Today I got prescribed Alesse-28. I have some questions about when to start the pills as I have had some conflicting information and would just like to clear everything up before I start.
The first is that I was told that my the doctor that my pills become effective after 21 days but the pharmacist and the booklet that came with my pills said that should I start at any point in my cycle the pills will be effective as contraception within 7 days. Is the 21 days just for insurance? And if it is that it takes a full cycle for them to become effective does that mean 21 pills? Or do I need to have a "period" between packs for it to count as a cycle and become effective?
I am going to visit my boyfriend in exactly 21 days and would rather not be bleeding during that time so if I just stated a second pack of pills would that cover me? Would the 21 pills on their own count as a cycle? Or do I need to have the withdrawal bleed for it to count?
Also what are the risks of starting any time in my cycle? At this point it has been about 7 days after the last day of my period and so I am either about to ovulate, if I haven't already. Does starting the pill having ovulated make the pills less effective? I have worries that the egg will just sit there forever (despite knowing that it is only viable for a very short period of time). The physician today told me that it would make me more prone to spotting, but she didn't mention pregnancy risks? I assume this is again, only for the 21 days but I am not sure at all.
I am trying to base when to start my pills around all this and to be as protected as possible during my trip. I realize that I can use other methods of contraception but I would also like my pills to be as effective as they can.
In theory, you can start the pill at any point in the cycle. However, if you start in the middle of your menstrual cycle, you will want to wait out the entire first cycle (including the withdrawal week) before relying on the pill alone for protection.
If you start your pill on the first day of a period, or start on the first Sunday after the first day of your period, you have a higher chance of the pill becoming fully effective much sooner. Most brands of the pill claim to be at full protection after the first 7 days. However, we still recommend backing up with condoms for the entire first month, just to be on the safe side.
I would not recommend taking two packs back to back if you are just starting out on the pill. Starting hormonal birth control can have some side effects, and skipping the bleed might make those worse. To boot, skipping bleeds does not always work, and you might end up getting your bleed anyway, or spotting for a while.
Do also be aware that the pill does not protect you from STIs, so until you have both been tested, you'll want to continue to use condoms anyway.
-------------------- Johanna Scarleteen Volunteer
"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand Posts: 9192 | From: Cologne, Germany | Registered: Sep 2005
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Oh ok, thank you, this is very interesting!
I am confused only because I was told by the packet that it would be effective 7 days after starting any time but according to what you said that is only the case if you start it on the first day of my period?
I have also heard that the reason they suggest you wait until the beginning on your period is to ensure that you are not already pregnant?
Posts: 13 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012
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