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Is Alesse an effective contraceptive for YOU, ladies?

Updated on June 22, 2008

How To Start Using Birth Control Pills For The First Time

OK so you are thinking of using a contraceptive pill for the first time. What do you need to know to help you to make that final decision? These few facts may bring you up to speed so that you can trot off to the doctor and discuss which pill is best for you at this point in your 'contraception career'. Alesse is a good 'low dose' pill to begin with, keep reading for further information on Alesse


The Pill affects Ovulation, Your Cervical Mucous and the lining of your Uterus

First of all, let's assume that you already know that the contraceptive pill contains synthetic hormones (estrogen and progestin) that prevent you from becoming pregnant 99% of the time (if used correctly and consistently) by stopping you from ovulating each month (releasing an an egg from your ovaries). If there no egg for a little male sperm to penetrate/fertilise then no baby can develop. The other 'action' that occurs each month as a result of taking a contraceptive pill is that the mucous around your cervix (neck of your womb) is THICKENED by the progestin ingredient in the pill. Why does this help to protect you from getting pregnant- because that little sperm finds it a heck of a lot harder to swim through thick stuff than thin stuff so even in the event of an egg 'escaping', the poor little guy is exhausted even before he ever gets to that egg of yours! The third way in which the contraceptive pill affects your body is to THIN the lining of your uterus which makes it difficult for a fertilised egg to implant and grow there should it get that far. This action is a controversial one for some women who view this 'back up' effect as abortion.

When does ovulation occur?

Ovulation usually happens around day 14 of your cycle (a woman is fertile when she is ovulating and ovulation usually occurs mid cycle) most women know exactly when this happens but it can vary by about a week, depending on the length of your cycle. Ovulation almost always occurs 14 days before the next bleed. The process itself requires a maximum of thirty-six hours to complete.

In general, women do not ovulate until at least 10 days after stopping birth control pills.

If an egg IS fertilized by a sperm, it may implant itself in the uterus 6-12 days later if 'conditions are receptive, if you take the pill every day the conditions are NOT receptive.

Starting birth control pills the first time- on which Day do I take the first pill?

IMPORTANT: Use 'back up' such as condoms, diaphragm, or foam during the first month of pill taking.You can choose which day to start your pill taking regime:

  • on the day your period begins OR
  • on the first Sunday after your period begins. This will result in your period almost always beginning on a Tuesday or Wednesday every 4 weeks OR
  • on the fifth day after your period begins OR
  • you can start your pill today if there is absolutely no chance that you could be pregnant. Use a backup method of contraception until your first period.

Take one pill a day until you finish the pack. Then:

If you are using a 28-day pack, begin a new pack immediately. Skip no days between packs.

If you are using a 21-day pack, stop taking pills for 1 week and then start your new pack but you must not forget to start again 7 days later as extending the 'gap' between packs is one of the main reasons why women get pregnant while on the pill!

I'm worried about having to remember to take a pill every day

You will soon get into a routine- but it helps if you link your pill taking to another action you carry out daily such as cleaning your teeth or having a glass of water at bedtime. Keep you pill pack next to your toothbrush or in your bedside table drawer.

The pills work best if you take one at about the same time every day (this is especially important for the 'mini' pill). Check your pack of pills each morning to make sure you took your pill the day before.

For more facts about the 'what if' scenarios when you are on the pill, read THIS doctors excellent information.

For your FREE E-BOOK that answers all your birth control questions go HERE

An effective method of contraception- isn't that what we all want ladies?

What a trial and error journey it is though eh? There isn't any shortcut either as all our bods are unique and until we swallow a pill, even Vitamin B3 (which brings me out in an embarrassing itchy red rash all over!) we just cannot predict what reaction we shall have.

The contraceptive pills I write about are approved by the FDA so that's a start I guess but today I want to give a basic overview of one in particular, Alesse.

Regardless of which 'pill' suits you, for all of them to be most effective, you must use them correctly.

All hormonal contraceptive pills can cause some side effects, in varying intensities, in some women. After all, we are swallowing chemicals that affect our natural hormone levels each month, just like being pregnant does!

Many women who wish to manage their birth control in a convenient way find that Alesse suits them very well (Alesse is also sold under the brand names Aviane, Levlite, Levlen, Levota, Tri-leven, Triphasil, Trivora and Triphasil-28 -the active ingredients in these pills are levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol)

The synthetic female hormones in Alesse do 3 things in your body:

  • stop your egg from escaping from your ovary. This event, which happens once a month (per cycle) is called 'ovulation'. No egg to fertilize boys? No heir this month!
  • alter the consistency of the mucous around your cervix (neck of the womb)- now this REALLY makes it tough swimming for those eager little spermies. Alesse makes the mucous much thicker than normal so it stops the 'boys' from reaching an egg even if one does manage to escape
  • change the nature of the lining layers of your uterus (womb)- this lining becomes much thinner than normal so that a fertilised egg, called a 'zygote' at this stage, does not find ' a comfortable room at the inn' to bed down in, no attachment to the uterus means no baby grows to buy yet darling

If you take Alesse make sure that.....

You follow the instructions on the packet or your doctor's orders. The pills are laid out in a sequence you must follow on each day of your menstrual cycle. Take a pill daily and at the same time if you can for maximum effectiveness and protection. If you miss a pill, there are options to keep you protected, which may mean taking a double dose the next day but check with the doctor first because missing an 'inactive pill' (one of the dummy 7) is no cause for concern.

Some warnings to heed

Are you pregnant now or have you just had a child? If so, do not take Alesse.

Do you fall into one of these groups below ? If you do, you should also avoid taking Alesse or any other type of oral contraceptive pill:

  • women who have problems with blood clotting, abnormal bleeding every month, circulation or high blood pressure
  • women with diabetes
  • women who have cancer of the uterus or breast (these are related to hormone problems)
  • women with liver problems

Extra precautions to take when you first start taking Alesse

As the Irish say 'To be sure, to be sure' and I'm not telling you to use 2 condoms at the same time but even one and maybe a spermicide is good 'insurance' against pregnancy during the first few weeks until your body adjusts to the changing levels of hormones caused by Alesse.

We are told that if we take an oral contraceptive, we increase our chances of developing 'plaque' in our arteries and subsequently developing a heart disease. This is specially true for smokers and women over 35 years of age. While this does not suddenly appear overnight, it is wise to heed this warning if you plan to take Alesse for years and years without a break and I would be looking for an alternative method of birth control if I smoked.

Are you taking other medicines besides 'the pill'?

As with all 'cocktails' of mixed medications, your doctor MUST be told if you are taking 'over the counter medicines' (yes, I know it sounds silly but even vitamins and mineral supplements) or any other prescribed medication as well as Alesse, since they could reduce the effectiveness of this contraceptive and you would unknowingly be putting yourself at a higher risk of getting pregnant.

And last but not least - those side effects!

It would be irresponsible of me not to mention the main side effects that some women have reported when using Alesse. Every BODY is unique remember, so while you should not tempt fate by expecting to have side effects yourself, you should monitor your reactions carefully when taking Alesse and try to distinguish between monthly changes that you usually have with your period and any different ones you get with Alesse. Unfortunately, (well, I suppose that depends on the way you look at it too!) some women seem to have less interest in sex altogether when on 'the pill'.

Mild nausea is not uncommon but often fades after the first couple of months.

Birth defects have been linked to hormonal contraceptives though no studies have proved this.

The production of breast milk in some women has slowed down but I, for one, do not recommend that you use a hormonal contraceptive, including Alesse, while you are breastfeeding because you don't know what it will do to your baby.

Some other women have found that they feel depressed, have a little swelling or numbness, notice an increase in hair growth or a darkening of their skin and some women even find that their contraceptive 'pill' affects the wearing of their contact lenses. It's possible that you may have a side effect not listed here too.

Common Sense is the key, trials and careful monitoring will hopefully reward you with an effective contraceptive pill, either Alesse or one of the other popular ones, that you will find convenient, comfortable and will empower you to enjoy your sexuality and manage your birth control successfully.

Carole is committed to providing the latest information on oral contraceptives


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi there,

      I visited a GP today to ask about the use of BC to delay a period, as I am going on vacation, he gave me a prescription for a pack of alesse 21. I am in no way looking to use this as a contraceptive, I was just curious as to how likely it was to delay my period til the end of the pack if I'm starting it mid cycle?

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hello! aabbbke interesting aabbbke site! I'm really like it! Very, very aabbbke good!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      yeah, no. BCP does not cause abortions, KB, which is what you are implying.

    • Katherine Born profile image

      Katherine Born 

      9 years ago from Saskatchewan, Canada

      One thing to note about taking any form of synthetic hormone is that there can be an ethical concern. When a woman's body levels of the hormone sink (during the "off" sugar pill week), light menstruation occurs whether or not there is a fertilized egg in her womb. So if an egg was released (it does happen occasionally even on the pill), the sperm made it up and it got fertilized, it will be "washed out" with the rest of the lining. Those who believe life begins at conception would then say that an abortion has occurred. Those who call it "life" when the baby comes out would not have a problem with this possibility.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      my girlfriend and I didn't use a condom on Sunday and I was just wondering what our chances are for pregnancy... She takes the pill perfectly everyday at the same time and never missed a pill once for 11 months.... what are our chances?? i talked to our doctor about the medicines she is on and they are all ok.. cause she knows about the birth control...

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Dear Sweetpie-oxx, I amd SO sorry for the delay in answering your query, I went o/seas and believe it or not was unable to get an internet connection (yes, even in Maccas!) to work on my laptop so have been in 'catch up mode' ever since and concentrating on my main website.

      Obviously by now you will know the outcome of your 'missed pill' but I would encourage you to use condoms if possible as well as you bc pill. Apparently, while we may not admit it, 30-50% of us miss taking 3 or more low dose birth control pills per month! Human error causes accidents and it was found that in a survey done of low income teenagers under the age of 20, who are living with their boyfriends and who are using the contraceptive pill, the failure rate is almost 50%. This means that out of 100 girls, 48 of them will have a pregnancy within 12 months.

      Sperm can survive for up to 5 days inside you! The most dangerous time to miss a pill is at the end or beginning of a packet because it lengthens the pill free interval beyond seven days which means that you may not have absorbed sufficient synthetic hormones to prevent you from ovulating in the next month.

      You did well to take two pills the day aftyer you missed- however, IF this happens again PLEASE use a barrier method as backup for at least 7 days. Female condoms are worth a try if your boyfriend doesn't like male ones but you both need added protection from STIs unless you have been tested and found OK.

      Once again, my apologies for being no help to you whatsoever when you needed it but maybe this information will help you in the future.

      Kind regards Carole

    • profile image


      10 years ago

      question, i've been on alesse 28 for 3 months now. what are the chances of me getting pregnant when i forgot to start my 4th pack sunday. i just doubled up on this safe, or could it result in pregnancy? also, i just had sex with my boyfriend last night, & we don't use condoms, can the sperm live inside me long enough to fertilize the egg [if it's realesed because of my missing a pill of course]


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