Birth control pills are oral medications to prevent pregnancy.
They are an effective and convenient method of birth control, but they also offer other surprising benefits. In this article, find out more about the different types of contraceptive pill and their health benefits for women.
What are the different types of birth control pills?
There are two main types of birth control pills: the mini pill and the combined pill. The latter is the most common type taken by younger women.
Combination pills come in many forms but all contain the synthetic form of progestin and estrogen hormones and are available from pharmacies without a prescription. The main types of combined pill are:
- Multi-phasic pills: this is used in a 1-month cycle and provides different hormone levels. The last week of the cycle is the inactive phase when you have your period.
- Mono-phasic: these pills are also used in 1-month cycles similarly to the previous one but with a different hormone dose.
- Progesterone-only: these pills don’t contain any estrogen and are usually recommended for older women. Those who can’t take estrogen for health reasons can also take this pill.
- Extended cycle: these pills are taken during 13-week cycles, with the 13th week being the inactive pill when you have your period. This means you will only have your period up to 4 times per year.
What are the health benefits of contraceptive pills?
The benefits of a birth control pill extend beyond pregnancy prevention. Most women take oral contraceptives at some time in their lives in order to prevent pregnancy. However, other female-related problems can also be treated using contraception pills. These include:
Regulate menstrual periods
If you are experiencing irregular or unpredictable periods, a contraceptive pill can help regulate your menstrual cycle. If your period is late for longer than 35 days, it could be because of the lack of progesterone in your body. The excess growth of the lining in the uterine can also cause heavy bleeding during your period as well as increase the risk of cancer or abnormal growth in the uterine lining.
Reduce the risk of ovarian cysts
Another common reason for experiencing irregular periods is PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). The function of progesterone pills is to help regulate the production of the uterus lining, thus preventing cyst formation.
Another cause of painful periods is endometriosis. This condition is the result of the growing tissue lining outside the uterus. Any birth control pill containing the progesterone hormone will help limit or even decrease the growth of the uterine lining. Many women who take this pill have said to experience less pain around their pelvic area, which is associated with endometriosis.
Ease the symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
Birth control pills are known to make an improvement in the symptoms of PMS. Doctors believe that birth control pills prevent PMS symptoms by preventing ovulation from taking place.
Women with heavy bleeding during their menstruation tend to suffer from lower red blood cells. Over time, this can lead to anemia. In order to increase their iron levels, hormonal birth control pills lighten the periods so the woman doesn’t experience excessive blood loss. Studies have shown that by taking the pill continually, not only do women increase their iron levels, but also find relief from the symptoms of anemia.
Clear up acne
If you are experiencing regular bouts of hormonal acne, and you have tried every conventional acne treatment without results, you should consider going on the pill to correct your hormonal imbalance. Many doctors prescribe birth control pills to treat stubborn acne on the lower face, chest, back, and jawline. Before deciding on taking the pill, discuss with your doctor whether you’re a good candidate for hormonal treatment. You should only consider taking the pill if all other treatments, such as antibiotics, have been ineffective.