Combination birth control pills, also known as the pill, are oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and a progestin.
Combination birth control pills suppress ovulation — keeping your ovaries from releasing an egg. Combination birth control pills also cause changes in the cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus (endometrium) to keep sperm from joining the egg.
Different types of combination birth control pills contain different doses of estrogen and progestin. Some combination birth control pills, called continuous or extended-cycle pills, allow you to reduce the number of periods you have each year. If you'd like to use combination birth control pills, your health care provider can help you decide which type is right for you.
Nov. 18, 2011
- FAQs: Birth control pills. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/faq/faq021.cfm. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Update to CDC's U.S. Medical Eligibility Criteria for Contraceptive Use, 2010: Revised Recommendations for the Use of Contraceptive Methods During the Postpartum Period. MMWR. 2011;60:878.
- Frequently asked questions: Birth control methods. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/birth-control-methods.pdf. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Cullins V. Counseling women seeking hormonal contraception. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Kaunitz AM. Hormonal contraception for suppression of menstruation. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Martin KA, et al. Overview of the use of estrogen-progestin contraceptives. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Martin KA. Risks and side effects associated with estrogen-progestin contraceptives. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Schorge JO, et al. Contraception and sterilization. In: Schorge JO, et al. Williams Gynecology. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=3151449. Accessed Sept. 28, 2011.
- Hatcher RA, et al. Contraceptive Technology. 19th ed. New York, N.Y.: Ardent Media, Inc.; 2007:1.
- In: Combined (estrogen and progestin) contraceptives. Zieman M, et al. A Pocket Guide to Managing Contraception. Tiger, Ga.: Bridging the Gap Communications; 2010:94.
- Lidegaard O, et al. Risk of venous thromboembolism from use of oral contraceptives containing different progestogens and oestrogen doses: Danish cohort study, 2001-9. BMJ. 2011;343:6423.
- Hannaford PC. The progestogen content of combined oral contraceptives and venous thromboembolic risk. BMJ. 2011;343:6592.