate, as menstruation is part of the monthly cycle, which is something thats stopped by the birth control pill hormones remember, you dont ovulate! However, you will have bleeding similar to a regular menstruation.

Most low dose birth control contain 21 active pills and seven inactive or placebo pills in a packet. Those inactive pills do not include hormones, and generally result in something called breakthrough bleeding.

Some low dose birth control may have more active pills or be active pills only. These are known as continuous birth control pills and are designed to skip bleeding altogether.

At A Glance: The Combined Pill

  • When taken correctly, the pill is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This means that fewer than 1 in 100 who use the combined pill as contraception will get pregnant in 1 year.
  • The standard way to take the pill is to take 1 every day for 21 days, then have a break for 7 days, and during this week you have a bleed like a period. You start taking the pill again after 7 days.
  • You may be able to take some types of pill with no or shorter breaks , which may reduce some side effects. Speak to a doctor or nurse about your options.
  • You need to take the pill at around the same time every day. You could get pregnant if you do not do this, or if you miss a pill, or vomit or have severe diarrhoea.
  • Some medicines may make the pill less effective. Check with your doctor if you’re taking any other tablets.
  • If you have heavy periods or painful periods, PMS or endometriosis the combined pill may help.
  • Minor side effects include mood swings, nausea, breast tenderness and headaches these usually settle down in a few months.
  • There is no evidence that the pill will make you gain weight.
  • There’s a very low risk of serious side effects, such as blood clots and cervical cancer.
  • The combined pill is not suitable if you are over 35 and smoke, or if you have certain medical conditions.
  • The pill does not protect against sexually transmitted infections , so use a condom as well.
  • There may be a link between the pill and depression but evidence is mixed and further research is needed.

Read Also: Risks Of Donating Plasma While Pregnant

Birth Control Pills Today

There are now more than 200 brands and varieties of progestin/estrogen birth control pills on the market. All of them from Alesse to Zovia sometimes prevent implantation of the developing human being. The low-dose pills work in essentially the same manner as the old high-dose pill. However, a much higher percentage of ovulation occurs in women who use the low-dose pills due to their lower estrogen dose. This means that all of the newer oral contraceptive pills act as abortifacients at least part of the time.5

Women who use these pills thus frequently conceive. In order to prevent the continuation of pregnancies in these cases, the low-dose pills also prevent implantation, thereby acting as back-up abortifacients. Several studies have shown that women on the low-dose birth control pills experience an early silent abortion during a wide range of 2% to 65% of their cycles, depending upon the pill formulation used.6

The mechanisms of action of mini-pills are similar to that of the standard progestin/estrogen birth control pills.7 These progestin-only pills interfere with implantation by affecting the endometrium, thickening the cervical mucus, and suppressing ovulation in some women by reducing the presence of follicle-stimulating hormone .

If You’re Under 16 Years Old

Innovations in Contraception: Understanding Your Birth Control Options

Contraception services are free and confidential, including for people under the age of 16.

If you’re under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist will not tell your parents as long as they believe you fully understand the information you’re given and your decisions.

Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They’ll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they will not make you.

The only time that a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you’re at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.

Also Check: Can You Get Braces While Pregnant

Using Birth Control To Treat Pcos

Hormonal contraceptives are commonly used in the treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome . While their birth control effect is helpful if you do not wish to become pregnant, these medications can also help correct out-of-balance hormone levels that contribute to PCOS symptoms such as acne and unwanted hair growth.

However, finding the one that works best for you can be challenging. There may also be reasons why you are able to take one medication but not anotheror none at all.

This article explains how birth control can help relieve symptoms of PCOS and why combined hormonal contraceptives that contain estrogen and progestin are often the go-to choice.

If You Missed 2 Or 3 Pills

If you missed more than one pill, or if its been more than 48 hours since you last took one, thats another story.

Youll definitely want to use an extra form of contraception as backup or avoid penis-in-vagina sex until youve taken hormonal pills for 7 consecutive days.

How you proceed after missing two or more pills in a row depends on where you are in your cycle.

If it happens during week 1 or 2:

  • Take the most recent pill you missed ASAP.
  • Throw away any other missed pills.
  • Keep taking the remaining pills in your pack as you normally would, even if it means taking two pills in 1 day.

If it happens during week 3:

  • Take the most recent pill you missed ASAP.
  • Throw away any other missed pills.
  • Finish the rest of the hormonal pills in your current pack then, skip the entire week of your hormone-free reminder pills and instead start a brand-new pack as soon as possible

Occasionally forgetting to take a birth control pill is one thing, but if it happens frequently, consider talking with a healthcare professional about other birth control methods that dont require as much consistency.

The following birth control methods can be used from once per week up to every few years:

Don’t Miss: Kinesio Tape For Pregnancy Round Ligament Pain

How Does The Combined Pill Work

The typical combined pill comes in a pack of 28 pills or 21 pills. If you have 21-day packs, you donât take any pills for 7 days at the end of the pack during your period week.

The combined pill is taken orally once per day at the same time everyday. It works by stopping ovulation from happening during a monthly cycle, thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the womb and thinning the uterine lining to make it difficult for eggs to implant into the uterine wall.

Nexplanon: How The Birth Control Arm Implant Works


For birth control options with higher efficacy rates, consider low dose birth control. You can try combination pills or progestin-only options, and there are many different brands and dosages of each to choose from. Low dose birth control comes with fewer risks than the original birth control pills, but with the same family planning benefits.

Also Check: Can Pregnant Women Use Vagisil

Effectiveness Of Emergency Contraception

The effectiveness of the morning after pill varies depending on how quickly you take it after having unprotected sex. For example, if you take Plan B One-Step within 24 hours, it is about 95% effective, however if taken within three days of unprotected sex, the morning after pill can reduce the chance of pregnancy by 75-89%

How Does Birth Control Impact Ovulation And Conception

For many uterus owners using birth control, the end goal is the same: to prevent conception and pregnancy. But just because the final destination is the same doesnt mean that all reversible birth control methods take the same path to get there.

Over the last 60-ish years, scientists have harnessed our knowledge of the different steps necessary to establish a pregnancy to create powerful, effective methods of birth control not all of which work in exactly the same way.

In this post, well go over the similarities and differences in how different popular birth control methods work to prevent pregnancy. We will also specifically explain how birth control impacts whether or not you ovulate.

Don’t Miss: Can You Donate Plasma When Pregnant

Effectiveness And Brand Names

According to the CDC, oral contraceptives are between 93-96% effective when taken correctly.

This includes low dose birth control pills, which are now widely available.

Some common brands of low-dose combination birth control pills include:

  • Aviane
  • Levlen 21
  • Levora
  • Lo Loestrin Fe
  • Lo/Ovral
  • Ortho-Novum
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz

Common brands of the minipill, or progestin-only pill, are:

  • Camila
  • Nor-QD

Is Low Dose Birth Control And The Mini

Why one is not able to conceive after stopping birth control pills? – Dr. Teena S Thomas

Short answer: no. The mini pill is another form of oral contraceptive. Unlike low dose combination pills, mini-pills contain progestin only. There is no estrogen in them.

The primary way progestin only pills work is by thickening cervical mucus and thinning the uterine wall. Occasionally they prevent ovulation, according to the Mayo Clinic, but thats generally attributed to the estrogen in combination pills.

Recommended Reading: Does Donating Plasma Affect Fertility

What Are The Benefits Of Lolo

Lolo / lo lo birth control is effective in preventing pregnancy when taken as directed. In addition to preventing pregnancy, Lolo has other added benefits which make it a great option.

Lolo or Lo Loestrin Fe is a low dosage birth control method that is effective at preventing pregnancy. The better a woman adheres to the directions of the pill, the less of a chance it is to get pregnant.

Doctors often prescribe birth control pills to people with heavy or painful periods. Since Lolo has only two inactive pills, users can expect to have a shorter, lighter menstrual period. This is a significant benefit for those with challenging menstrual periods, as it can provide some much-needed relief.

Lolo has the lowest possible amount of estrogen while maintaining its efficacy. The lower dose of estrogen helps reduce side effects that are often associated with taking birth control pills. As a bonus, Lolo may be beneficial to those suffering from acne.

Lolo birth control for acneBirth control pills contain synthetic hormones that prevent the sperm from fertilizing an egg. The combination birth control pills, containing progestin and estrogen are sometimes used as an effective method against acne.

How Does The Birth Control Pill Work

Before one can fully appreciate what makes low-dose contraceptives different than other forms of birth control, its crucial to understand how the birth control pill works.The female reproductive system operates under a cycle of rising and falling estrogen, progesterone, and androgen hormones. At the beginning of the cycle, hormones steadily increase until the ovary is prompted to release an egg. Once this happens, hormones influence the uterus to grow an endometrial lining in preparation for a fertilized egg. If an egg is not fertilized within about 10 to 14 days after ovulation, the endometrium sheds, resulting in a menstrual period.

The pill disrupts the rising and falling of reproductive hormones by a steady dose of synthetic estrogen and progesterone. The endometrium is not signaled to grow to prepare a fertilized egg, and when women who take the pill have a menstrual period, its not really a period because ovulation did not occur. Monthly bleeding on the pill is referred to as withdrawal bleeding.

Naturally occurring estrogen in the female reproductive cycle is produced in the ovaries. Estrogen helps the uterus grow the lining that is responsible for the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Read Also: Pregnancy Side Effects Week By Week

How Birth Control Works

Birth control pills are comprised of two artificial hormones that are able to hinder ovulation progesterone and estrogen, according to The natural cycle of ovulation begins at the start of every menstrual cycle. First, estrogen levels increase for about 14 days and cause the walls of the uterus to thicken in order to be able to maintain the egg when it arrives. When estrogen levels reach its climax, the egg is released and sent to the uterus. The levels of the hormone progesterone rises, also thickening the lining of the uterus in preparation for when it becomes implanted. Essentially, birth control is able to maintain the hormones at a certain level in order to trick the body into not releasing a healthy egg to be fertilized. The consistent thick walls of the uterus prevent sperm from reaching the egg, as well.

Some Side Effects Can Be Serious The Following Symptoms Are Uncommon But If You Experience Any Of Them Call Your Doctor Immediately:

Genes may be why some women on birth control still get pregnant, study ...
  • menstrual bleeding that is unusually heavy or that lasts a long time
  • lack of menstrual periods
  • severe stomach pain

Combined estrogen and progestin oral contraceptives may increase the risk of getting breast cancer, endometrial cancer, and liver tumors. It is not known whether progestin-only oral contraceptives also increase the risks of these conditions. Talk to your doctor about the risks of taking this medication.

Progestin-only oral contraceptives may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online or by phone .

Recommended Reading: Can Donating Plasma Hurt An Unborn Baby

The Birth Control Pill Has Serious Side Effects

The Searle Pharmaceutical Corporation developed Enovid, the first birth control pill, in the late 1950s.

Enovid and other high-dose pills have generally fallen out of favor in the United States. However, they are still used in some developing countries. They contain from 1 to 12 milligrams of progestin and/or 60 to 120 micrograms of estrogen, a natural female hormone. This high dosage had a variety of side effects, including blurred vision, nausea, weight gain, breast pain, cramping, irregular menstrual bleeding, headaches, and possibly breast cancer.

Beginning in about 1975, pill makers, reacting to extensive publicity about the severe side effects of the high-dosage pills, steadily decreased the content of estrogen and progestin in their products. However, the patient information pamphlets for the various brands of birth control continue to feature a long list of very serious side effects, including venous thromboembolism , stroke, hyperkalemia , carcinomas of the breasts and reproductive organs, liver disease, high blood pressure and gallbladder disease. They also list a host of less dangerous side effects, to include headaches and nausea, weight gain, back pain, bleeding irregularities, depression and breast tenderness, most of which have an incidence of between 8% and 33%.9

Related Posts

Recent Stories