Debunking top myths about birth control pills

Dr. Jennifer Ashton debunks many myths surrounding birth control while explaining the benefits and risks of hormonal contraception.
12:35 | 09/06/19

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Transcript for Debunking top myths about birth control pills
I guys today we're talking about birth control pills birth control pill one outline on their break down all the net risk benefit options tell you everything you need to know rate here. The first and most important thing people need to know about birth control pills. Is that they contain hormones. Estrogen and a project and this is the same combination of hormones that a woman's body already me. So a lot of times I'll Hiller here Wednesday and want to take the pills because I don't wanna put hormones in my body would harm her party and so the waved at the birth control pill works is it basically. Override the signals from the brain to the ovaries. And convinces your ovaries to kind of go into hibernation. That really. Suppresses the population off. There is basically. Two main types of combination. Oral contraceptives. Birth control pills one type is called the motto is pale and one type is called the tried it. Each week of a try fees that tell the hormones are different doses. So typically it's three weeks. One week each a different dose and then the last week. Seven sugar pills or receive they can be really effective for women who have breakthrough bleeding or a regular spotting throughout the month when their on the panel. The new word type of talent by newer I mean really in the last fifteen or twenty years. Are called motto is health said this is one type of a mono Fisichella what you can notice is that three weeks. They're all the same color every single one of those hills is identical. And then the last week you had seven placebo pills seven sugar pills. Now to understand the weight at birth control pill water. Is essential for keeping it properly. Most doctors will tell women to start on the first Sunday after their period. That is. Amid. OK your body does not know what day of the week. Your body's is not the house. So I tell my patients to start on the second day of bleeding whether that's Tuesday Thursday or Friday. You get your period on the pill wrong. The bleeding you get on the pill is not a period. It is not called the period it shouldn't be called period if you were getting a period on the pill it wouldn't be working to prevent pregnancy. So we really call it a withdrawal believe. Or breakthrough bleeding if it's happening in the second or third. The new words pills you'll see a lot. Our 24 days of active pills so all the blue pills this AM then you'll see four panels. That are different in this case the white pills contain half of what the blue pills contain and the brown pills are believed Biden. But it's really important that you understand that what causes bleeding. Is not taking active pills at the end of the past. So fund fat. At the end of the blue active pills. If a woman did not want to believe she could get a new pack. And continue with the new pac. Day one of blue pills and keep going for another three and half with your body does not know whether you've been on a hill for three and a half weeks. Five weeks seven weeks or nine we call that menstrual manipulation which is super cool. Women can actually try to control and they have their believe it. I think it's important have a good relationship with a gynecologist. Health care professional so that they can help you decide how to take the field because it's not one size. Another big Mitt for the birth control pill is that all health at the same all pills are not created equally. The most important thing that women should know about birth control pill is what still. They're on and what exact project and component they're taking there's two numbers on the pill usually separated by a flash. One will generally be 10202530. Or 35 that's the dose of estrogen so you do want to know that number. And the other one is generally going to be one milligram that could be before the other number or after depending on which earlier on. And then you know exactly what type of suggesting here on. The other thing that's really really comment now is that a doctor or health care provider will write a prescription for a brand name panel. And a woman's insurance will not cover that and we'll dispense a generic pill. Not all of those generics are equivalent of the brand name. So you do want to double check that with the pharmacist and with the doctor or health care provider who wrote the prescription a big myth. About the birth control pill is that your body needs a Parikh. From being on it. Especially for a woman wants to try to get pregnant. That's not true your body are only think of it like a puppy. Few of a puppy and you go out your puppy doesn't know whether you've been gone ten minutes or ten hours they get just as excited when you walk back in the door. Your ovaries are really the same way so if your on that held for ten years and you stop taking the pill. Within two day is those hormones are out of your system your brain starts communicating with your ovaries and your ovaries start communicating with your uterus so. Women don't have to worry there's no minimum or maximum time period that they can beyond. Another myth is that the pill is perfect for every woman's. That's not true just like every issue is not perfect for every bullet. The pellet not for every one there are some women who don't feel. Good on hormonal contraceptives. They feel very moody they feel emotional. Their breast. Art tender their breasts get too large baking too much weight they believe it I think it is important to realize that the Kelly is not for every one. But it should at least be an option for women to know about it especially. As a non contraceptive. Therapy for many things which means. That gave women. Ten and do you take birth control pills and has nothing to do with preventing pregnancy something that I hear a lot from women is. I can't take the pill I was on in the past and I felt awful. And I think it's important to remember that every hell is slightly different and even if a woman was on the health for years ago five years ago ten years ago. Doesn't mean that shall have the same sentence if she tries it today. So try to have an open mind tried different panels different formulations. Different Duluth is until you find the one that works for you if the birth control pill something that your. One big men. About the birth control pill is that as long as you take a pill every day here fine it's really important to our members that are body's normal levels. Fluctuate hour to hour updated day. The way the pill works is by suppressing those signals from the brain to the ovaries and from the ovaries to the uterus. In order to do that that those levels of hormones that come from the panel that you swallow have to stay. Like that. So four women who consistently have difficulty remembering to take their pill not just every day that at roughly the same time of day and that means not minute to minute but. Within the same one to two hours in general the hell may not be the best. Treatment for them the best contraceptive method within about 24 to 48 hours the levels of hormones from the health weak case. Are dropping or out of our system completely and when that happens. Leading we'll results which is annoying. And efficacy of the pill goes way down another myth is that the pill makes acne worse. It's kind of true but ultimately that is a myth because. What we see you with in general with hormonal acne that initially there can definitely be. Bear in someone's actually let me start taking the pill so I will warn women and teenagers that initially they're acting like it works. Before it gets better but by 369. Month. Their skin should be dramatically. That are on the hill and it was off but how. I cannot emphasize this enough if you smoke. You really should not be taking birth control pills it increases the risk of what we call from lot of events which is basically like it can cause stroke. Heart attack. It can cause a blood clot that could be fatal a woman who's had breast cancer. You're not gonna find a doctor in this country who. It's gonna blast that woman taking more even if there particular breast cancer is not currently responsive women over the age of 35 with a history of classic migraine. So these are migraines with aura or visual symptoms are at higher risk of developing a stroke if they take birth control pills over the age of 35 there are side effects that are generally considered. Class effect. Of hormonal contraception. So the biggest one is an increase in the risk of developing a blood clot and that could be in your leg. Long it could travel to parts of your heart or even your brain that risk. In the general population. Is about one in ten sounds. Something that obviously women have to take every day there is cost involved some women will have. More uncommon. Type. Still annoying side effects from the hill irregular bleeding or breakthrough leading some women get over worsening. Their acne temporarily on the tell someone and we'll have hair loss weight gain. Is a big net. For birth control pills average amount of we gain in women taking birth control pill is one to two pounds. That's average benefits to the birth control pill there is. A long list of what we call non contraceptive benefits the pill for most women. A class effective birth control pill is that it makes almost everyone's period shorter lighter less painful so bleeding control is huge on the pill. We have a saying in gynecology like treats like so if you have problems with bleeding one good way to attempt to. Fix it would be hormone only. And the birth control pill can be as good way to do that other benefits that help big risk reduction in the lifetime chances of developing ovarian and uterine cancer just as having multiple full term pregnancies lowers that risks so it is being on birth control pill birth control pills can also reduce the chances and fifth on the ovaries. It's an amazing off label treatment for acne because all birth control pills suppress the level of testosterone in the body and I. Back and be a great way to treat juvenile acne. It can also lasts and body care although that takes more time at CNET that it's a great ways to manage our tree he and that PM CD and it's a very very good method of birth control. In terms of efficacy. Big bad people think birth control pills are a 100% effective at preventing pregnancy not true. With typical use birth control pills had in 9%. Failure rate. So what is typically used me and that means the way that an average woman takes the pill that's just something that women and their partners have to be aware. I think part of the reason the birth control pill is the most popular form of contraception in the US. Really have to do with a slew of non contraceptive benefits that come with the hill you know for almost every woman were teenage girl but hell will improve acne. That's a huge plus women who have poly cystic ovarian syndrome or PC OS a lot of them have. Symptoms that are managed very very well we have a low dose birth control pill women who have severe menstrual cramps. Menstrual migraine. PM math and the list goes on and I and so we get the pill in gynecology and women's health force fill many reasons. And it's really a lot of bang for the buck in terms of what women are getting improvement. We it. With just one hill instead of multiple pills so. I think for a lot of women that health popularity really stems from its non contraceptive benefits and oh by the way it's pretty effective at preventing pregnancy tale.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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