Birth control pills
“The pill” is a medication used to prevent pregnancy. The pill typically refers to combined birth control pills which use two female hormones, estrogen and progestin. The hormones in the pill thicken cervical mucus, thin the lining of the uterus, and prevent a woman’s ovaries from releasing an egg (ovulation). When taken correctly, the failure rate is between 1 and 8 percent per year.
Most pill packages have active pills (with hormones) and placebo pills (no hormones). The number of placebo pills can vary depending on the type of pill. Your menstrual period should occur during the placebo pills because of lack of hormones. You are still protected from pregnancy during the placebo pills. Continuous use pills are also available. These pills reduce the number of scheduled days of bleeding by reducing the number of placebo pills or eliminating them completely.
The pill does not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections. Use latex condoms for increased protection against the transmission of STIs including HIV.