Birth control pills or contraceptive pills are medicines with hormones that prevent pregnancy. These medicines are safe, affordable, and effective. Just make sure to take your pill on time. Aside from preventing pregnancy, contraceptive pills in the Philippines have lots of health benefits too. Get to know more about birth control pills in this article!
Contraceptive pills in the Philippines: Pills to prevent pregnancy
Combined oral contraceptive pills (OCP or “the pill”) are used by over 100 million women worldwide and are considered almost 100% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies when taken as directed.
Like any drug, the pill comes with some side effects that may affect some. Breast tenderness, nausea, and headaches are common reactions.
On the other hand, the Pill also has a range of benefits other than, of course, preventing unplanned pregnancies. These include regulating the menstrual cycle, controlling acne, and relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful and heavy menses.
Pills anti pregnancy
Dr Christopher Ng, obstetrician and gynecologist from GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic at Camden Medical Centre in Singapore, brings you expert information about the pill.
Birth control pills Philippines
Contraceptive pills in the Philippines are also known as Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills (COCs). The tablet delivers a combination of progestin and estrogen.
Pills for anti pregnancy
All women can use birth control pills to avoid unexpected pregnancies, but each has a different progestin-to-estrogen ratio. Certain types of pills for birth control might cause effects of birth control pills like weight gain, alterations in your menstrual cycle, an escalation or subsidence of acne, and more.
If you intend to use birth control pills for an extended period of time, it is advisable to obtain a prescription. Some advantages of COCs include decreased dysmenorrhea, regularizing your menstrual cycle, and perhaps a decrease in uncomfortable PMS.
Types of pills for birth control: Pills to prevent pregnancy
There are different types of pills for anti pregnancy or birth control. It is important to know the difference between the following types of pills for anti pregnancy to understand how it works.
Synthetic forms of progesterone and estrogen are used in combination pills.
The menstrual cycle is controlled by estrogen. The middle of your cycle is when your natural estrogen levels are at their highest, and the day before your period is when they are at their lowest.
Following ovulation, progesterone aids in the endometrium’s thickening, preparing the uterus for pregnancy. Progesterone in high doses can also prevent ovulation.
Combination pills come in 28 pills per pack. Most tablets contain hormones when taken during a cycle, making them active. There are no hormones in the remaining pills because they are inactive.
The sole hormone found in progestin-only tablets is a progestin (synthetic progesterone). Another name for this type of pill is the mini pill.
Women with heavy periods find that stopping the bleeding with merely progestin-containing pills. If you have deep vein thrombosis, a history of stroke, aura migraines, heart disease, or peripheral vascular disease and are unable to take estrogen for any reason, they might be a good alternative for you.
Estrogen pills should also be avoided if you smoke and are over 35 because these two conditions can increase your chance of developing a blood clot.
All pills in progestin-only pills are active.
Over-the-counter birth control pills in the Philippines
Here is a list of contraceptive pills in the Philippines
- Althea, Ancea, Crimson, Diane-35 (Cyproterone/Ethinylestradiol)
- Mercilon, Marvelon 28 (Desogestrel)
- Yaz, Yasmin (Drospirenone)
- Gestondene, Gynera (Gestodene)
- Micropil, Micropil Plus, Nordette, Microgynon 30 (Norethisterone)
- Trust, Cazul, Charlize, Femme, Lady, Seif, Blush (Lelvonorgestrel)
- Logentrol (Norgestrel/EE)
- Gracial (BIPHASIC Desogestrel,/EE)
- Logynon, Trinordiol (TRIPHASIC Levonorgestrel/EE)
- Natazia (QUADRIPHASIC Estradiol valerate and Dienogest)
Photo by Rax pixel from Freepik
Contraceptive pills in the Philippines: Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What ingredients are usually found in the pill, and how do they work?
A: OCPs contain two hormones, estrogen, and progestogen. These prevent ovulation, making fertilization, and therefore pregnancy, impossible.
Q: How do you take the pill?
A: A pack of OCPs contains 21 pills, one for each day. At the end of those three weeks, the woman takes a break for seven days, wherein menstruation occurs. The woman then starts on the next packet.
For a woman going on the pill for the first time, it is now the practice to take the first-ever pill on the first day of the period.
Q: Can anyone take the pill?
A: The pill is not suitable for women who:
- Might already be pregnant
- Are over the age of 35 and are heavy smokers or who have stopped smoking for less than a year
- Are overweight with BMI >35
- Have a past experience with a blood clot
- Someone who has heart abnormality, circulatory disease, or high blood pressure
- Have very severe migraines or migraines with aura
- Someone who has breast cancer now or within the last five years
- Have active liver or gallbladder disease
- Have diabetes with complications, or have had diabetes for more than 20 years
Q: At what age can a woman start taking the pill?
A: There is no age limit for a woman to take the pill.
However, women over 35 who are also heavy smokers and obese (BMI > 35) should not take the pill as it can increase their risk of deep vein thrombosis.
Young pubescent girls who experience menstrual problems like menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, irregular menstruation, and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder that are severe enough to disrupt their schooling and daily lives can also start on the pill after consultation with their doctor.
Women who are sexually active and want to prevent an unplanned pregnancy can start on the pill, provided they have no underlying health issues or risk factors.
Q: How soon do contraceptive pills in the Philippines start working once you take them?
A: If you start the pill on the first day of your menstruation, you are immediately protected. If you start it any other day, you will need to take the Pill for 7 days before it is effective.
Q: What happens if I forget to take one and have sex on that day?
Image from Freepik | Contraceptive pills in the Philippines
A: If you take the pill and have missed one for less than 12 hours, you do not need to worry.
- Take the missed pill as soon as you remember and the remaining pills as normal.
- You do not need to use any additional contraception.
- If you have unprotected sex, you do not need emergency contraception.
However, if you have missed the pill for more than 12 hours:
- Take the last pill as soon as you remember and the remaining pills as normal. This may mean taking two pills on the same day or even at the same time.
- If you have more than seven pills left in your pack, finish the pack and start the next packet after a seven-day break as usual.
- If you have less than seven pills left in your pack, finish the pack but skip the “pill-free break” and start a new pack the next day. This may mean you don’t get a bleed until the end of the second pack. If you do not get a bleed, speak to your doctor immediately. You must use additional contraception (such as condoms) or abstain from intercourse for the next seven days.
- If you had unprotected sex in the last seven days, get advice from your GP or gynecologist.
Q: How do I get birth control pills?
A: You will need to consult a GP or a gynecologist before the pill can be prescribed. They will assess your risk factors, medical history, and lifestyle needs.
Q: What are mini pills, and who can take them?
A: The mini pill, also known as the progesterone-only birth control pill (POP), is an oral contraceptive that contains the hormone progestin. Unlike combination birth control pills, the mini pill doesn’t contain estrogen. The progestin dose in a mini pill is lower than the progestin dose in any OCP.
Breastfeeding mothers can use this as a form of contraception. POP can also be used by women who can’t use contraceptives that contain estrogen. These can be women with high blood pressure, previous blood clots, or who are overweight. Women can take POP even if they are over 35 and smoke.
The disadvantage is that the POP must be taken daily and has a strict consumption schedule. If taken more than three hours late, it may not be effective hence it is not the best option for women who are busy and forgetful.
List of contraceptive pills for breastfeeding moms in the Philippines
- Lynestrenol or DAPHNE
A progestin that is identical to the hormone progesterone that naturally exists in a woman’s body is in extremely small amounts in the progestin-only medicine lynestrenol (DAPHNE).
The 28 white, round, flat, beveled-edged pills that make up this contraceptive pill have the letter “L” inscribed on one side and are plain on the other.
Lynestrenol (DAPHNE), the hormonal contraception of choice for breastfeeding moms, has no impact on nursing or a child’s growth.
Q: Can I take other drugs while on contraceptive pills Philippines?
A: Some medicines can interact with the pill and reduce its effectiveness. The following medications cannot be taken with the pill:
- Some types of antibiotics called rifampicin and rifabutin
- Some herbal remedies, such as St John’s Wort
- Others are anti-epileptic drugs (AEDs) that are used to treat epilepsy (seizures), such as carbamazepine
- Some antiretrovirals (ARVs) that are used to treat HIV, such as ritonavir
Q: Do I need to take all the pills in the packet? Some of them are just sugar pills, right?
A: Some types of pills contain four “dummy pills” out of the packet of 28 pills. They are there so that women will not forget to take the Pill or get confused about when to stop and start a new packet.
It is alright to skip these 4 tablets, but you must remember to start the next packet four days after the last hormone pill. Some women choose to start the next packet immediately after the last hormone tablet and miss the four “dummy tablets”. By doing this (i.e., taking two consecutive packs without a four-day “dummy” break), menstruation will not come during that month.
Q: At what age should I stop taking contraceptive pills?
A: It is safe to take the OCP beyond 35 if you are not an active smoker and/or obese.
If you have no other underlying health issues or risk factors as mentioned above, you can continue to take the OCP as long as you need the contraceptive benefits, which for some women can be up to when they menopause.
How to use birth control pills
Combination pills come in a variety of formats. These consist of recurring packets with cycles of 21, 24, or 28 days. There are extended regimens after 91-day cycles. In each of these formulations, you take one pill every day at the same time.
If you begin taking your combination pill no later than five days after the start of your period, you will be instantly protected against pregnancy.
To gain protection if you start taking the pills at any other time, you must do so for an entire week. Use another form of birth control during this time, such as a condom.
On the other hand, progestin-only pills are only offered in packs of 28. Like with combination medications, you take one pill every day at the same time.
You will be protected against pregnancy after taking 2 consecutive pills within 48 hours if you are on a progestin-only pill, as these tend to work more quickly than combination pills. Use another birth control technique, such as a condom, if you don’t want to wait 48 hours before having sex.
Birth control pills side effects
Although most people consider birth control pills safe, there are risks and negative side effects of birth control pills.
Some individuals encounter adverse effects, such as:
- decreased sex desire
- bleeding or spotting in between cycles
- sensitive breasts
- discomfort in the stomach
- more vaginal leakage
Long-term side effects of birth control pills
One of the most common negative effects of using birth control pills, especially combo tablets, is an increased risk of blood clots. This could lead to:
- thrombosis in the deep veins
- a chest ache
- pulmonary embolism
There is generally a slight risk of blood clots when using birth control pills.
For other people, however, the risk of a blood clot from the tablet is increased. Included are those who:
- Have larger bodies
- Has a blood pressure is high
- Are frequently in bed rest
Discuss the dangers of using a birth control pill with your doctor if these situations apply to you. It is important to talk to your doctor first before taking any contraceptive pills in the Philippines.
Contraceptive pills and PCOS
Aside from the health benefits of taking contraceptive pills to prevent pregnancy, birth control pills are also used to manage symptoms of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).
PCOS usually occurs in women during childbearing years or during the age of 15 to 44. It is a hormonal condition where cysts grow on the ovaries which contain immature eggs.
And because these eggs are not mature enough to trigger ovulation, it affects the levels of female hormones. A person with PCOS may have an imbalance in hormones such as estrogen, progesterone, follicle-stimulating hormone (FSL), and luteinizing hormone (LH).
If you have PCOS, your androgen levels are higher than usual, while your progesterone levels are lower than usual. You may experience ovulary dysfunction, a condition when the ovaries stop releasing eggs as normally as they should.
Besides ovulary dysfunction, a person with PCOS may also experience hyperandrogenism and have polycystic ovaries. Hyperandrogenism refers to the excessive production of androgen hormones. Androgens are hormones that contribute to growth and reproduction in both men and women.
On the other hand, having polycystic ovaries mean that your ovaries become enlarged with multiple small cysts.
According to Healthline, there is no cure for PCOS, but taking hormonal birth control pills helps manage some of their symptoms.
Photo by Cotton Bro from Pexels
Other symptoms of PCOS are the following:
- Acne breakout
- Abdominal cramps
- Hormonal imbalance
- Weight gain
- Lack of ovulation
- Irregular menstruation
- Pelvic pain
- Excess hair growth on the face and body
- Heavy period
- Darkening of the skin
Contraceptive pills, besides preventing pregnancy, are considered the first-line medical treatment for managing symptoms of PCOS.
Taking hormonal birth control pills helps lower the production of male sex hormones and manage acne breakouts. Contraceptive pills also help rule out excessive facial and body hair, baldness, and other symptoms of PCOS that are linked to high androgen levels.
Furthermore, taking hormonal birth control helps regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the risk of ovarian cancer and endometrial cancer among women.
Birth control pills or oral contraceptives are the most effective medicine that can help manage symptoms of PCOS.
According to Healthline, aside from ruling out symptoms of PCOS, taking birth control pills also gives other positive health benefits. It can reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory symptoms and symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
It can also lower the risk of developing osteoporosis and ectopic pregnancies. The most common health benefit of taking hormonal contraceptives is it decreases dysmenorrhea and anemia.
theAsianparent would like to thank Dr. Ng for his contribution to this article.
Article originally published on: theAsianparent Singapore
Additional information from Margaux Dolores and Jobelle Macayan
Here at theAsianparent Philippines, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advise or medical treatment. theAsianparent Philippines is not responsible to those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend to consult your doctor for clearer information.