The contraceptive pill (also called pill) is a pill that contains hormones to change the body’s functioning and prevent pregnancy. Hormones are chemicals that control the functioning of the body’s organs. In this case, the hormones in the pill control the ovaries and uterus. The cost of packaging ranges from 10 to 15 reais more or less. This medicine should be prescribed by your doctor.


How it works?

1. Combined pill
Most birth control pills are taken in combination, contain two different hormones: estrogen and progesterone to prevent ovulation (the release of an ovum during the menstrual cycle ).
The combination pills on the market are for example: Yasmin, Selene, Thames, Yaz, Siblima, Diane 35.

2. Miniipill
There are others that contain only progesterone, for example Cerazette. It is necessary to choose the most appropriate medicine for the person, that is, with fewer side effects. A woman can not get pregnant if she does not ovulate because there is no egg to be fertilized.

The pill causes thickening of the mucus around the cervix that makes it hard for sperm to enter. In this way, the sperm can not reach the egg that has been released. The pill may also affect the outer wall of the uterus and make it difficult to attach an egg to the wall of the uterus.

Classification based on amount of hormones

There are three types of pill:

Single-phase contraceptives
The single- phase pill is an oral contraceptive that has the same amount of estrogen and progesterone in each box tablet.
This type of medication is divided into:

  1. Low dose pills that have less estrogen (20 mcg)
  2. At regular dose contain 30-35 mcg of estrogen
  3. High dose pills have about 50 mcg of estrogen.

Biphasic Contraceptive Pill
This contraceptive has a hormone level that changes during the cycle. The first 7-10 days contain more estrogen (and have one color), the subsequent 14 tablets have more progestin (another color). The last 7 pills are placebo pills and do not contain hormones.

Three-Phase Contraceptive Pill Three
phase combination pills contain 3 different doses of hormones in the 3 weeks of active pills. Estrogens are low in the first 5 days, increase in 5 days and return to the initial level in the last ten days. Progesterone increases gradually from the beginning to the end of the menstrual cycle. The last 7 tablets (if included) are placebo tablets and are not active.



Efficacy is an important and frequent concern in choosing a method for not getting pregnant. Birth control pills are very effective. Combination medication works best if taken every day. Progestin-only pills should be taken every day at the same time. This maintains the correct level of hormones in a woman’s body.
Less than 1 in 100 women get pregnant every year if they take the pill every day as prescribed. About nine out of 100 women get pregnant each year if they do not take the pill every day as directed. This medicine may be slightly less effective for women who are very overweight. Talk to your doctor if you are concerned about the effectiveness of the pill. Some girls take the pill even if they do not look for a way to not get pregnant, for example, to remove acne from their skin.

Some scientific studies show that taking a low estrogen dose (20 mcg) gives results similar to the dosage normally used. The contraceptive pill does not replace the morning-after pill.

Some medications and supplements may make the pill less effective:

  • The antibiotic rifampicin, while the other antibiotics do not alter the efficacy of the pill
  • The antifungal griseofulvin, while the other antifungals do not alter the efficacy of the pill
  • Some anti-HIV medications
  • Some anti-epileptic drugs
  • Saint John’s herb

Vomiting and diarrhea may cancel the effect of the pill.
After vomiting or diarrhea , use an alternative method of contraception, such as a condom, IUD, diaphragm, or an emergency contraception method (the morning-after pill) until the doctor says it is necessary. We must always keep in mind that the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases . A condom should be used to reduce the risk of infection .


How do you start taking the contraceptive pill? When does it take effect?

Women are accustomed to starting taking the pill on the first day of the cycle (menstruation). Well, we know that you can start taking the pill on any day of the month. Talk to your doctor to find out what is the best day to start taking the pill.


Combined pill

Even the combination pill can be started at any time. If the woman starts within five days after the start of the cycle, protection against pregnancy is valid immediately. It is not necessary to use an additional contraceptive method.
This means that if the cycle starts on Wednesday morning, you can start taking the pill until Monday morning to be protected immediately. If you start at any other time during the menstrual cycle, protection against pregnancy begins after seven days. Use another method of prevention, such as a condom, a diaphragm or a contraceptive sponge in the case of vaginal intercourse during the first week of use.
Some gynecologists recommend waiting until the end of the first box to have unprotected sex.



Another type of contraceptive pill that has a low dose of progesterone, is called a mini-pill. This type of medication is different from other contraceptive pills because it contains only one type of hormone (progesterone) instead of a combination of estrogen and progesterone.

It works by changing the cervical mucus and the outer wall of the uterus and sometimes affects ovulation. The mini-pill may be slightly less effective in preventing pregnancy compared to that combined. The mini-pill should be taken every day without interruption.

A girl who is taking the mini-pill may not have any cycles or show  irregular cycles . The mini-pill works if it is taken at the same time each day, without forgetting one. Any type of birth control pill works best if taken every day at the same time, regardless of whether you are engaging in sexual activity. Regularity is particularly important if the pill has only progesterone.

If you take three hours after the regular schedule, you should use an additional contraceptive method for 48 hours after taking the pill. You can start taking this medicine with progesterone only at any time. Use another method of prevention if you have vaginal intercourse during the first 48 hours from the start because protection begins after two days.


Start taking the pill after pregnancy

You can get pregnant again soon after delivery. Beginning to use contraceptive methods after pregnancy is a major concern for many women. And many of these women choose the pill. You can start taking the combination pill at least three weeks after giving birth.
If you are breastfeeding or if there is an increased risk of blood clots, you should wait at least six weeks after giving birth.


Packing size

Most of the pills are in packs of 21  or 28. The hormone pill should be taken every day at the same time for 21 days.
Depending on the packaging, you can take a 7- day break (as in the pack of 21 tablets) or take a tablet that does not contain hormones for 7 days (pack  of 28 tablets).
Usually a woman has menstruation in the period when she stops taking hormone-containing pills. Some women prefer the 28-day pack as it helps to keep in the habit of taking a pill every day. There is also a type of combination pill that reduces the frequency of menstruation of the woman; take the hormonal drug for 12 weeks and then for 7 days. This decreases the number of periods every 3 months instead of one month.


What happens if you miss or forget to take one or more tablets?

Ovulation (and therefore pregnancy) can occur if you forget the pill, especially if the missing tablets are at the beginning or end of the pack. The advice depends on how many pills have been forgotten and at which point in the cycle. If you miss a pill anywhere in the package, you have to take the missed pill. This may mean taking two pills in a day. You should take the rest of the package as usual. It does not need any additional prevention.

You should keep the break for 7 days as planned. If you miss two or more tablets in any part of the package, take the last forgotten tablet at that time. This may mean taking two pills in a day. Previously missed tablets should not be taken. You should take the rest of the package as usual. You also need to take extra precautions (for example, condoms or abstinence) in the next 7 days.


What are the benefits of the pill?

  • It is very effective.
  • Does not interfere with sexual intercourse
  • Periods are often milder, less painful and more regular
  • Relieves premenstrual syndrome  for some women
  • Reduces the risk of cancer of the cervix and ovary 
  • The protection against ovarian cancer is very clear and seems to continue for many years after stopping the pill
  • It may also reduce the risk of developing certain types of ovarian cysts
  • The risk of pelvic infection (since the mucus plug stops bacteria like sperm arriving in the uterus) is reduced
  • It may help protect against some benign breast diseases (not cancer).


Is the pill bad? What are the side effects and contraindications of the pill?


Most women who take the pill do not develop side effects. However, a small number of women develop nausea (nausea),  headache or pain in the breasts . These symptoms usually disappear within a few days or a few weeks of initiation. If the symptoms persist, there are many different brands of pills that your doctor can advise and you probably will not experience the same symptoms.
Other side effects are rare and include fatigue , changes in sex drive , acne , dry skin, mood swings, dry mucous membranes in the mouth and vagina.
These consequences are rare and you should inform your doctor or nurse in case of long lasting side effects. The pill may cause an increase in blood pressure , so it is necessary to measure the pressure every six months. Intake of this medicine may be discontinued if your blood pressure becomes too high.

Does the pill make you fat? 
Many people believe that taking the pill gets fat, but this has never been proven in scientific studies. In fact the tablet does not make you fat or lose weight, but it causes an increase in water retention that has been resolved with the new pills, for example the Yasmin pill. Some women notice a breast augmentation with this medicine.


Is there any risk when taking the pill?

The pill may have some serious side effects, but these are very rare. For most women, the benefits of the medications outweigh the potential risks. The patient should talk with his doctor about the risks and benefits of the pill.

People taking the pill have a small increase in the risk of thrombosis (blood clots). This risk is greater in the first year of starting. This is why people at high risk of clot formation can not take the pill.

However, this possibility is considerably less compared to the natural clot risk than it does during pregnancy.
Women are at increased risk for blood clots if they:

  • Are obese
  • Are over 35 years old
  • In case of cesarean section
  • Have suffered severe bleeding after childbirth
  • They had preeclampsia
  • Have hereditary clotting disorders
  • Have had blood clots in the past
  • Your family has a close relative with blood clots
  • You should stay in bed for an extended period of time.
  • Receive a blood transfusion at delivery
  • Smoke

You can start using the combination pill or progesterone alone immediately after a miscarriage . Today, all pills that are prescribed have low doses of estrogen inside.
Some are less potent and may be more suitable if there are risk factors for thrombosis. You should see a doctor immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms: severe headache, severe pain in the breast, legs or belly , swollen legs, difficulty breathing, coughing up blood, unexpected vision or speech problems, weakness or tingling  in an arm or a leg, a collapse. These symptoms can be caused by a blood clot.

Pill and cigarette
After age 35, women who take the pill have an increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Cigarette smoking causes many damages, including hardening of the arteries which is a risk factor for heart attack and thrombosis.
Therefore females who smoke and take the pill have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease than other women.



Taking the pill may increase the risk of certain types of cancer, but it protects against other types. Research on the risks of breast cancer in people taking the pill is controversial and the results are not easily interpretable. Some studies suggest a possible slight increase in the risk of cervical cancer for women who take the pill for more than eight years.
Some research suggests a link between pill use and the development of a rare liver cancer . However, there is a reduced risk of developing ovarian, colon and uterine cancer for people taking this medication.

If you consider all tumors in general, the risk of developing a cancer is reduced if you take the pill. Further research is being developed.


Breastfeeding and the contraceptive pill

Progestin- only pills do not affect breast milk during lactation. If you breastfeed, you have to wait before you start using the combination pill since you can reduce the amount and quality of the milk in the first six weeks of breastfeeding.
Breast milk contains traces of hormones from the pill. It is unlikely that these hormones have effects on the child.
It is best to talk to a doctor about the most appropriate methods of contraception after childbirth.

Read too