- Fertility & Reproductive Systems
Is Alesse an effective contraceptive for YOU, ladies?
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
- Alesse | Contraceptives
Honest and thorough review of Alesse empowers women to make informed choices about this oral contraceptive