Wondering what’s the best birth control pill? With so many different birth control pill brands on the market, how do you know which one is right for you? Fortunately, we’ve put together a guide to help you find the best brand. Keep reading below!
What are Birth Control Pills and How do They Work?
Birth control pills contain hormones that prevent a woman from becoming pregnant. These pills are to be taken every day in order to work effectively.
There are two types of birth control pills: the combination pill and the progestin-only pill. As the names imply, the combination pill uses a combination of estrogen and progesterone hormones, while the progestin-only pill only contains progesterone.
While these pills have a difference in hormones, they both work very similarly.
Both pills thicken the cervical mucus, making it harder for sperm to reach the egg. Furthermore, they also make the uterine lining thinner. This makes it more difficult for a fertilized egg to latch on to the uterus which is necessary for a pregnancy to occur.
The combination pill’s main function is to prevent ovulation from occurring. In other words, it stops the release of an egg. With no egg for sperm to fertilize, it’s impossible for a pregnancy to take place.
Similarly, the progestin-only pill also prevents ovulation from occurring. However, according to WebMD, it doesn’t block the release of an egg as effectively as the combination pill does. This is because it contains progesterone at a lower dose. This is why the progestin-only pill is also called the mini-pill.
Having said this, the progestin-only pill is still effective at preventing a pregnancy from occurring. However, it’s imperative to never miss a dose and always take the dose at the same time every day.
Between the Combination and Progestin-Only Pill, What’s the Best Birth Control Pill for You?
Now that you know about the two types of birth control pills, you’re likely wondering: what’s the best birth control pill for me?
There may be a few reasons why the progestin-only pill or the combination pill will work better for you. Consider the following below.
The progestin-only pill is ideal for women who cannot take estrogen for a number of reasons that include breastfeeding. This is because estrogen can interfere with milk production, as explained in an article by Self.com.
In addition to this, the progestin-only pill may be a better alternative for the following reasons:
- You are 35 or older
- You have a history of blood clots in the lungs or legs
- You’re at an increased risk of blood clots in the lungs or legs
- You have diabetes
- You have high blood pressure
- You have a history of high blood pressure and stroke
- You have experienced adverse side effects with the combination pill
As for the combination-pill, most women can take it. With that said, it may not be suitable for everyone. Some factors include but aren’t limited to:
- You’re 35 or older
- You’re overweight
- You smoke or stopped smoking less than a year ago
- You take certain medications that could affect the pill’s effectiveness
- You have diabetes
- You have gallbladder or liver disease
- You have or have had breast cancer
- You’re diabetic
- You have high cholesterol or blood pressure
- You have a risk for blood clotting
With these risk factors in mind, it’s important to discuss your health history with your doctor when deciding on a birth control option. Your doctor will help identify the option that’s best suited for you.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Birth Control Pills
Of course, when trying to find the best birth control pill, you might want to consider the possible side effects you may experience. Some common side effects include:
- Weight gain or weight loss
- Bleeding between periods
On the plus side, women may also experience some positive side effects. Among others, the pill may help clear up acne. Many studies including a 30-year study of Swedish women have also shown that it can help relieve cramps, bloating, and pain associated with menstruation.
Furthermore, according to the National Institutes of Health, combination birth control pills may also help lessen the pain caused by endometriosis. That’s why it’s often prescribed to women who suffer from this condition.
However, know that everyone is different and can have a different experience with birth control pills. As such, it’s important to talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or experience any adverse side effects.
So, What’s the Best Birth Control Pill Brand Out There?
What’s the best birth control pill brand? With so many to choose from, that’s a very legitimate question.
All birth control pill brands are effective and safe for the prevention of pregnancy. However, some may also be approved for other conditions such as acne and premenstrual syndromes. Combination birth control pills may also be useful for reducing ovarian cysts and symptoms of endometriosis.
Refer to the chart below to have a closer look at the different brands of birth control, their ingredients, and their approved uses.
|Brand||Active Ingredients||Best Used For|
|Alesse||Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Levlite||Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Levora||Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Loestrin||Norethindrone and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Mircette||Desogestrel and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Ortho Tri-Cyclen||Norgestimate and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception. Ortho Tri-Cyclen is also FDA approved for treating acne.|
|Seasonique||Levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Yasmin||Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception|
|Yaz||Drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol||Contraception. Yaz is also approved to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and acne.|
*Drospirenone also holds on to potassium which can cause problems if you rely on anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen. It can also be problematic if you have diseases of the kidneys, liver, or adrenals. Furthermore, excess potassium can cause heart and other health problems.
While each brand may have certain benefits, keep in mind that everyone has a different experience with birth control pills.
For this reason, it’s important to talk to your doctor about which brand is best for you. Apart from the benefits, you will also have to consider any negatives associated with the pill (or specific brand).
So, what’s the best birth control pill brand? Based on this chart alone, it’s difficult to pick one brand that’s the best. With that said, the best birth control pill brand will depend entirely on what works best for you. For some, Alesse works like a charm, for others, they experience no issues with Yaz.
Bear in mind too that this list isn’t all-encompassing. There are other brands not listed that may work better for you.
And, if none of the pill brands are right for you, know that there are so many other birth control options available. So, be sure to weigh all of the choices and do your research— you’ll certainly find the type of birth control that works for you!
Medically reviewed by Dr. Gerardo Sison, Pharm.D.
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