Sex Advice

Dear Dr. Locker: I am taking a birth control pill that the doctor said is the lowest dosage of hormone available. Wouldn't that make it easier for me to get pregnant then if I were taking a higher dose?

Answer from Dr. Locker

There are many different types of birth control pills, each provides a slightly different amount and combination of hormones. Yet the type of birth control pill does not matter when it comes to pregnancy prevention. All prescription birth control pills are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy (when used properly). Low dose pills (like brand names: Alesse, Loestrin, Ortho-tri-cyclen Low, to name just a few) protect the same as higher dose pills. Most people today are given low dose pills, because they have much fewer side effects than high dose pills. Higher dose pills may cause problems such as breakthrough bleeding, weight gain, and headaches. That’s why most people are on low dose pills. The decsion about what type of pill you should be on is to be made by your gynecologist. Your doctor should put you on the right pill for your body – that’s your doctor’s job. Your job now is to take the pill at the exact same time every single day (or as directed by your doctor) in order to be fully protected. If you notice side effects, talk about that with your doctor. Remember: You increase the risk of getting pregnant when you are on the pill if you forget to take a pill or two. If you forget to take your pill, or even if you always remember but want to be extra safe and protected from STIs, then use condoms in addition to the birth control pill. I am not a medical doctor, and I am not giving medical advice, just a little info here. Please talk with your doctor. Also, read the little pamphlet that comes with your pill packs, or look for the website for the exact brand of pills that you take to get more questions about about it answered.

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