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FIND OUT ANYTHING ABOUT SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

Who Can Use Oral Contraceptive Pills?

oral contraceptive pills

The pill is the leading contraceptive choice among women in the Philippines, perhaps because of how accessible and easy it is to use. Are you interested in taking pills? Before deciding which one you’ll take, it’s also to know a bit more information about the different types.

Types of pills

There are primarily two types of pills: combined oral contraceptive pills, and progestin-only pills. They contain hormones that mimic the naturally-produced hormones in a woman’s body.

How are they different from each other?

Combined oral contraceptive pills (also called COC) contain low doses of two hormones — estrogen and progestin. On the other hand, progestin-only pills (or POP) contain just progestin, no estrogen.

Who CAN use combined oral contraceptive pills?

Almost all women (whether single, taken, or married) can use COC pills, even those who:

  • Have or have not had children
  • Are married or are not married
  • Are of any age, including adolescents and women over 40 years old
  • Had a miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy
  • Smoke cigarettes—if under 35 years old
  • Have anemia now or had in the past
  • Have varicose veins
  • Are living with HIV, whether or not on antiretroviral therapy

Who CANNOT use combined oral contraceptive pills?

COC pills may not be recommended to some women, especially if:

  • You have had a heart attack, stroke or blood clot in your legs or lungs
  • You have a family member has had a blood clot in their legs or lungs
  • You are over 35 and smoke
  • You are overweight
  • You have migraines (very bad headaches)
  • You use some types of medications or herbal remedies. The nurse will talk to you about this. 
  • You have your leg in plaster or you use a wheelchair.
  • You are breastfeeding

Whether or not you said yes in any of the statements above, it’s better to talk to your healthcare provider first if you want to start taking COC pills. They might have to check on your medical history and lifestyle first to advise you if you can take pills.

Who CAN use progestin-only pills?

Almost anyone can use POPs, including women who:

  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have or have not had children
  • Are married or are not married
  • Are of any age, including adolescents and women over 40 years old
  • Have just had a miscarriage, or ectopic pregnancy
  • Smoke cigarettes, regardless of woman’s age or number of cigarettes smoked
  • Have anemia now or had in the past
  • Have varicose veins
  • Are living with HIV, whether or not on antiretroviral therapy

Who CANNOT use progestin-only pills?

If you have had breast cancer or are taking some medications or herbal remedies, better talk to your healthcare provider first if POPs suit you.

It’s important to find out first which pill suits you before you start taking them. There are a few things that should be considered to find out if you’re fit to take pills. Don’t feel bad if you think the pills aren’t for you or your healthcare provider doesn’t recommend them. There are still a lot of other contraceptive methods to choose from, surely you’ll find one that’s perfect for you. Have a chat with your healthcare provider for more guidance.

Sources:

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/advice/contraception/combined-oral-contraceptive-pill

https://www.fphandbook.org/who-can-and-cannot-use-combined-oral-contraceptives

https://www.fphandbook.org/who-can-and-cannot-use-progestin-only-pills

https://www.familyplanning.org.nz/advice/contraception/progestogen-only-contraceptive-pill

https://www.bedsider.org/features/1026-what-you-should-know-about-birth-control-when-you-have-a-disability

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