UT Teen Health Health

The Pill

The Pill


typical use


(CDC, 2016)


"The Pill" is a pill. Some people call it "oral contraception." It is taken once a day, at the same time every day. There are lots of different kinds of pills on the market. They all work by releasing hormones that keep the ovaries from releasing an egg. The hormones also thicken cervical mucus, which helps to block sperm from getting to the egg, and thin the lining of the uterus, which may prevent implantation.

Quick Facts!


The pill is very effective when taken every day at the same time, without missing any days.

Side effects

The most common side effects are sore breasts, nausea, spotting, and decreased sex drive. In rare cases blood clots and stroke.  See below for more information.


Every. Single. Day.

How do I get it?

Oral contraceptives require a prescription from a doctor or clinic.


$0- $90 per month.

STI reduction


More about the pill

STI reduction


It takes discipline

The pill needs to be taken at the same time every day.

Smokers over 35, beware

If you’re over 35, smoking on the pill increases your risk of certain side effects, such as blood clots.  And if you’re younger, why not quit now and save yourself the trouble?

The Pill can be used for other reasons

Oral contraceptives are also prescribed to regulate periods, decrease menstrual cramping, or clear acne.

Depending on whether it is generic or full price, the pill can cost about $25 a month.


  • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
  • With insurance: Usually the cost of your co-pay
  • Without insurance:$10-$20 (generic at pharmacies); $20-30 (some family planning clinics); $60-$90 (name brand at pharmacies)

The pill is taken every day, at roughly the same time, to be most effective.

Bleeding between periods, sore breasts, headaches, nausea and vomiting, mood swings, decreased sex drive, and for a small number of women using combined oral contraception, blood clots, or stroke.  For smokers, the risk of cardiovascular problems is much higherIf you are older than 35 years and smoke, have a history of blood clots or breast cancer, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill.