Birth Control Pills. There are two basic types of Birth Control Pills. Those that contain both estrogen and progesterone are the most prescribed Pills and are also referred to as Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills(COCPs). Within the COCPs are several different estrogen and progesterone combinations all with essentially the same efficacy(~99% with perfect use) and the same reported risk, benefit and side effect profiles. Different women may respond differently to individual pills and finding the one that fits the best with an individual is mostly a process of educated trial and error. The other type of Pill is one that contains no estrogen. These pills are also known as Progesterone Only Pills(POPs) or “The Mini-Pill. POPs are most often used in situations where contraception is desired but estrogen is contraindicated. Examples of such situations include breastfeeding mothers because estrogen can reduce breast milk production, women with a history of blood clots in their lungs or legs because estrogen containing Birth Control Methods increase their risk of recurrence of those blood clots, women who have a history of classic migraine for whom estrogen containing pills are contraindicated and women who simply experience unwanted side effects with COCPs such as persist ant headaches or persistent nausea. POPs are not quite as effective as COCPs and must be taken consistently at the same time everyday. For these reasons many women’s healthcare providers reserve them for women who cannot use other methods.
There are numerous non-contraceptive benefits to COCPs. Among them are improved complexion, predictable menstrual cyles, lighter periods, decreased menstual cramping, decreased risks of some cancers and absence of PMS.