Birth Control Pills: High Versus Low Dose Oral Contraceptive Pills

Birth Control Pills: High Versus Low Dose Oral Contraceptive Pills
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Both high and low dose birth control pills are effective ways to prevent pregnancy and each has risks. Consult your physician to know which one is best for you.

Starting birth control pills? Birth control is one of the most celebrated and controversial topics in the history of man.

Though threats of overpopulation are real, the concept of birth control still remains one of the taboos of modern society. In almost all eras and generations, people have always had opposing beliefs on it.

Types Of Birth Control

Since the age of ancient Egypt, humans have been aware of the harmful effects of overpopulation and depleting resources. Ancient Egyptians have the earliest records of instructions on how to make a contraceptive pessary.

Other early forms of contraceptives are coitus interruptus and ingestion of herbs that are believed to be an abortifacient.

For many Indian families that cannot afford three square meals a day, birth control is essential to provide the next generation a better future.

Today’s working woman has a lot more choice when it comes to birth control methods.  Indian women today can freely choose any method they prefer to use.

Some of the commonly known artificial types of birth control are the barrier method (condoms or diaphragms), hormonal, intrauterine method and Ormeloxifene (Centchroman).

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These birth control methods involve either the intake of hormones that hinder the sperm from reaching the egg, using a physical barrier to prevent the transfer of sperms, or operating on the reproductive organs to block the path of the sperms.

Natural birth control is also available to people who do not believe that science should interfere in the natural ways of man.

Some types of birth control include behavioural methods, fertility awareness, coitus interruptus, avoiding vaginal intercourse and abstinence during fertile weeks.

There is also emergency contraception (morning-after pill) and permanent methods of birth control (vasectomy and tubectomy).

How To Choose Your Birth Control Method

If you’re a sexually active woman and being a mother is not part of your plan at the moment, then you need to take the birth control thing seriously. If you’re new to this, you might want to ask your gynaecologist for answers or visit a reproductive health clinic.

Being shy about things is not smart in today’s age. If you feel embarrassed to ask questions, you might be dealing with a more embarrassing situation when you have to go in for an abortion.

When recommending the right birth control method for you, the doctor will need to check your general health and preferences.

An important aspect of birth control pills is being able to remember to take them as often as required. If, for instance, you want to take birth control pills but you know you will forget about taking it in the mornings you might want to choose another method.

High Dose Birth Control Pills

Other issues include previous pregnancy experiences, issues concerning embarrassing your partner or yourself for that matter, the openness of your partner to the method, the risks of exposure to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and other concerns or unanswered questions about your method of choice.

Some questions are hard to deal with while others are not. But to protect your health and prevent unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted diseases, these are questions are important to ask sooner than later.

Regardless of the method you choose, no single birth control method is 100% effective. Any claims by any medical company or producer of birth control methods are wrong and are thus unethical business practice.

The same applies to prevent STDs. No birth control method can claim that it can fully prevent infection by STDs. Among the many birth control questions, one that women often ask is, “Will I gain weight if I used birth control pills?” The answer is no.

In fact, many women take birth control pills to prevent acne and treat (poly-cystic ovarian syndrome) PCOS. In a previous post on birth control pills, we discussed how to tell your partner about switching birth control options. In this post, we discuss different types of birth control pills.

High Versus Low Dose Birth Control Pills

It can be confusing to understand the difference between high and low dose birth control pills and determine which might best fit your needs. Both high and low dose hormonal contraceptives are beneficial forms of birth control, and each has benefits and risks.

It’s always best to consult with your physician to choose the birth control pill that will be best suited for your medical history and lifestyle.

There’s no one option that fits all as everyone has different factors that impact what birth control would be best for them. The truth is that certain pills might make hormones fluctuate in a way that is uncomfortable for a woman.

There are other types of birth control, but the truth is that using birth control pills as advised is the safest option to prevent pregnancy, other than abstinence.

Don’t be afraid to ask embarrassing or tough questions to your doctor as you should not be uninformed about anything you will be putting into your body. Read on to learn more about high versus low dose pills.

Low Dose Birth Control Pills

How Do High and Low Dose Pills Differ?

High and low dose pills work similarly. The estrogen in the pills prevents conception by “turning off” the pituitary gland’s production of the hormones that trigger ovulation.

Regular dose birth control pills usually contain 30 to 35 micrograms of estrogen. Low dose pills typically contain 20 micrograms of estrogen and lower doses of progestin. Ultra-low dose birth control pills like contain only ten micrograms of estrogen.

High Dose Birth Control Pills (BCPS)

High dose birth control pills usually contain 35 micrograms of Ethinyl estradiol and varying amounts of progestin. These birth control pills are usually associated with more risks and fluctuations in hormone levels.

The misconception that you’re going to gain weight on birth control pills automatically could not be further from the truth. This is not as common as many people think but one of the birth control side effects mentioned below.

The risk factors highlighted below always considered when taking any kind of medication. Smoking or a history of blood clots or strokes are always considered by a doctor while recommending hormonal contraceptives so consult with them before making any decisions.

If you’re wondering where to get birth control pills, going to a government clinic is one way to get oral contraceptive pills, but these doctors will not have your medical history to make an informed recommendation of what type of pill to take.

High dose BCPS is contraindicated if you have the following risk factors:

  • A history of cigarette smoking
  • Age over 35
  • History of strokes
  • History of blood clots
  • History of pulmonary embolus
  • History of heart attacks
  • History of invasive breast cancer

The side effects of these pills include:

  • Headaches
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Menstrual cramping
  • Breast tenderness
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood changes
  • Acne
  • Irregular uterine bleeding
  • Weight gain
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Low Dose Birth Control Pills

Low dose combination birth control pills are considered just as effective as their higher dose counterparts. They usually contain only 20 micrograms of estrogen, and so have fewer of the side effects of higher doses of estrogen such as bloating and breast tenderness.

These types of lower estrogen-containing BCPS, however, may cause increased spotting between periods. For those women that can take the lower dose pills, it can be worth looking into as mentioned above the side effects are less in number as well as severity.

Again, risk factors are going to deal with family history as well as lifestyle. If you haven’t heard it before, smoking is not good for any type of health and can lead to complications when combined with birth control.

Examples of low dose birth control pills brands in India include:

  • Apri
  • Aviane
  • Levlen
  • Levora
  • Lo Loestrin Fe (ultra-low mini BCP)
  • Lo/Ovral
  • Ortho-Novum
  • Yasmin
  • Yaz

Low Dose Mini Pills

Low dose “mini” birth control pills, or mini pills as they are commonly known, contain progestin in reduced doses and are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

According to experts, they are the best birth control pill as they also prevent or reduce painful periods.

Low Dose Mini Pills

Progestin works by thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching and fertilizing a mature ovum (egg). Progestin-only mini-pills also thin the lining of the uterus which helps to avoid the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Low dose mini pills are indicated for women who are breastfeeding and reducing the potential risks of estrogen to women with the following risk factors:

  • A history of cigarette smoking
  • A history of heart disease
  • Age over 35
  • A history of having had a stroke, heart attack or blood clots
  • A history of breast cancer

The side effects of low dose progestin “mini” pills include:

  • Bloating
  • Weight increase
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Headache
  • Depression
  • Ovarian cysts

Some low-dose progestin-only birth control pills names include:

  • Camila
  • Errin
  • Heather
  • Jolivette
  • Micronor
  • Nora BE

High and low birth control pills both come with risks and benefits. Both types of pills provide excellent methods of contraception and are readily available.

Completing a risk/benefit analysis with your physician can help you determine which is the best birth control pill option for you. Don’t forget to ask your doctor how to take or use birth control pills.

Writing out a journal of how you feel throughout the first few months on a certain type of birth control can be very wise. You might find that your moods are shifting in an extreme manner on one type of birth control while you can manage your moods far better on another.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to birth control or any medication as there are so many factors that can impact their efficacy and side effects. Don’t be afraid to ditch your current birth control if it’s negatively impacting your quality of life.

Your doctor should not be offended if you want to discuss switching birth control options as you are completely within your rights to do so. If they do have an issue, find another doctor as they could have been compensated by a birth control brand to recommend a specific type of birth control.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this web site is presented for the purpose of educating people. Nothing contained on this web site should be construed nor is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider. Should you have any healthcare-related questions, please call or see your physician or other qualified health care provider promptly. Always consult with your physician or other qualified health care provider before embarking on a new treatment, diet, or fitness program.

Birth Control Pills: High Versus Low Dose Oral Contraceptive Pills 1

Author Bio:

Priya Florence Shah is the Group Editor at SHEROES and author of Devi2Diva, an emotional self-care book for women.

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