If you make the decision to use the birth control pill as a form of contraception, most likely you will be using a combination pill, which contains synthetic forms of both estrogen and progesterone (hormones occurring naturally in our bodies, which fluctuate each month depending on the point of our menstrual cycle).
However, a lesser-known oral contraceptive is the “mini-pill” which contains only synthetic progesterone. While the combination pill does a great job at preventing ovulation, the progesterone-only mini-pill can achieve this sometimes, but is more effective at thickening cervical mucus and thinning the lining of the uterus. Thus, preventing pregnancy.
While we have come to learn that most people aren’t required to take the combination birth control pill at the exact same time every day, the mini pill has to be taken consistently at the same time daily to ensure max efficacy. If the mini-pill is taken even three hours late, a backup form of contraception must be used.
For most patients who choose to use oral contraceptives, the combination pill will be the best option for them. However, some women cannot tolerate estrogen, or they are unable to take it due to age, smoking history, clotting risk, or experiences of migraines with auras may find that this option works for them!
Like all hormonal contraceptives, progesterone-only birth control methods carry a risk of affecting your mental health. Prior to starting any contraceptive, your care provider should ask you questions about your health in its entirety, including your mental health.
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