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New to Oral Contraceptives

By April 14, 2011 - 2:25pm
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I am so confuse about oral contraceptives, there are many on the market and this is making it difficult to choose. There are combination pills and progestin only pills. How do you choose, what is the difference and what makes one better than the other? I have migraine headaches (sometimes severe), should this be a factor to consider? I am clueless!!

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Hi Kennie,
There are various options when choosing an oral contraceptive. I will give you some information that might help you when you discuss the available choices with your doctor.
There are 2 different types: combination-contain estrogen & progestin
minipills-contain progestin only
Conventional packs usually contain 21 active pills and seven inactive pills or 24 active pills and four inactive pills. Bleeding occurs every month during the week when you take the last four to seven inactive pills.
Continuous dosing typically contain 84 active pills and seven inactive pills. Bleeding generally occurs only four times a year during the week when you take the last four to seven inactive pills. Formulations containing only 28 active pills — eliminating bleeding — also are available.
Women who are sensitive to hormones may benefit from taking a lower dose pill. However, low-dose pills may result in more breakthrough bleeding — bleeding or spotting between periods — than do higher dose pills.
This information is from the website for the Mayo Clinic. Here is the link
Here you will find more information to guide you, along with your physician's recommendations, the right pill for you. Best of luck.

April 20, 2011 - 4:43pm

Thank you for the advice. I don't believe i have menstrual migraine because my migraine don't usually affect me around that time. So I guess the next step is to have my doctor prescribe the contraceptive pills. Can you guys recommend the oral contraceptives that would be ideal to ask my doctor about?

April 20, 2011 - 11:55am
EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous (reply to Kennie)

I think you are confused. Since your migraines do not coincide with ovulation or your period, contraception will most likely not help. I would see a neurologist.

April 20, 2011 - 2:08pm

Most certainly. The first thing you should do is keep a headache diary to keep track of when your migraines occur. If you have menstrual migraines, they will occur around the time of your period and perhaps at the time of ovulation as well. Some doctors try different routes in therapy. One route if your most frequent trigger is hormones is to try a lose dose birth control pill and to NOT take the dummy pills which will make you not have a period, thus eliminating the migraines.

April 15, 2011 - 5:15pm

Hi Kennie,
The many choices can be confusing and making the right choice might seen overwhelming. It is very important to discuss the options with your gynecologist. You mention that you suffer from migraine headaches. Are the headaches worse before or during your period? This is something to discuss with your doctor. Some women who suffer from PMS chose an oral contraceptive that helps relieve those symptoms. Other women choose a pill based on cost, Your doctor knows your medical history and can guide you in choosing the right contraceptive. Here is the link to an article "Learning About Birth Control Pills": https://www.empowher.com/media/reference/learning-about-birth-control-pills
I hope that the information in this article is helpful. Thank you for finding our website.

April 14, 2011 - 5:08pm
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