Young women might consider taking birth control for a number of reasons. It’s a primary form of contraception, but it also offers other health benefits. Your doctor might advise you to take it for reasons other than preventing pregnancy. Here’s everything that you should know.

A Guide to Birth Control Pills

What are the benefits of birth control?

If you don’t want to get pregnant, your women’s health provider will likely recommend that you take birth control. But a combination pill that contains both progestin and estrogen can also minimize breakouts, reduce the occurrence of ovarian cysts, cut your risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer, and lessen the severity of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). It may also relieve menstrual pain and contribute to lighter periods.

Do you need your parents’ permission?

Minors don’t need their parents’ permission to obtain a birth control prescription from their doctor. While there’s no specific age at which you can begin, you should at least wait until you start getting your menstrual period. Providers may also recommend that you wait until you’re at least 16 years of age, when your cycle is likely to be more regular.

How do you take the pill?

doctorIt’s best to make a habit of taking the pill at the same time each day so you won’t forget. Pills are prescribed in packs. If you have three-week packs, you’ll take a pill a day for 21 days, then skip them entirely for the following seven days; you’ll start your period during that last week. If you have a 28-day pack, you’ll take a pill for each of these days and begin a new round on the 29th day. The final week of pills are placebos that are free of hormones; you will start your period during that time. In some cases, doctors prescribe 91-day packs that include three months of hormone pills and a single week of placebos. This ensures you get your period only four times a year.

Does it cause any side effects?

When you first start taking birth control, you may experience some side effects. Among the most likely are nausea, soreness in the breasts, and spotting between periods. Typically, these should subside within a couple of months. If you continue to have discomfort, however, ask your women’s health provider about trying something new. There are many different types of birth control available, and it may take some experimentation.

If you’re interested in finding out about your birth control options, turn to Patients First Medical Clinic in Anchorage, AK. The doctors here are committed to your comfort and wellbeing and will take the time to answer all of your questions about women’s health. To find out more and to make an appointment, visit the medical clinic online, or call (907) 333-7425 to speak with a representative.