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Birth Control Methods Reviewed
The lowdown on birth control 1 of 9 | Speed
The Combination Pill ('The Pill', 'Combo Pill')
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The Combination Pill ('The Pill', 'Combo Pill')
Brands: Seasonale, Librel, Levlen, Alesse, Aviane 28, Levlite, Loestrin 1/20, Mircette, Brevicon, Demulen 1/35, Desogen, , Lo/Ovral, Modicon, Nordette, Levora, Loestrin, Low-Ogestrel, Necon 1/35, Norinyl 1/35, Ortho-Cept, Ortho-Cyclen, Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen Lo, Ovcon 35, Yasmin, ZoviaJenest-28, Ortho-Tri-Cyclen, Cyclessa, Triphasil, Tri-Levlen, Ortho-Novum 10/11, Trivora, Tri-Norinyl, Estrostep Fe, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho-Novum 1/50, Ovral, Demulen 1/50, Ogestrel, Ovcon 50, Yaz 28, Loestrin 24 Fe, Seasonique, Lybrel

Estimated cost: $15-$35 per month

How it works: Combination birth control pills usually come in a one month supply, and combine estrogen and progestin hormones. The hormones essentially trick the body into thinking it’s pregnant, therefore another fertilization cannot take place. Physiologically, the hormones prevent ovulation from taking place and thicken the cervical mucus at the opening of the cervix. This prevents sperm from entering the cervix. This method also uses placebo pills that do not contain hormones for a certain number of days out of the month (different brands have different numbers of placebo pills); these are used so that the user gets used to taking a pill daily.

The lowdown: This type of birth control has been used by women not only for contraception, but also to regulate a woman’s menstrual cycle. Periods while on combo pills are often lighter and less painful. While there is no proven effect on weight, some women have complained about weight gain. The typical user has about an 8% of getting pregnant within the first year, but with perfect use that percentage drops to .3%. Benefits include reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer and acne reduction. It also has had a positive effect on endometriosis, premenstrual dysphoric disorder (extreme cases of PMS), and polycystic ovary syndrome. On the downside, it offers no protection from sexually transmitted illnesses, increases the risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots), and may also increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack if other risk factors are present. Also keep in mind that the combo pill must be taken every single day, as the effectiveness decreases with irregularity.
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