- Side Effects
- Birth Control Pill Brands
- Drug Interactions
- What Else to Know
What are birth control pills, and what are they used for?
Oral contraceptives (birth control pills) are medications that prevent pregnancy. They are one method of birth control.
Oral contraceptives are hormonal preparations that may contain combinations of the hormones estrogen and progestin or progestin alone. Combinations of estrogen and progestin prevent pregnancy by inhibiting the release of the hormones luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) from the pituitary gland in the brain.
LH and FSH play key roles in the development of the egg and preparation of the lining of the uterus for implantation of the embryo. Progestin also makes the uterine mucus that surrounds the egg more difficult for sperm to penetrate and, therefore, for fertilization to take place. In some women, progestin inhibits ovulation (release of the egg).
3 birth control types
There are different types of combination birth control pills that contain estrogen and progestin that are referred to as monophasic, biphasic, or triphasic.
- Monophasic birth control pills deliver the same amount of estrogen and progestin every day.
- Biphasic birth control pills deliver the same amount of estrogen every day for the first 21 days of the cycle. During the second half of the cycle, the progestin/estrogen ratio is higher to allow the normal shedding of the lining of the uterus to occur.
- Triphasic birth control pills have constant or changing estrogen concentrations and varying progestin concentrations throughout the cycle. There is no evidence that bi- or triphasic oral contraceptives are safer or superior to monophasic oral contraceptives, or vice versa, in their effectiveness for the prevention of pregnancy.
What are the side effects of birth control pills?
The most common side effects of the birth control pills include;
- breast tenderness,
- weight gain,
- irregular vaginal bleeding, and
- mood changes.
These side effects often subside after a few months of use.
Scanty menstrual periods or breakthrough bleeding may occur but are often temporary, and neither side effect is serious.
Women with a history of migraines may notice an increase in migraine frequency. On the other hand, women whose migraines are triggered by fluctuations in their own hormone levels may notice improvement in migraines with oral contraceptive use because of the more uniform hormone levels during oral contraceptive use.
Rarely, oral contraceptives may contribute to;
- increased blood pressure,
- blood clots,
- heart attack, and
Women who smoke, especially those over 35, and women with certain medical conditions, such as a history of blood clots or breast or endometrial cancer, may be advised against taking oral contraceptives, as these conditions can increase the adverse risks of oral contraceptives.
This is not a complete list of all side effects or adverse reactions that may occur from the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may also report side effects or health problems to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
List of birth control pill brands and generic names
List of examples of oral contraceptives of different brands and categories:
|ethinyl estradiol||ethynodiol diacetate|
|Genora 1/35||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Levlite 28||ethinyl estradiol||levonorgestrel|
|Loestrin 21 1/20
Loestrin 21 1.5/30
Loestrin FE 1/20
Loestrin FE 1.5/30
|ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone acetate|
Microgestin FE 1/20
Microgestin FE 1/5/30
|ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone acetate|
|Nordette 28||ethinyl estradiol||levonorgestrel|
|Norinyl 1/35||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Ortho-Novum 1/35||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Tri-Norinyl 28||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Yasmin 28||ethinyl estradiol||drospirenone|
|ethinyl estradiol||ethynodiol diacetate|
|Jenest 28||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Ortho-Novum 10/11||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Ortho-Novum 7/7/7||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
Ortho Tri-Cyclen LO
|Tri-Norinyl 28||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone|
|Triphasil 28||ethinyl estradiol||levonorgestrel|
|Trivora 28||ethinyl estradiol||levonorgestrel|
|24-4 PREPARATIONS (24 days of hormone pills and 4 days of placebo pills)|
|Lo Estrin 24-4||ethinyl estradiol||norethindrone acetate|
Previous contributing medical author: Carolyn Janet Crandall, MD, MS, FACP
What is the dosage for birth control pills? How do you take them?
Many of the birth control pills come in easy-to-use dispensers in which the day of the week or a consecutive number (1, 2, 3, etc.) is written on the dispenser with a corresponding tablet for each day or number.
- For example, some Ortho-Novum dispensers are labeled "Sunday" next to the first tablet. Thus, the first tablet is to be taken on the first Sunday after menstruation begins (the first Sunday following the first day of a woman's period). If her period begins on Sunday, the first tablet should be taken on that day.
- For birth control pills that use consecutive numbers, the first tablet (#1) is taken on the first day of the menstrual period (the first day of bleeding). Tablet #2 is taken on the second day and so on.
- Still other packages instruct women to begin on day five of the cycle. For such products, women count from day one of their menstrual cycle (day one is the first day of bleeding). On the fifth day, the first tablet is taken. Tablets then are taken daily.
- Most birth control pills are packaged as 21-day or 28-day units. For 21-day packages, tablets are taken daily for 21 days. This is followed by a seven-day period during which no birth control pills are taken. Then the cycle repeats.
- For the 28-day units, tablets containing medication are taken for 21 consecutive days, followed by a seven-day period during which placebo tablets (containing no medication) are taken.
- Newer formulations with 24 days of hormone pills and only four days of placebo pills are now available, as are continuous or extended-cycle oral contraceptive regimens, in which only active hormone pills are taken. Extended-cycle preparations include seven-day intervals of placebo pills to be taken approximately every three months.
- Women just starting to take birth control pills should use additional contraception for the first seven days of use because pregnancy may occur during this period.
- If women forget to take tablets, pregnancy may result. If a single tablet is forgotten, it should be taken as soon as it is realized that it is forgotten. If more than one tablet is forgotten, the instructions that come with the packaging should be consulted, or a physician or pharmacist should be called.
- FDA Panel Backs RSV Vaccine for Infants, Some Toddlers
- Seniors: Stay Social, Active for 'Optimal Aging,' Study Shows
- Diabetes Med Metformin Might Help Prevent Long COVID
- Disability a Growing Concern for U.S. Cancer Survivors
- Smoke From Wildfires Is Especially Tough If You Have Asthma. Here’s How to Protect Yourself
- More Health News »
What drugs interact with birth control pills?
Estrogens can inhibit the metabolism (elimination) of cyclosporine, resulting in increased cyclosporine blood levels. Such increased blood levels can result in kidney and/or liver damage. If this combination cannot be avoided, cyclosporine concentrations can be monitored, and the dose of cyclosporine can be adjusted to assure that its blood levels do not become elevated.
Estrogens appear to increase the risk of liver disease in patients receiving dantrolene (Dantrium) through an unknown mechanism. Women over 35 years of age and those with a history of liver disease are especially at risk.
Estrogens increase the liver's ability to manufacture clotting factors. Because of this, patients receiving warfarin (Coumadin) need to be monitored for loss of anticoagulant (blood thinning) effect if an estrogen is begun.
Several medications, including some antibiotics and antiseizure medications, can decrease the blood levels of oral contraceptive hormones, but an actual decrease in the effectiveness of the oral contraceptive has not been convincingly proven. Nonetheless, because of this theoretical possibility, some physicians recommend backup contraceptive methods during antibiotic use. Examples of medications that increase the elimination of estrogens include
- carbamazepine (Tegretol),
- phenytoin (Dilantin),
- primidone (Mysoline),
- rifampin (Rifadin),
- rifabutin (Mycobutin), and
- ritonavir (Norvir).
Birth control pills with higher concentrations of estrogen or alternative forms of contraception may be necessary in women using those medications.
Are birth control pills safe to take if you are breastfeeding?
Use of birth control pills during lactation has been associated with decreased milk production, decreased infant weight gain, and decreased nitrogen and protein content of milk. The amount of estrogen consumed by an infant whose mother takes a standard dose of birth control pills is considered to be the same as from a lactating woman who is not taking birth control pills, and side effects have not been reported.
Using a progestin-only product is most often recommended during lactation if birth control pills are to be used during this period. The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends delaying taking combined estrogen-progestin contraceptives until at least six weeks postpartum, while the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends delaying the initiation of combined contraceptives until six months.
How do you store birth control pills safely?
- All oral contraceptives should be stored in a safe place, out of the reach of small children, at a temperature between 15 C (59 F) and 30 C (86 F).
Subscribe to MedicineNet's General Health Newsletter
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) are prescription medications that prevent pregnancy. Three combinations of birth control pills that contain progestin and estrogen are 1) monophasic, 2) biphasic, and 3) triphasic. Birth control pills may also be prescribed to reduce menstrual cramps or prevent anemia. Certain prescription medications may cause drug interactions. Some women experience various levels of side effects of birth control pills.
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Choosing Your Birth Control Method
Which birth control option is right for you? Discover birth control methods such as birth control pills, birth control shot,...
Sex-Drive Killers: The Causes of Low Libido
Noticing a lack of intimacy with your partner? Here we explore how stress, lack of sleep, weight gain, depression and low T can...
Quiz: How Much Do You Know About Birth Control?
Which birth control method is 100% effective every time? Test your knowledge of birth control with this quiz!
Birth Control Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
What is the best form of birth control? Take this quiz to find out about hormonal, surgical, barrier, and natural methods!
Endometriosis Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition. Take this quiz to learn what happens when a woman has endometriosis as well as...
Sexual Health: The History of Birth Control
They put what where? From chastity belts to soda pop, women used some downright bizarre contraception through the ages. Check out...
Sexual Health: Other Reasons to Use Birth Control
Yes, birth control pills can help prevent pregnancy. They can also treat a variety of hormone-related issues, and they offer...
What Are The Side Effects of Birth Control?
Used correctly, birth control can be both safe and effective. But depending on which method you use, there could be some side...
Related Disease Conditions
Early Pregnancy Symptoms: Am I Pregnant?
Pregnancy symptoms can vary from woman to woman, and not all women experience the same symptoms. When women do experience pregnancy symptoms they may include symptoms including missed menstrual period, mood changes, headaches, lower back pain, fatigue, nausea, breast tenderness, and heartburn. Signs and symptoms in late pregnancy include leg swelling and shortness of breath. Options for relief of pregnancy symptoms include exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Blood Clots (in the Leg)
Blood clots can form in the heart, legs, arteries, veins, bladder, urinary tract, and uterus. Risk factors include high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, and family history. Symptoms and treatment depend on the location of the clot.
Liver disease can be cause by a variety of things including infection (hepatitis), diseases, for example, gallstones, high cholesterol or triglycerides, blood flow obstruction to the liver, and toxins (medications and chemicals). Symptoms of liver disease depends upon the cause and may include nausea, vomiting, upper right abdominal pain, and jaundice. Treatment depends upon the cause of the liver disease.
Anemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
Chronic Rhinitis and Post-Nasal Drip
Chronic rhinitis (non allergic rhinitis) causes runny nose, sneezing, nasal itching and congestion. Post-nasal drip is drainage of mucus from the sinuses into the throat. Treatment includes over-the-counter (OTC) medications.
Chest pain is a common complaint by a patient in the ER. Causes of chest pain include broken or bruised ribs, pleurisy, pneumothorax, shingles, pneumonia, pulmonary embolism, angina, heart attack, costochondritis, pericarditis, aorta or aortic dissection, and reflux esophagitis. Diagnosis and treatment of chest pain depends upon the cause and clinical presentation of the patient's chest pain.
Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled, sac-like structures within an ovary. Symptoms of an ovarian cysts may be: Pain in the belly or pelvis A feeling for the need to have a bowel movement Urgency to urinate Pain during intercourse. There are a variety of causes and types of ovarian cysts, and treatment depends upon type of cyst.
Thrush (Oral Candidiasis)
Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by the Candida fungus. Symptoms of thrush include pain or difficulty swallowing, a feeling that food gets stuck in the throat, and fever. Treatment of thrush depends on the cause and severity of the infection. Infants, toddlers, and children with thrush often do not require treatment.
Normal vaginal bleeding (menorrhea) occurs through the process of menstruation. Abnormal vaginal bleeding in women who are ovulating regularly most commonly involves excessive, frequent, irregular, or decreased bleeding. Causes of abnormal may arise from a variety of conditions that may include, uterine fibroids, IUDs, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, lupus, STDs, pelvic inflammatory disease, emotional stress, anorexia nervosa, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), cancers, early pregnancy.
A dry socket is a potential complication that can occur when a blood clot in the gums becomes dislodged after a tooth extraction. Dry socket signs and symptoms include pain, mouth odor, and unpleasant taste in the mouth. A dentist may treat a dry socket with analgesic dressing. Over-the-counter pain medications can also relieve symptoms. A dry socket usually heals within 7 days. Avoiding smoking, drinking with a straw, and vigorous rinsing and spitting may help prevent the formation of dry socket.
Fibrocystic Breast Condition
Fibrocystic breast disease is characterized by pain, tenderness, and/or discomfort in one or both breasts, often caused by changes in hormones (menstruation, menopause). Learn about causes and treatment.
Acne is a localized skin inflammation as a result of overactivity of oil glands at the base of hair follicles. This inflammation, depending on its location, can take the form of a superficial pustule (contains pus), a pimple, a deeper cyst, congested pores, whiteheads, or blackheads. Treatments vary depending on the severity of the acne.
Endometriosis implants are most commonly found on the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes, the outer surfaces of the uterus or intestines, and on the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. They also can be found in the vagina, cervix, and bladder.
Uterine Fibroids (Benign Tumors of the Uterus)
Uterine fibroids are benign (non-cancerous) tumors in the womb (uterus). Most uterine fibroids do not cause symptoms; however, if the fibroid is large enough and in the right location, it may cause symptoms of pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, and pressure on the bladder or rectum. Uterine fibroids that remain small and do not grow usually do not need treatment; however, surgery to remove the fibroid may be necessary. Uterine fibroids do not cause cancer; however, there is a rare, fast-growing cancerous called leiomyosarcoma.
Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus or SLE)
Systemic lupus erythematosus is a condition characterized by chronic inflammation of body tissues caused by autoimmune disease. Lupus can cause disease of the skin, heart, lungs, kidneys, joints, and nervous system. When only the skin is involved, the condition is called discoid lupus. When internal organs are involved, the condition is called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE).
A stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to part of the brain caused by either a blood clot (ischemic) or bleeding (hemorrhagic). Symptoms of a stroke may include weakness, numbness, double vision or vision loss, confusion, vertigo, difficulty speaking, or understanding speech. A physical exam, imaging tests, neurological exam, and blood tests may be used to diagnose a stroke. Treatment may include administration of clot-busting drugs, supportive care, and in some instances, neurosurgery. The risk of stroke can be reduced by controlling high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and stopping smoking.
Pulmonary Embolism (Blood Clot in the Lung)
A pulmonary embolism (PE) occurs when a piece of a blood clot from deep vein thrombosis (DVT) breaks off and travels to an artery in the lung where it blocks the artery and damages the lung. The most common symptoms of a pulmonary embolism are shortness of breath, chest pain, and a rapid heart rate. Causes of pulmonary embolism include prolonged immobilization, certain medications, smoking, cancer, pregnancy, and surgery. Pulmonary embolism can cause death if not treated promptly.
Birth Control Options
Birth control is available in a variety of methods and types. The method of birth control varies from person to person, and their preferences to either become pregnant or not. Examples of barrier methods include barrier methods (sponge, spermicides, condoms), hormonal methods (pill, patch), surgical sterilization (tubal ligation, vasectomy), natural methods, and the morning-after pill. Side effects and risks of each birth control option should be reviewed before using any birth control method.
Gallstones are stones that form when substances in the bile harden. Gallstones (formed in the gallbladder) can be as small as a grain of sand or as large as a golf ball. There can be just one large stone, hundreds of tiny stones, or any combination. The majority of gallstones do not cause signs or symptoms; however, when they do occur the primary sign is biliary colic. Symptoms of biliary colic are constant pain for 15 minutes to 4-5 hours, and it may vary in intensity; nausea, severe pain that does not worsen with movement; and pain beneath the sternum. Treatment of gallstones depends upon the patient and the clinical situation.
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)
A heart attack occurs when a blood clot completely obstructs a coronary artery supplying blood to the heart muscle. Learn about warning signs, causes, complications, risk factors, and treatment.
Perimenopause is the time in a woman's life when she is approaching menopause. During this time a woman starts to develop symptoms of declining estrogen levels that may include mood swings, painful sex, night sweats, hot flashes, and weight gain. Every adult woman eventually will experience perimenopause.
Lactose intolerance is a common problem where a person's digestive system cannot digest lactose. Signs and symptoms include: Diarrhea Gas Abdominal pain Abdominal bloating Abdominal distention (swelling) Nausea There are several tests to diagnose lactose intolerance. Treatment is generally made with dietary changes, supplements, and adaptation to small amounts of milk.
Pregnancy Planning (Tips)
Pregnancy planning is an important step in preparation for starting or expanding a family. Planning for a pregnancy includes taking prenatal vitamins, eating healthy for you and your baby, disease prevention (for both parents and baby) to prevent birth defects and infections, avoiding certain medications that may be harmful to your baby, how much weight gain is healthy exercise safety and pregnancy, travel during pregnancy.
Which Birth Control Is the Best for Acne and Weight Loss?
Birth control or contraceptive methods include several medications, devices, or tricks for preventing pregnancy. Birth control methods vary in their mode of action, effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, and the presence of any beneficial or undesirable effects.
Smoking (How to Quit Smoking)
Smoking is an addiction. More than 430,000 deaths occur each year in the U.S. from smoking related illnesses. Secondhand smoke or "passive smoke" also harm family members, coworkers, and others around smokers. There are a number of techniques available to assist people who want to quit smoking.
Why Did I Miss My Period on Birth Control?
Missed periods on birth control are a common issue that affects many women. Learn why you missed your period on birth control, how your doctor will diagnose why, and how you can treat your missed period.
Dry eyes are caused by an imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye, but also can be caused by the drying out of the tear film. This can be due to dry air created by air conditioning, heat, or other environmental conditions. Treatment may involve self-care measures, medications, or rarely, surgery.
Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe form of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). PMDD has also been referred to as late luteal phase dysphoric disorder. The cause of PMDD is unknown. Some of the common symptoms of PMDD (not an inclusive list) include mood swings, bloating, fatigue, headache, irritability, headache, breast tenderness, acne, and hot flashes. Treatment for PMDD is with medication to treat the symptoms of PMDD.
Birth Control Pill vs. Depo-Provera Shot
Birth control pills (oral contraceptives) and the Depo-Provera shot are two hormonal methods of birth control. Both methods work by changing the hormone levels in your body, which prevents pregnancy, or conception. Differences between "the pill" and "the shot." Birth control pills are available as combination pills, which contain the hormones estrogen and progestin, or mini-pills that only contain progestin. In comparison to the Depo-Provera injection, which prevents pregnancy for three consecutive months. Both methods of birth control are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Both the combination pill (if you take them as directed) and shot are up to 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. While the mini-pill is only about 95% effective in preventing pregnancy. Both methods cause weight gain, and have other similar side effects like breast pain, soreness or tenderness, headaches, and mood changes. They may lead to decreased interest in sex in some women. There are differences between the other side effects of these methods (depending upon the method) that include breakthrough bleeding or spotting, acne, depression, fatigue, and weakness. Both oral contraceptives and the Depo-Provera shot have health risks associated with them, such as, heart attack, stroke, blood clots, and cervical cancer. Birth control pills appear to increase the risk of cervical cancer. Talk with your OB/GYN or other doctor or health care professional about which birth control method is right for you.
Menstrual cramps (pain in the belly and pelvic area) are experienced by women as a result of menses. Menstrual cramps are not the same as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Menstrual cramps are common, and may be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, constipation, or diarrhea. Severity of menstrual cramp pain varies from woman to woman. Treatment includes OTC or prescription pain relief medication.
Does Birth Control Affect Your Appearance?
The birth control pill or the “pill” is used to prevent an undesired pregnancy. Over years, the pill has been blamed to cause weight gain, sex drive, and even affect the skin in a bad way. Which part is true? Which part is a myth? Let’s find out.
Does the Pill Stop Your Period?
Oral contraceptive pills (OCPs) or birth control pills or the pill is a hormonal pill that is used to prevent pregnancy. Because the pills alter your hormone levels, it is possible to temporarily stop or prevent your period with continuous use of any birth control pill.
IBS Triggers (Prevention)
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a functional disease that can affect the quality of those who suffer from this condition. People with IBS can make lifestyle changes that may modify or control the number and severity of episodes. Certain foods, medications, and hormone levels may trigger IBS episodes, for example fatty foods, dairy products, eating foods in large quantities, foods that contain high levels of sorbitol, foods that produce intestinal gas (broccoli, onions, cabbage, and beans), chocolate, caffeine, physiological stress, some antibiotics, some antidepressants, medicine with sorbitol, and menstrual pain. Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle changes can decrease IBS flares, and prevent the number and severity of IBS episodes of diarrhea and constipation.
At What Age Should You Stop Birth Control?
If you don’t want to get pregnant, you should be taking birth control up until menopause. But the age range for reaching menopause is wide, so there’s no one age that’s right for all women to stop birth control.
Which Birth Control Has Least Side Effects?
No form of birth control is free of side effects, but there are some that have the least noticeable ones.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) is a combination of physical and emotional disturbances that occur after a woman ovulates and ends with menstruation. Common PMS symptoms include; depression, irritability, crying, oversensitivity, and mood swings. For some women, PMS symptoms can be controlled with natural and home remedies, medications, and lifestyle changes such as exercise, nutrition, and a family and friend support system.
What Are Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Symptoms?
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), also known by the name Stein-Leventhal syndrome, is a hormonal problem that causes women to have a variety of symptoms including irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. Treatment of PCOS depends partially on the woman's stage of life and the symptoms of PCOS.
Breast cancer is an invasive tumor that develops in the mammary gland. Breast cancer is detected via mammograms, breast self-examination (BSE), biopsy, and specialized testing on breast cancer tissue. Treatment of breast cancer may involve surgery, radiation, hormone therapy, chemotherapy, and targeted therapy. Breast cancer risk may be lowered by managing controllable risk factors. What you should know about breast cancer Breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women. One in every eight women in the United States develops breast cancer. There are many types of breast cancer that differ in their capability of spreading (metastasize) to other body tissues. The causes of breast cancer are unknown, although medical professionals have identified a number of risk factors. There are 11 common types of breast cancer and 4 uncommon types of breast cancer. Breast cancer early signs and symptoms include a lump in the breast or armpit, bloody nipple discharge, inverted nipple, orange-peel texture or dimpling of the breast's skin (peau d'orange), breast pain or sore nipple, swollen lymph nodes in the neck or armpit, and a change in the size or shape of the breast or nipple. Breast cancer can also be symptom free, which makes following national screening recommendations an important practice. Breast cancer is diagnosed during a physical exam, by a self-exam of the breasts, mammography, ultrasound testing, and biopsy. Treatment of breast cancer depends on the type of cancer and its stage (0-IV) and may involve surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy.
Amenorrhea (including hypothalmic amenorrhea) is a condition in which there is an absence of menstrual periods in a woman. There are two types of amenorrhea: primary and secondary. Treatment of amenorrhea depends on the type. In primary, surgery may be an option and in secondary amenorrhea medication or lifestyle changes may be treatment options. We go over the definition of amenorrhea, causes, and treatment options for amenorrhea.
Can You Lose Weight While on the Birth Control Pill?
It is possible to lose weight while on the birth control pill, but every woman's body is different and reacts differently to hormones. Eating a sensible diet and adopting a regular workout regimen will help you maintain a healthy weight.
DVT and Birth Control Pills (Oral Contraceptives)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot that has traveled deep into the veins of the arm, pelvis, or lower extremities. Oral contraceptives or birth control pills can slightly increase a woman's risk for developing blood clots, including DVT. DVT symptoms and signs in the leg include leg or calf pain, redness, swelling, warmth, or leg cramps, and skin discoloration. If a blood clot in the leg is not treated, it can travel to the lungs, which can cause a pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung) or post-thrombotic syndrome, both of which can be fatal if not treated immediately. Increased risk factors for DVT and birth control pills include over 40 years of age, family history, smoking, and obesity. Other medical problems that increase the risks of blood clots, for example, lung or heart disease, or inflammatory bowel disease or IBD (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis (UC). Other options for preventing pregnancy include IUDs, birth control shots, condoms, diaphragms, and progestin-only oral contraceptives.
Erythema nodosum is a skin inflammation that results in reddish, painful, tender lumps most commonly located in the front of the legs below the knees. Erythema nodosum can resolve on its own in three to six weeks, leaving a bruised area. Treatments include anti-inflammatory medications and cortisone by mouth or injection.
Menstrual Cramps and PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome) Treatment
Menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include abdominal cramping, bloating, a feeling of fullness, abdominal pain, mood swings, anxiety and more. Treatment for menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms include regular sleep, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, and OTC or prescription medication depending on the severity of the condition.
Why Is Birth Control So Bad for You?
Birth control is used all over the world. The main use of birth control is to avoid unplanned pregnancy. Although there are various means of birth control, birth control pills are popular because they have a good success rate and are relatively safe for the majority of the population.
Hemolytic Uremic Syndrome
Hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) is a diseases in which blood clots within the capillaries. Causes associated with HUS include: E. coli, birth control pills, pneumonia, medications such as chemotherapy, Ticlid, and quinine. Symptoms of HUS include: gastroenteritis, abdominal cramping, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Diagnosis of HUS includes: medical history, physical examination, and medical tests. Treatment includes: rest, fluids, possible hospitalization for blood transfusion or complications due to kidney failure.
Is It OK To Skip the 7-Day Break on the Pill?
There seems to be no additional risks associated with using the pill to suppress the seven-day break (beyond the health risks already linked to hormonal pills or devices).
Heart Attack Prevention
Heart disease and heart attacks can be prevented by leading a healthy lifestyle with diet, exercise, and stress management. Symptoms of heart attack in men and women include chest discomfort and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
What Does Birth Control Do to Your Body?
Different birth control methods work in different manners. No birth control method is perfect and every procedure or method has a side effect.
Sexual health information including birth control, impotence, herpes, sexually transmitted diseases, staying healthy, women's sexual health concerns, and men's sexual health concerns. Learn about the most common sexual conditions affecting men and women.
What Is the Best Form of Birth Control?
What's "best" among birth control methods differs from person to person. What's right for one person may not be right for others. And a person’s needs may also change over time.
Treatment & Diagnosis
- Natural Birth Control
- Triglycerides (Tests and Lowering Your Triglyceride Levels)
- Parathyroidectomy Surgery
- IUD (Intrauterine Device for Birth Control)
- Birth Control: Surgical Sterilization
- Hormonal Methods of Birth Control
- Barrier Methods of Birth Control Side Effects, Advantages, and Disadvantages
- Contraceptive Measures after Unprotected Sex
- What Are the Natural Contraception Methods?
- Weight Gain
- Missed Menstrual Period
- Vaginal Bleeding
- Pregnancy: Trying to Conceive: After Birth Control
- Menstrual Cramps
- Breast Pain
- PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
- Doctor: Checklist to Take To Your Doctor's Appointment
- Birth Control Choices-- Laura Corio, MD
- Birth Control: Contraception: What's New?
- Endometriosis FAQs
- Birth Control FAQs
- How Much Do You Know About Birth Control FAQs
- What are granulomatosis with polyangiitis and erythema nodosum?
- How To Reduce Your Medication Costs
- Pharmacy Visit, How To Get The Most Out of Your Visit
- Indications for Drugs: Approved vs. Non-approved
- Birth Control Prescribed by Pharmacists
- Ovarian Cancer Symptoms, Early Warning Signs, and Risk Factors
- Drugs: Buying Prescription Drugs Online Safely
- Drugs: The Most Common Medication Errors
- Medication Disposal
- Dangers of Mixing Medications
- Do Antibiotics Interfere With Birth Control Pills?
- Can Birth Control Pills Cure PCODS?
- Do I Need Birth Control After Menopause?
- Birth Control: The Contraceptive Patch
- Birth Control Types
- Generic Drugs, Are They as Good as Brand-Names?
- Ask The Experts: Women's Health
Medications & Supplements
- Drugs: Questions to Ask Your Doctor or Pharmacist about Your Drugs
- Drug Interactions
- estradiol, Alora, Climara, Delestrogen, Depo-Estradiol, Divigel, Elestrin, Estrace, and Others
- What Are Hormonal Methods of Contraception?
- What Are the Barrier Methods of Contraception?
- nonoxynol-9 vaginal
- Side Effects of Ortho Micronor (norethindrone)
- What Are Intrauterine Devices?
Prevention & Wellness
- FDA Updates Guidance on ‘Morning After’ Pill, Making Clear It Does Not Cause Abortions
- Study Counters Myth That Contraceptive Pill Enlarges Breasts in Teen Girls
- FDA Mulling Over-the-Counter Sale of Contraceptive Pill
- Some Pharmacy Chains Limit Morning-After Pill Sales to Avoid Potential Shortage
- New 'On-Demand' Birth Control Pill on the Horizon
- New Male Birth Control Pill Works in Study
- Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
- Birth Control Myths
- Drug Name Confusion: Preventing Medication Errors
- FDA Strengthens Warning on RU-486
- Stopping Sperm in Their Tracks
- Sexual Infections with Depo Provera?
- Contraceptive: Fake Contraceptive Patches Warning
- FDA Approves First Chewable Oral Contraceptive Tablet
- New Pill, Fewer Periods
Women's Health Resources
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
FDA Prescribing Information