Information center / / / / / /

Comparison of Popular Birth Control Pills

Woman holding birth control pills sitting on a bed
Woman holding birth control

(Tina Dawn/ VM-Med) –– In today’s world, women who don’t wish to currently conceive a child have a variety of contraceptive options available to them. Different methods of birth control work in different ways, and some methods are better at preventing pregnancy than others. From barrier methods, like condoms, to long-term hormonal methods like the patch or an IUD, or short-term hormonal methods like the contraceptive ring, women can choose what best suits their lifestyle, their age, and their health history.

One of the most popular contraceptive methods for both their efficacy and ease of use are hormonal birth pills, like those widely seen on the market, such as the LoLo birth control or Movisse birth control. The pill works to prevent pregnancy by thickening the mucus around the cervix, which makes it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach any eggs that may have been released.

There is a wide variety of hormonal birth control pills on the market and someone aiming to prevent pregnancy should research their options carefully and choose what works best for them.

Not all birth control pills are appropriate for everyone

Birth control pills are all slightly different and may not be appropriate for everyone to use. Your doctor will ask about your medical history and any medications you are currently taking in order to determine which birth control pill is right for you.

For example, certain antiviral drugs and epilepsy medications can interfere with birth control pills. Depending on such factors, your doctor may discourage you from using combination birth control pills and recommend other contraception methods that are better suited to your circumstances and medical profile.

Reasons to discourage the use of combination birth control pills are varied and complex. The most common reasons are:

·   You have just given birth

·   Have high blood pressure

·   Are older than 35 years old and you smoke

·   Have a blood clotting disorder

·   Have a history of heart disease or stroke

·   Have a history of breast cancer

·   Have diabetes-related complications

·   Have a history of migraines with aura

·   Will be undergoing major surgery and will be on bed rest for a long period of time

Your doctor may discourage use of the mini pill for specific reasons as well. Some of those reasons are:

·   A history of breast cancer

·   Suffering from certain liver diseases

·   Unexplained uterine bleeding

Pros and Cons of Combination Pills

Most hormonal birth control pills are combination pills, meaning they contain two hormones: a progestin and an estrogen. Combination pills are sold on the market under such popular brand names as Lo Loestrin Fe, Alesse, Marvelon, Aviane, Mya, Linessa, and Mirvala. Lo Loestrin Fe or LoLo birth control as it’s often known is a birth control pill with the lowest daily dose of estrogen available, but most popular contraceptive pills tend to be low-estrogen. They usually come in a variety of formats, which includes monthly packs that follow 21-, 24-, or 28-day cycles. They are 91 percent effective and can have even higher effectiveness if you always take your pills on time.

Combination hormonal pills are an easily reversed method of birth control if you plan to get pregnant sometime in the near future. They offer quick relief from premenstrual syndrome (PMS), which many women suffer from. They reduce the flow of your period, as well as minimize the pain and cramps associated with one. They can reduce painful symptoms of endometriosis. They can also lower the risk of ovarian, endometrial, and colorectal cancers.

On the other hand, combination pills also have some cons, and you should be aware of what they are before choosing them as your birth control method.

Forgetting to take your combination pill may reduce their effectiveness. They offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV, so it’s best to use condoms if you’re not in an exclusive sexual relationship. Combination pills increase the risk of high cholesterol, heart attack and stroke, as well as blood clots for smokers and women over the age of 35. They also increase the risk of breast cancer and cervical cancer while you’re on the pill, but the risk drops back to normal levels as soon as you stop taking combined birth control pills. Women on combination birth control also report irregular spotting, bloating, nausea, weight gain, occasional headaches, tender breasts, and depression.

Progestin-Only Pills

Progestin-only pills (without estrogen added), marketed under such names as the Movisse birth control or Micronor birth control are often called the mini pill. Progestins can prevent fertilization by preventing a woman’s egg from fully developing and by causing thickening of the cervical mucus. Mini pills only contain progestin, so they are safe to use for those who cannot take estrogen, such as those who have previously had a stroke or are smokers. Women with a history of heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, or deep vein thrombosis should also avoid taking them.

Progestin-only pills only come in packs of 28 and as with combination pills, you take one pill at the same time every day. They are 91 percent effective and can have higher effectiveness if you always take your pills on time. This makes them just as reliable in preventing pregnancy as the combined hormonal birth control pill, patch, and ring. The most common side effect of progestin-only pills is irregular bleeding and changes to periods. Headaches and weight gain are also some less common side effects.

Some users report having fewer, lighter or no periods, which many who suffer from painful periods welcome. Studies have also shown that women who suffer from endometriosis may benefit from taking progestin-only pills rather than combined estrogen-progestin contraceptive pills.

How you will react to any specific hormonal birth control on the market whether they are combination hormonal pills like the LoLo birth control and Alesse birth control, or Progestin-only pills like the Movisse birth control is hard to predict. Medical experts recommend that you discuss your options with your doctor who knows your detailed medical history and then try different hormonal birth control pills until you find the one that suits you best.

VM Med’s Gynecology Centre supports every aspect of our patients’ gynecological health throughout the course of their lives. We offer a welcoming environment and specialized counselling and treatments on a wide range of issues. This includes family planning and contraception.

For more information, you can read our extensive archive of VM-Med blogs, including how to choose the right birth control for you and frequently asked questions about endometriosis.

Still have questions? Book a consultation with our experts.