• Oral contraceptives are medications used to prevent pregnancy. These medications have different side effects and effectiveness rates associated with them.


    The progestin-only birth control pill, or minipill, and the combined birth control pill are the two types of oral contraceptives.


    The combined birth control pill is taken every day for 28 days until it is time for a woman's menstrual cycle. The pill is not taken during the menstrual cycle. The minipill is taken every day and is taken during the woman's menstrual cycle.


    The combined birth control pill contains two synthetic hormones; estrogen and progestin. These two hormones work together to thicken the mucus around the cervix to prevent sperm from reaching an egg and preventing ovulation. It is 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. The minipill contains progestin and thickens the mucus around the cervix. It is 92 percent effective for pregnancy prevention.

    Side Effects

    The side effects for the combined pill include depression, nausea, breast tenderness, bloating, and vomiting. The minipill causes side effects such as irregular bleeding, irregular menstrual cycles, breast tenderness, and depression. Both pills may increase the chance of some types of cancer such as cervical cancer.


    According to the Mayo Clinic website, women who are over 35 and smoke should not take birth control pills as it increases their chance for a stroke.


    Mayo Clinic - Birth Control Guide

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