Womens Health

Triphasil-The Risks and Benefits

Birth control pills can come in three forms: monophasic, in which all of the 21 active pills contain the same level of hormones, biphasic, in which the 21 active pills contain two different levels of estrogen and progestin, and triphasic in which the 21 active pills contain three different doses of hormones, and the dose changes every seven days. In terms of safety and effectiveness, the different types are pretty interchangeable, however many doctors will recommend the monophasic pills for no other reason that the hormone dose and color are more consistent-- if you miss a pill, it does not cause quite the same level of confusion. Triphasil is one of several brand names in the triphasic group of pills. Some others include: Ortho-Novum 7/7/7, Ortho Tri-Cyclen, Tri-Levlen, Tri-Norinyl, and, Triphasil.

How Does It Work?

Triphasil contains a combination of female hormones which prevent ovulation by causing changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, essentially making them an "unfriendly" environment for sperm. The sperm will have a much harder time even reaching the uterus, and it becomes next-to-impossible for a fertilized egg to attach to your uterus.

DO NOT Use Triphasil If.........

If you are pregnant or have recently had a baby, do not use Triphasil. If you have a history of stroke, blood clots, circulation problems, diabetes, a hormone-related cancer such as breast or uterine cancers, abnormal vaginal bleeding, liver disease or liver cancer, severe high blood pressure, migraine headaches, a heart valve disorder, or a history of jaundice caused by birth control pills, do not use Triphasil. Triphasil can cause birth defects, so should definitely not be used while pregnant-if you miss two menstrual periods in a row while on Triphasil, tell your doctor right away. If you have recently had a baby, wait at least four weeks before taking Triphasil, six weeks if breastfeeding.

Possibly Use Triphasil If....

If you smoke, or are older than 35, you should be careful using Triphasil, as with virtually any birth control pill and should discuss the risks with your doctor. Taking this type of hormones can increase your risk of blood clots, stroke or heart attack, most especially if you are older or either smoke or have a history of smoking. If you have a history of migraines, be aware that using Triphasil can sometimes make them worse. If you have a history of depression, it is also possible that the use of Triphasil can worsen your depression symptoms.

How to Take Triphasil

Take Triphasil as your doctor prescribes; do not take larger amounts or for a longer time than prescribed by your doctor. You will take your first pill on the first day of your period or on the first Sunday after your period begins. You will likely need to use back-up birth control when you first begin taking Triphasil. You may have some breakthrough bleeding during the first three months, however if it continues or is very heavy, tell your doctor. If you must have medical tests or surgery, or will be on bed rest, you should stop taking Triphasil for a short period of time. Make sure your doctor or surgeon is aware you have been taking Triphasil.

Triphasil Side Effects

If you have any serious side effects such as sudden numbness or weakness, sudden headache, confusion, pain behind the eyes, problems with vision, speech or balance, chest pain, nausea, sweating, loss of appetite, jaundice, swelling hands, ankles or feet, or symptoms of depression, stop taking Triphasil and call your doctor. If you have any of these more minor symptoms or side effects such as: mild nausea, vomiting, bloating or stomach cramps, breast pain, tenderness, freckles or darkening of facial skin, increased hair growth, changes in weight or appetite, problems with contact lenses, vaginal itching or discharge, headache, dizziness, tired feeling, changes in your menstrual period or a decreased sex drive, you should continue taking Triphasil, but tell your doctor at your next visit.

The Effect of Other Drugs on Triphasil

Some drugs can make Triphasil less effective, which could lead to an unplanned pregnancy. These drugs include: Tylenol, vitamin C, prednisolone, Theophylline, cyclosporine, St. John's Wort, antibiotics, seizure medications, Seconal or any HIV or AIDS medications.

Keep in mind that no birth control pill will protect you from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV and AIDS-only a condom can do that.

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