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How Does The Pill Work?

Learn how The Pill works in this Howcast video about birth control.


Birth control pills are probably one of the most well-known forms of birth control that we prescribe in the office. It is a highly effective form of birth control, but it requires motivation on the part of the user to take the pills correctly.

Birth control pills come in a pack. It can be a round pack or a square pack, and it usually comes with about 28 pills. Depending on the formula, some of the pills are active and some of the pills are not active. You'll need to review that with your doctor to make sure that you are taking the pills correctly. You take one pill every day, at the same time every day. Towards the end of the pack, you may have what's called placebo pills or fake pills. Those placebo or fake pills will be the interval that you'll have your period. Again, there are many different formulations of the birth control pills. Depending on where the placebo pills are, you will notice that you will get your period around that time.

You may notice that your pill pack only has 3 weeks worth of pills or 21 pills. If that's the case, it may be that instead of having placebo pills or sugar pills or fake pills, depending on who you speak to, you may not take any pills at all for one week. That leaves a lot of responsibility on you as the user to know exactly when you stop the hormone pills and when you start the new pack of pills. This may be a little tricky, but once you get used to using the pills on a regular basis, this will no longer be an issue.

If you have any questions about the way your pills are formulated, if you're concerned about where your fake pills are, whether you have enough hormone pills in your pack, or whether or not you have placebo pills, bring your pills with you to an appointment with your practitioner or your doctor, and they will help you figure out how to take the birth control pills correctly.

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