birth control pill pack and woman

How do birth control pills work?

The way most birth control pills work is by preventing ovulation. Birth control pills are formulated with a combination of estrogen and progesterone or progesterone only.

During a normal fertility cycle, estrogen peaks at the middle signaling the pituitary gland to release hormones that tell the ovaries to mature and release an egg. Birth control pills containing estrogen maintain an even level of estrogen so the hormone never peaks, preventing ovulation.

How are birth control pills packaged?

Birth control pills typically come in packages of 21 or 28, but both packages contain the same number of active pills – 21. One pill is taken every day to keep reproductive hormone levels even and prevent ovulation. When ovulation does not occur, an egg is not released and pregnancy is prevented.

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