Birth Control Dosage

Patient

Q: When do I start with a new pack of birth control? I'm upping my dose. I understand that I need to switch immediately to the new pack; however, I don't know which day of the new pack to start on. I'm on day 16 in the old pack (like I took it), do I start on day 17 in the new pack?

Doctor

A:   Hi welcome to Ask The Doctor,

Birth control pills are a kind of medication that women can take daily to prevent pregnancy. They are also sometimes called “the pill” or oral contraception. Birth control pills are made of hormones. Hormones are chemicals made in our bodies. They control how different parts of our bodies work. Some birth control pills contain two hormones — estrogen and progestin. These are called combination pills. Some are progestin-only pills. Most women on the pill take combination pills. The hormones in the pill work by Keeping eggs from leaving the ovaries. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm. Making cervical mucus thicker. This keeps sperm from getting to the eggs. It depends on what kind of pill you are taking. Most combination pills come in 28-day or 21-day packs. Both types have 21 active pills that contain hormones. The last seven pills in 28-day packs of combination pills are called reminder pills. They do not contain hormones. In 21-day packs, one pill is taken every day for three weeks in a row.

No pills are taken for the next week, and then a new pack of pills is started. Some combination pills contain a few months’ worth of active pills. They are specially packaged to reduce the number of periods a woman has each year. Women can also take the active pills in 21-day or 28-day packs continuously to reduce how often they have periods. Progestin-only pills come only in 28-day packs. All progestin-only pills are active.With combination pills, you’ll get your period during the fourth week unless you choose to avoid menstruation by using active combination pills during the fourth week, as well.

Hope this helps.

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