Not many women will probably have Lady pills as a top-of-mind answer when asked about contraceptive pills. But it's a brand that can be used as a daily and emergency contraception.
Lady pills are a brand of combination oral contraceptives, which has two active ingredient or two types of hormones to prevent pregnancy. It contains ethinyl estradiol, a synthetic version estrogen, and levonorgestrel, an artificial form or progestin.
The two hormones present in Lady pills work together to prevent ovulation or stop a woman's ovary from releasing an egg. It also causes changes in the woman's cervical mucus and uterine lining to make it difficult for the sperm to reach the uterus and fertilize an egg.
Lady pills vs. Trust pills
Lady and Trust pills are not the same although the two brands have several things in common. Both are hormonal contraceptive pills to alter a woman's menstrual cycle, and they are available as over-the-counter drugs, according to those who use it (we do recommend you consult your doctor before you use any contraception). Lady and Trust also cost the same (about Php50 per pack) and are both manufactured by the one company. They even both come in 28-pill packs, where 21 tablets contain the active ingredients and seven are placebo pills.
How are these two pills different? Lady's placebo contains lactose, while Trust's placebo contains iron. While they both contain 30 micrograms of ethinyl estradiol, Trust, however, provides only 125 micrograms of levonorgestrel while Lady is higher at 150 micrograms.
Lady pills can both be used as a daily contraceptive pill and as emergency contraception — you take it immediately after you have unprotected sex. Note, too, that emergency contraception is used only as a last resort like when a condom rips or slips during intercourse, the woman missed two or more birth control pills within a menstrual cycle, or when a woman is forced to engage in sex.
Lady pills for daily contraception
According to Planned Parenthood, contraceptive pills can be 99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy but only when taken correctly. It does not, however, protect a woman against sexually transmitted diseases (STD) including HIV/AIDS. It can also help women manage menstruation issues (e.g., heavy flow, cramps, etc.) and conditions such as reproductive conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and endometriosis.
As mentioned above, Lady pills come in 28-pill packs, 21 are beige tablets that contain hormones while the remaining seven white tablets are placebos or hormone-free pills, as described in MIMS Philippines. Here's everything you need to know to take Lady contraceptive pills correctly.
How to take Lady Pills
Take the first beige tablet on the Day 1 of the start of your menstruation and continue taking the rest to the beige tablets precisely at the same time every day without interruptions. The intervals between two tablets should be exactly 24 hours.
When you've finished taking the 21 beige tablets, continue taking the seven white tablets (Day 22 to 28). It's designed to ease you into the habit of remembering to take your pill. Your period should arrive two days after taking the last beige pill.
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When you've taken the last white tablet, pill, start your next pack on the next day (Day 29).
What to do if you missed a pill
If you miss a beige pill, take the missed tablet as soon as you remember it. A missed beige tablet must be taken within 12 hrs after the 24-hour lapse. Then, take the next-day tablet at your regular time schedule, even if it means you're taking two Lady pills in a day. You are still safe from unprotected sex if you missed just one tablet.
What to do if you missed two or more pills
Take the most recent missed tablet as soon as you remember it, and discard the rest of the missed tablets. Then, take the next scheduled tablet at your regular time schedule. You need to abstain from having sex or use barrier method contraception, such as a condom if engaging in sex for the next seven days.
Count the remaining beige tablets left in the pack. If there are more than seven, continue taking the beige tablets as well as the white pills as scheduled. If there are less than seven beige tablets left, keep taking the beige pills but discard the white ones. On Day 22, start a new pill pack immediately. You may not have your period.
As with any medication, especially with hormonal contraceptive pills, there could be side effects, which may vary from one woman to another.
Among the typical adverse side effects of taking Lady pills are headaches, upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, changes in appetite, weight gain, changes in sexual drive, breast tenderness, and mood swings. Other women report clearer skin and bigger breasts, which may be more positive than negative.
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Lady pills are also not for all women. While they're safe, there are contraindications. Lady pills should not be prescribed to pregnant or breastfeeding women. It's also not recommended for women with liver issues, family or medical history of blood clots, varicose veins, diabetes, hypertension, breast cancer, cervical cancer.
Lady pills for emergency contraceptive
You will not find morning-after pills in the Philippines. Typical emergency contraceptive pills (ECP) such as the Plan B One-Step (levonorgestrel), or ella/ellaOne (ulipristal acetate) are banned in the country. However, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a woman who has engaged in unprotected sex can take a potent dose of certain daily birth control pills by following the Yuzpe Method.
Since Lady pills contain ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel, it can be used as an alternative to the morning-after pill. By taking these pills in a specific order and dosage, it may prevent an unplanned pregnancy before it starts by stopping or delaying the ovary's release of an egg.
How to take Lady Pills as emergency contraceptive pills
Take the first dose within 72 hours of unprotected sex (this would be the four beige Lady pills). Then take another dose (another four beige Lady pills) 12 hours after taking the first dose. The sooner you take the first dose, the better chances it has of preventing conception and fertilization.
As mentioned, brands of contraceptive pills may contain different formulations. It could take four to five pills in one dosage if you're using Lady pills as ECP. It's better to consult with a doctor before doing this, so he or she can guide you about the proper combination dosage.
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Expect also some side effects from overloading your body with hormones. Side effects may include nausea and bleeding. Talk to your doctor about typical side effects and which ones warrant medical attention as soon as possible.