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Oral Contraception (Birth Control Pills)

Prices for oral contraceptives can be found on the Health Services Fees page.

  • Loestrin-Fe 1/20
  • Loestrin-Fe 1.5/30
  • Desogen - Generic
  • Ortho Tricylen - Generic
  • Alesse - Generic
  • Ortho-Micronor - Generic


You may have:

  • Decreased menstrual cramps and bleeding
  • Less risk of developing ovarian and/or endometrial cancer, benign breast tumors, and ovarian cysts
  • Predictable menstrual cycle
  • Decrease in acne

Side Effects

You may have:

  • Nausea
  • Spotting between periods
  • Very light or missed periods
  • Increased or lessened vaginal fluids
  • Breast tenderness
  • High blood pressure
  • Darkening of skin on the face
  • Acne
  • Depression/Mood swings
  • Weight increase or decrease
  • Blood clots to the legs or lungs
  • Strokes or heart attack
  • Gallbladder disease or stones
  • Rare liver tumors or conditions
  • Vaginal yeast infections
  • Delay in resuming menstrual period after stopping the birth control pill

Certain medical conditions may make birth control pill use unwise. If you have or have had any of the following conditions please inform your health care provider:

  • Blood clotting disorders
  • Impaired liver function
  • History of heart attack or stroke
  • Pregnancy
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Upcoming major surgery with prolonged immobilization
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding with undetermined cause
  • Known or suspected cancer of the breast, uterus, or ovaries
  • Migraine headaches with weakness or loss of sensation on one side of the body

If you are taking birth control pills and have any of the following symptoms, contact your health care provider or come to M.S. Shook Student Health Service:

  • Severe Abdominal Pain
  • Severe Chest Pain
  • Severe Headaches (sudden onset)
  • Blurred vision or loss of vision
  • Severe leg pain (sudden or progressive)

Stopping Birth Control Pills

You may stop using birth contol pills at any time. You should have three regular periods before attempting to become pregnant. If your periods were irregular, very heavy, and/or painful prior to taking birth control pills, they may return to this pattern when you discontinue them.


Certain medications and illnesses may reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills, so you should use a back up method of birth control during these times.

Birth control pills offer no protection against Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs), including HIV/AIDS, Herpes Simplex virus, and HPV. A latex condom is required for more protection against pregnancy and STIs.

Page content reviewed: 6/04/18 fwg