Are there any effective birth control pills.
January 19, 2009 11:12 AM   Subscribe

are there any effective birth control pills out there?

1) Are there any effective birth control pills out there?

2) Does it have any side effects?

3) is it healthy

4) does it work?
posted by minsid to Health & Fitness (32 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

They are ALL effective, if used correctly. Why do you think they aren't?
posted by amro at 11:21 AM on January 19, 2009 [15 favorites]

You wouldn't be asking this unless you were very uninformed (not your fault, and good thing you've reached out for info!) or if you (or someone else) has had a bad experience with a particular type of pill.

So which one is it?
posted by ALongDecember at 11:23 AM on January 19, 2009

Response by poster: Recently got married and wife isn't comfortable with birth control pills...

That is why I am trying find out...

posted by minsid at 11:24 AM on January 19, 2009

Nuvaring is a hormonal birth control alternative that requires no pill taking. is she opposed to contraception in general?!
posted by chickaboo at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2009

Almost every pill on the market is effective if used correctly. As well, there are a ton of other birth control methodolgies, all of which are effective when done correctly.

Is there anything out there that is 100%? Just abstinence, unfortunately.

Your question leaves a lot out. What are your objections to the commonly prescribed pills, patches, rings, iud's etc.

What specifically would you like to know? (I've volunteered at family planning clinics for years. I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on the intertrons. I do however have a bunch of info handy if you can tell me what you're trying to figure out.)

Your doctor or family planning clinic can be a lot of help too, and I'd probably recommend calling Planned Parenthood if you don't have a regular GYN.
posted by dejah420 at 11:27 AM on January 19, 2009

If your wife remembers to take her pill the same time of day every day, it's the most effective form of birth control out there. But don't take my (a stranger on the internet's) word for it; her gynecologist can talk her through all of her birth control options. She should talk to her doctor.
posted by chowflap at 11:28 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

The wife's been on Yaz since...shit, I think three years now. No babies. If she forgets one, we go back to rubbers for a month, just in case. The bonus side effect is that the duration of Aunt Flo's visits are shorter, and there seems to be less emotional drama, as well.
posted by notsnot at 11:30 AM on January 19, 2009

Maybe your wife doesn't want to be on birth control and is using questions of safety, reliability, and the like as a cover...
posted by wfrgms at 11:31 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Birth control pills are, if taken properly, up to 99 percent effective. Many women take them for years with no side effects. But they do have downsides. Some studies have shown increases in the rates of certain types of cancer among women who have taken hormones (while other studies show decreased rates of other types of cancer). Many women experience a variety of side effects, including weight loss or gain, skin problems, cramping, menstrual problems, psychological issues, and other problems. Sometimes, a woman experiencing side effects can switch brands to make the side effects go away. Sometimes, the side effects persist regardless of the brand or formulation. And sometimes, a person simply doesn't want to be on medication every day indefinitely.

The bottom line is that your wife doesn't want to take daily hormone treatment. That's a perfectly valid choice, and one you should respect. If you have reason to believe that her discomfort is based on incorrect information, you should encourage her to speak to her doctor and get the facts. But you should not pressure her to take a medication she doesn't want to take, even if you disagree with her reasons.
posted by decathecting at 11:32 AM on January 19, 2009 [3 favorites]

I never understand AskMe questions like this. The information you're asking for is all over the internet. A simple Google search for "birth control effective" gives me this link.

If, on the other hand, your question is actually, "How do I convince my wife to use birth control, because she doesn't want to use it and I don't understand why," then that is a much tougher question to answer and might have something to do with your wife being worried about gaining weight or perhaps she actually wants to have a child.
posted by billysumday at 11:34 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Since you're in (presumably) a monogamous relationship, I'd also encourage her to talk to her doctor about the Mirena IUD. It's arguably the most effective method of birth control this side of you both getting sterilized, and is likely to have less hormonal side effects than the pill.
posted by mercredi at 11:34 AM on January 19, 2009

Why not ask your wife why she's not comfortable. It could be anything from "I'm afraid I might not remember an everyday pill," to "I believe hormonal birth control is a form of abortion.*" Ask her and then go to a gynecologist together to explore her and your different birth control options.

*I do not believe this. Some people do.
posted by cooker girl at 11:35 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

Here is a lot of information on birth control methods from Planned Parenthood.
posted by Pants! at 11:35 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Ah, shoulda previewed.

Well, there are risks to birth control pills, especially if your wife is a smoker. But there are other alternatives, both hormonal and barrier.

Here's some information on non-hormonal options.

The CDC says that condoms by themselves are 98% effective and condoms with spermicide is 99% effective. (When used correctly.)

There's also the rhythm method, ovulation calendars and all kinds of fairly data intensive methodologies. (Disclosure: Both my husband and myself were rhythm method's not terribly accurate, judging by the sheer number of "oops" babies I knew growing up in Catholic schools.)

But more than anything, I reiterate that your wife should talk to a medical professional about this. The Hive Mind can't (and shouldn't) be used to "convince" her to use a medication that she doesn't want to take. She may have really valid reasons; cancer in her family/genetics, knowing someone (like me) who was stupid enough to get a Norplant, the insane weight gain that some people have...there's a whole host of reasons *not* to take the pill for a lot of people.

There are other methods...including vasectomy...that are out there. Birth control isn't just a woman's domain, doncha know.
posted by dejah420 at 11:36 AM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Hold on, are you asking about a pill for men?
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:52 AM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

If your wife is having sex (and frankly, i'm hoping she is, with you!) She should be seeing a gyno once a year, at least, for a regular examination. She should find a good one, too! IF she doesn't have one, she should be asking around for personal recommendations. (heck, I was new to the city, and ended up asking my boss for her gyno's number. It's a little embarassing, but very worth it.) A good one will spend some time talking to her, asking her questions about her life, her timetable for starting a family, what would be good and safe for her medically, and what she is personally comfortable with as far as birth control options. This is not something to screw around with (pun definitely indtended.)
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 12:18 PM on January 19, 2009

Since you're in (presumably) a monogamous relationship, I'd also encourage her to talk to her doctor about the Mirena IUD. It's arguably the most effective method of birth control this side of you both getting sterilized, and is likely to have less hormonal side effects than the pill.

why just mirena? hooray for paragard (copper IUD) which is equally effective, cheap and easy. plus, no hormones.

but uh, yeah, the more logical answer would be talk to your wife about her concerns/ encourage her talk to her doc.
posted by lblair at 12:21 PM on January 19, 2009

Any one woman's response to a particular brand of hormonal birth control won't really tell you how your wife will react to it. In my experience it takes some trial and error to figure out which one is best for you so if your wife experiences side effects from whatever she's first prescribed, she should probably ask her doctor to suggest something else. And just because I tell you that I hated Ortho-Tricyclen (for example - it's actually not true) doesn't mean your wife will have a similar response.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 12:21 PM on January 19, 2009

and after realizing you also posted this question it certainly seems you are both a little underinformed about preventing pregnancy . . . That should probably be remedied ASAP.
posted by lblair at 12:24 PM on January 19, 2009 [7 favorites]

Why don't you and your wife go to a doctor/clinic TOGETHER and both get all your questions answered. Maybe your wife will have her concerns put to rest, maybe the doctor can suggest other means of birth control, etc.

And I'm with lblair that it sounds like you are very underinformed about fertility and pregnancy prevention, so this could only help with that as well. The fact that you have asked two questions related to this tells me you are trying to be responsibility and keep an accidental pregnancy from happening, so just do it properly and ask a doctor. :)
posted by gwenlister at 12:29 PM on January 19, 2009 [2 favorites]

This is a conversation that should happen between your wife and her doctor. You get to have an opinion, but ultimately it is her health. If she is uncomfortable with a certain kind of birth control, you could investigate them together. She needs to have a discussion with her doctor

I'm glad to see that you care and are interested in learning more. I recommend looking at Planned Parenthood or the following websites for trusted information
Birth control guide the Mayo Clinic
Birth Control MedlinePlus from the National Institute of Health
posted by Gor-ella at 12:55 PM on January 19, 2009

When I changed birth control methods, the nurse at Planned Parenthood and I sat down with a big chart of possible methods, compared them to my medical history, and worked out something that was acceptable to me.

This sounds like the kind of meeting your wife needs to have-- and it would probably be reassuring and encouraging to her if you went with her and got your concerns about pregnancy resolved together. It's your right and your responsibility as a couple to obtain solid information about your sexual choices and use it wisely.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 12:55 PM on January 19, 2009

Second Mercredi - I'd also go with an IUD like Mirena. Lasts 5 yrs, cheaper in the long run and way less trouble plus the bonus of hormone-driven pills (lighter period, less PMS, at least for me). Although I am a huge fan of the NuvaRing as well if you're thinking short term.
posted by HolyWood at 12:56 PM on January 19, 2009

This is your wife's decision to make. If she says she's not comfortable taking oral contraception, then maybe you need to accept that is the case instead of asking the internet to prove her wrong. Not all women are comfortable with taking hormones. There are other ways of preventing pregnancy.
posted by mandymanwasregistered at 12:59 PM on January 19, 2009 [1 favorite]

Yes, please encourage your wife to see a doctor or nurse practitioner, and offer to be present to discuss birth control methods. You both seem to be in need of some basic, medically sound information regarding fertility and contraception in general. Your local Planned Parenthood is an excellent resource if your wife doesn't have a regular doctor or OB/GYN.

And yes, there are other methods besides the Pill. Hormonal birth control is a great option for some women, but definitely not for all women. Please don't insist on them for your wife if she's not comfortable with taking them.
posted by scody at 1:10 PM on January 19, 2009

The best answer rather depends on what it is that makes your wife uncomfortable - if, for example, she's read scare stories about increased risks of blot clots from some pills, she has fallen for the Jesus Freak propoganda which conveniently overlooks that getting pregnant has an even greater risk of the same problem.

If she has other concerns, well, they may be a different matter entirely.
posted by rodgerd at 1:39 PM on January 19, 2009

please, please, please go to a doctor together and ask your questions. if you don't have insurance, go to planned parenthood. they will answer your questions, give you free condoms, and show you models of the reproductive bits and explain where babies come from. you need this education badly based on this and your previous question.

this sounds snarkier than i mean it to be, but you REALLY need to get educated before you start fornicating.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 2:33 PM on January 19, 2009

Recently got married and wife isn't comfortable with birth control pills...

What's your question asking, exactly? Can you clarify if you're asking to make her feel more comfortable or to try to "talk her into it?"

You say you recently got married - were you having sex previous to this? What form of birth control did you use? If you used something, presumably that worked, so why not stick with it? If you haven't been sexually active and are seeking birth control advice, there are a lot of good resources posted in this thread.

If you want to talk your wife into taking the pill and she doesn't want to, please don't. Birth control is an immensely personal issue and all hormonal pills have some side effects. No drug is perfect. There are plenty of other methods. Find one that you're both comfortable with. Presumably, you're having sex at the moment and using some form of birth control, what exactly is the problem with your situation?
posted by grapefruitmoon at 3:22 PM on January 19, 2009

When I was in college, the clinic on campus had a workshop where they had a woman explain all the different types of birth control, how to use them, how effective they were, the common ways they fail, and what kinds of things would make a particular type right or wrong for you. It also had things like how to give a self breast exam and what to expect out of a gynecologist appointment. And of course we could ask any questions we wanted. It was like a little mini-sex-ed class, and it sounds like exactly what you and your wife could use right now.

A Planned Parenthood or another nearby clinic would probably have something similar. Or just make a list of questions and ask them of your own doctor. If you don't have a doctor, contact some clinics, you should be able to talk to a doctor or nurse practitioner for free or very little. At the very least they should have some resources for you. Either way, your wife will have to have a gynecological exam before she can be prescribed hormonal birth control or an IUD. And if she goes on the pill, it will be her responsibility to take the pill each day at the same time. It's not really something you can do on her behalf--she has to be an active and willing participant in the process. And don't forget (either of you) that you can ask the doctor ALL the questions you have.

If you don't educate yourselves you are going to be pregnant very soon, I fear.
posted by lampoil at 7:32 PM on January 19, 2009

I am wondering if the question isn't, "We just got married and I thought this would be the end of having to use condoms, because my wife would just go on the pill, but she doesn't want to and I'm guessing it's because she thinks they aren't 100% foolproof."

It is possible to be in a monogamous relationship and still choose to use condoms as your birth control method. Many women choose to not take birth control pills due to the side effects, or many other reasons. She does not have to take them, even if you want her to.
posted by micawber at 7:40 PM on January 19, 2009

It is possible to be in a monogamous relationship and still choose to use condoms as your birth control method. Many women choose to not take birth control pills due to the side effects, or many other reasons. She does not have to take them, even if you want her to.


Just to back this point up: I'm in a long-term, monogamous relationship and my partner and I use condoms as birth control. I also used condoms during two years of my marriage. No children thus far.
posted by grapefruitmoon at 4:04 AM on January 20, 2009

I've been on birth control for over 6 years and, while it is different with every single woman, I highly prefer the patch (Ortho Evra) over the pill. For one, you don't have to remember to take one every night. And two, it makes one less dizzy and uncomfortable because you are not taking it into your system (meaning, not getting into your bloodstream). I am fairly sensitive to side effects, but Ortho Evra has been awesome and I have been on it for 2 years now. Other than the fact that it is $45-$60/month with no generic brand, I would recommend it over the ring or the pill.
posted by penguingrl at 2:40 AM on January 23, 2009

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