Student Health Services
Holloway Hall

How Does it Work?

Pills (estrogen/progestin & progestin-only) prevent ovaries from releasing eggs. The cervical mucus also thickens to prevent the joining of sperm and egg. Both types can also prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus.

How Well Does it Work?

If taken correctly, the pill has a 95% success rate. However, birth control pills must be taken at the same time every day. The pill can also be ineffective if two or more pills are missed, if they are taken in the wrong order, or if the pack is started too late. The pill offers no protection against STDs.

What are the Advantages?

  • More regular periods
  • Less menstrual flow
  • Less menstrual cramping
  • Less iron deficiency anemia
  • Less acne
  • Less premenstrual tension
  • Significant reduction of ovarian and endometrial cancer risk
  • Offers protection against breast tumors and ovarian cysts
  • Risk reduction for osteoporosis

Who Should Not Use the Pill?

  • Women who think they might be pregnant
  • Women who smoke
  • Women with a tendency to develop blood clots
  • Women who have had liver tumors, breast cancer, or uterine cancer
  • Women with heart disease, liver disease, high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels
  • Diabetics

What Are Some Common Side Effects?

  • Breast tenderness
  • Weight gain or loss
  • Spotting between periods (usually clears up within 2-3 months)
  • Depression
  • Increased or decreased sexual desire

    MISSED CONTRACEPTIVE PILL TRIAGE GUIDELINES 

    Following guidelines apply to Cyclessa (Organon), Desogen (Organon), Mircette (Organon), Ortho Novum 7/7/7, Ortho Tri Cyclin, Ortho Tri Cyclin-Lo, and Yasmin (Berlex).  

    Missed ONE active pill:

    • Take it as soon as you remember. 
    • This means you may take 2 pills in one day.
    • No need for backup method. 

    Missed TWO active pills in a row: 

    During week 1 or 2:

    • Take 2 pills the day you remember and 2 pills the next day.
    • Then take 1 pill a day until the pack is finished.
    • You may become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after you missed your pills.  Use a backup method for 7 days. 

    During Week 3:

    If Day 1 Starter:  Throw out rest of pill pack & start new pack that same day.  You may not have your period this month, but this is expected.  However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call because you might be pregnant.  You may become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after your missed pills.  You must use another backup method during those 7 days if you have sex.

    If Sunday Starter:  Keep taking 1 pill a day until Sunday.  Then on Sunday throw out the rest of the pack & start a new pack.  You may not have your period this month, but that is expected.  However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call  because you might be pregnant.  You may become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after your missed pills.  You must use another backup form of birth control during those 7 days if you have sex. 

    Missed 3 OR MORE active pills in a row during 1st 3 weeks:

    If Day 1 Starter:  Throw out the rest of the pill pack & start new pack that same day.  You may not have your period this month, but this is expected.  However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call because you might be pregnant.  You may become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after your missed pills.  Use another backup birth control method for those 7 days.

    If Sunday Starter:  Keep taking 1 pill a day until Sunday.  On Sunday, THROW OUT the rest of the pack & start a new pack of pills that same day.  You may not have your period this month, but that is expected.  However, if you miss your period 2 months in a row, call because you might be pregnant.  You may become pregnant if you have sex in the 7 days after your missed pills.  Use another backup birth control method for those 7 days.

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