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The Pill

"The Pill" is a pill. (How's that for stating the obvious?) Some people call it "oral contraception." You take it once a day, at the same time every day. There are lots of different kinds of pills on the market, and new ones come out all the time. They all work by releasing hormones that keep your ovaries from releasing eggs. The hormones also thicken your cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg in the first place.

Details

It takes discipline
You've got to remember to take your pill at the same time every day. Even on weekends. Even on vacation. So, ask yourself: how good are you with stuff like that?

Skip your periods
Some pills allow you to skip your period all together. Consider the possibilities!

Predictable periods
If you're the type of person who feels comforted by getting her period every month — and by not having random spotting in between — then this might just be the choice for you.

Smokers older than 35, beware
For those older than 35 years old, smoking while on the pill increases the risk of certain side effects. And if you’re younger, why not quit smoking now and save yourself the trouble in the future? For help quitting, visit www.ndhealth.gov/ndquits .

The pregnancy question
You will return to fertility (which just means that you go back to being able to get pregnant) just a few days after stopping the pill. So if you don't want to get pregnant right away, make sure you start using an alternate method as soon as you stop taking the pill.

Side Effects

There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone's different, so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

The Positive
Positive “side effects”? You bet.

  • Easy to use — just swallow with water
  • Might give you lighter periods
  • Gives you control over when you have your period
  • Some pills clear up acne
  • Can reduce menstrual cramps and PMS
  • Some pills offer protection against some nasty health problems, like endometrial and ovarian cancer, iron deficiency anemia, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease

The Negative
Everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they're not a problem. And if you do experience side effects, they'll probably go away. Remember, you're introducing hormones into your body, so it can take a few months to adjust. Give it time.

Things that will probably go away after two or three months:

  • Bleeding in between periods
  • Sore breasts
  • Nausea and vomiting

If you still feel uncomfortable after three months, switch methods and stay protected. You're worth it.

*For a very small number of women, there are risks of more serious side effects.

Dang. I forgot to take my Pill! If you are interested in a receiving a friendly text reminder each day, go to www.bedsider.org .

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