SURVIVOR SERIES: HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
We’ve all had experience with late periods before. I mean lets be real, the first couple of days that our period is MIA we’ll make excuses. No matter how absurd they may be. Eventually after a few days, we rationalize these excuses and come to terms with the fact that our period is not showing up. And boy can it be a dramatic ordeal the moment we realize our period is super late. At some point, we’ll even panic and irrationally think to ourselves, “I am LITERALLY pregnant right now, TOTALLY 100% PREGNANT.” Even though we know this isn’t the case. We’ll still try to convince ourselves there is absolutely no other explanation, despite the hundreds of reasons that prove against it. So the question is, how can we avoid this? How can we avoid those dreadful late periods? And most importantly, how can we make sure we are protecting ourselves from pregnancy to the best of our ability?
The answer is BIRTH CONTROL. I don’t just mean popping the pill, I mean actually using birth control properly and in the most effective way possible. Most individuals don’t know the very basics of the pill and don’t seem to comprehend why things have to be done in a specific way.
For a matter of fact, most people use the pill incorrectly and even tend to “miss” days. This is why we can’t have nice things. But… When the pill is used correctly, the risk of pregnancy is greatly reduced. Menstrual cycles carry out a regular and constant schedule, meaning no more late periods. All things are great!!! So make sure you follow these tips to enhance the effectiveness of your birth control pills:
- Take the pills in the correct order
There are different pills that exist in birth control packets. Different pills consist of different hormones. For example, the pills in one week may have higher estrogen levels than the pills in another week.
Taking pills out of order can abruptly change the hormone levels in your body. This can negatively affect your appetite, sleep, mood, and menstrual cycle. It’ll get you off balance!
- Take the pill everyday & avoid missing days
Everyday, of our lives, wanna find our birth control wanna hold on tight. High School Musical says it best. ALWAYS have your birth control on you because then you’ll remember to take it every day.
Missing one day of birth control is usually ok. Missing two days on the pill is not. You’ll have to catch up for another seven consecutive days in order to be in the clear.
- Take the pill at the same time every day
Plan a specific time of the day such as every morning at 7:30am, right before you go to class. Figure out a time that works best for you. Taking the pill at the same time everyday keeps your hormone levels as stable as possible!
- Set alerts/reminders
This will help you take your pills consistently every day. You can set up a reminder on your iPhone in a matter of minutes. This reminder can even be set indefinitely! You can also set alarms and download certain apps to help you track your period as well.
- Don’t skip certain pills & definitely don’t skip placebo week!
Everyone always assumes that the placebo pills are “useless” and that they can skip the entire week. This is NOT true at all.
Birth control pills produce FSH (follicle-stimulating hormones) that help subdue ovulation. This hormone remains in the system even during placebo week. So don’t skip it! You could start having irregular periods again.
- ALWAYS start a new packet the day after you finish your last pill.
The day before and after placebo week are the most important. After you take a week of inactive pills, you have to get back on schedule.The first week of your new packet is when you’re most vulnerable. So take things seriously and switch from packet to packet immediately.
- Have your next prescription ready
Make sure you obtain your next prescription before placebo week. It’s better to be prepared ahead of time then to be sorry later on. Kinneys and Rite Aid can even deliver you prescription for free! So take advantage of that here at Oswego.
- Use condoms and birth control together
This is the most effective way to reduce the chances of getting pregnant! Use two different forms of birth control at one. Especially if you missed two consecutive days of your pill or if you missed a single pill during the first week.That is when you’re most vulnerable!
The Lifestyles Center is a great source to purchase condoms from. Condoms are 10 for a $1 everyday of the week, except Wednesday. On Wednesdays (Hump Day) they’re 15 for $1. So make sure you check it out!
If you have any questions or concerns, the Mary Walker Health Center is available on campus. OCO reproductive services are offered if you need it! Call (315-312-4100) to make an appointment today.
Written by Megan Tuohey, Peer Educator