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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » EXPERT ADVICE » Pregnancy Scares » Taking the pill in order

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curiouschick1990
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Hi,
In your birth control bingo article about the combination pill, you stated that for most brands of the pill - it should be taken "in order". What happens if I'm not taking the pills in accordance to the day they are marked ? In assuming that's what you meant by in order ? I am still taking one pill each day at the same time and not missing any. I just need some clarification on what that means [Wink] thanks !

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Onionpie
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Hi curiouschick! That's an excellent question. I shall explain! [Big Grin] So, most types of pill are what you call "triphasic" -- that is, they have three "phases" in the cycle, and in each phase the hormone levels differ. Basically, each of the three active weeks are their own "phase". So when we say you have to take the pills in order, it means that you must take the pills from week 1 first, then week 2, then week three. If you mix it up and for example take a pill that was meant for week 2 in week 1 instead, it can mess up the effectiveness.

It's also best if you can take them in perfect order, as in: not just taking any pill from week one, but taking the first one in the line first, then the second one, etc. That's because the hormone levels can sometimes differ a bit from the beginning of a week to the end, so it's best if you take them in order like that. But taking a pill from the middle of week one when you're at the beginning of week one is less of a problem than taking a pill from week two during week one. Does that make sense?

It doesn't necessarily matter if the day of the week it says on the packet is the same as the day you're taking it, because that can be the case if you didn't start taking the pill on the day that's written on the packet (I think the packets usually assume a sunday start and go from there, whereas sometimes people just start taking the pill from the end of their period). I'm talking about starting the pill for the very first time, just to be clear. So that just means if you don't do a sunday start when you first go on the pill, your cycles won't start on sunday from then on, so they won't align with what's written on the packet above the pills. But as long as you're taking the whole cycle of pills, and in order like I was talking about above, then that doesn't matter.

So, taking them in order of their phase, and preferably day as well, is important, but taking them on the same day it says on the packet can be disregarded if your cycle starts on a different day.

Does that help clear things up?

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curiouschick1990
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Okay let me explain my issue. About two months ago (in March) I made the big mistake of stopping my pill mid cycle to bring my period forward (which I learnt later is a no no). In that pack I only took 13 pills and then did 7 days of no pills to get my withdrawal bleed. I got my bleed which was lighter and shorter I'm assuming because I screwed up my cycle. After the 7 day placebo week I went back onto my active pills but instead of starting a new pack I just continued taking the remaining 8 left from the previous pack and then carried on taking 13 from the next pack (equalling 21 days) then into my placebo week again. Does this make sense ? Does this mean I have been taking my pill wrong for the past 3 cycles ?? :/
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curiouschick1990
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I was reading up on the different phasic pills and it seems that pills that are biphasic or triphasic have different colors to differentiate the phases but mine had one color for all active pills. Does that mean that mine is mono phasic and therefore I am safe ??
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Onionpie
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That may be the case for yours, but I can't say for sure as I don't know what brand yours is and I also don't know every single brand of pill. You can read the instructions that come in each pack of pills, or talk to a doctor to find out whether yours are multiphasic or monophasic.

I'd also recommend talking to your doctor about how you're taking your pill right now. I think it would be best to start taking the pills from the beginning, at the beginning of the cycle. But this is definitely something to talk to your doctor about, especially since they'll know for sure whether your pill is mono- or multiphasic

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curiouschick1990
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In the instructions, of my pill, it says that each yellow active pill contains 2mg cyproterone acetate and 35 ethinyloesyradiol. That to me implies that each active pill contains the same amount of ingredients/hormones in them right ? Making it monophasic?
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curiouschick1990
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I just found an article that details pill types and their specifications with brand name examples for Australia [Smile] and it states that my brand has the same amount of hormones in each pill and is monophasic. Does that mean I'm okay with the way I've been taking my pill since the hormones are the same in each pill for the cycle anyways so since I'm taking one pillow day every day with no missed or late pills that it's effective ?
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Karybu
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As long as you have taken 21 active pills and then 7 placebo pills, then another 21 active pills, etc. you should be fine in terms of effectiveness. However, it wouldn't hurt to check with a doctor or pharmacist just in case. Part of the reason pills are packaged as they are is to help ensure that you take the correct number of active and placebo pills: taking pills from different packs can make that more difficult, making it more likely that you don't take enough and therefore decrease the effectiveness.

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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