Birth control pills are one of the most common methods of contraception aside from condoms. However, unlike men who just have to look for the right size and fit to find one that is suitable for them, women cannot just use a pack of pills and switch to another for their next cycle. Similar to dating, most women may have to try and endure different pills and their side effects before finding the right one. For women who are thinking of switching birth control pills, below is guide on making the switch as smooth as possible:
1. Discuss plans to switch pills with your gyne.
Your gynecologist is your primary ally in your quest for better sexual health. Discuss the effects of your current pills with your gynecologist and how these affect your daily activities. Your gyne can help you determine whether these side effects are normal or are in excess. If you have a specific brand of pills in mind, confide in your gynecologist. There are two kinds of pills, combination pills and progestin-only pills. Depending on the kind, most pills have similar formulations. Your new pill of choice may have the same formulation as your current pill which will make the switch ineffective.
2. Continue taking your old pill while waiting for the go-signal to switch.
When your gyne warned you about stopping and switching to another pill during the middle of your cycle, heed the advice. Stopping and switching to another pill during the middle of your cycle can cause breakthrough or heavy bleeding and other symptoms like nausea and headaches. Aside from these, switching at the wrong time increases the chances of unwanted pregnancies and decreases the effectivity of the new pill.
3. Take your placebo or inactive pills while waiting.
Birth control pills are usually on 21-day cycles with 7 days of free-pill days before you start on a new pack. If you and your gyne agreed to switch on the next cycle, take your placebo pills during the 7 days in between your cycles. This will cause you to have a period and prime your body for the next cycle and new pills.
4. Use additional birth control method.
Pills need 7 days in your system to be fully effective in preventing pregnancies. So after starting your new pill pack, consider and use another birth control method when you engage in sexual intercourse. Additional birth control methods can come in the form of condoms or spermicides.
5. Give your body time to adjust.
Allow yourself a few cycles of using the new pill before deciding whether it is suitable for you. It is normal to experience irregular symptoms after your first cycle of taking the new pill. It may take a long time before your body can get accustomed to the switch and change in hormones. You may have to endure a few side effects like headaches, excess weight, or heavy bleeding during this adjustment period. If the symptoms really worry you, consult your gyne about them.