Health Female Adda
1 year ago
Birth Control Options: The Pill

What it is:
Birth control pills are the oral synthetic form of the hormones progesterone and estrogen. (The estrogen is typically ethinyl estradiol, and the progesterone is one of eight kinds of progestin.) 



What it does:

The Pill prevents ovulation by maintaining more consistent hormone levels in your body. With steady estrogen (instead of a peak) throughout the month, the ovary doesn't get the signal to release an egg. The progesterone also thickens cervical mucus so the sperm can't reach the egg, and makes the lining of the uterus unreceptive to the implantation of a fertilized egg. 



Pros:
The Pill is extremely effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly and consistently. Only five in 1,000 women are likely to get pregnant in the first year of use. It's also easy to take and more convenient than inserting barrier methods before sex. The Pill can also improve menstrual problems like heavy bleeding, pelvic cramps and pain, premenstrual syndrome, and irregular cycles. It can prevent loss of bone density, reduce the risk of ovarian cysts, and protect you from uterine and ovarian cancer. 



The two most common types of birth control pills: 



1. Progestin-only pills: This type of pill contains no estrogen. Called the progestin-only pill, or "mini-pill," it's ideal for breastfeeding women because estrogen reduces milk production. It's also ideal for women who cannot take estrogen. Progestin-only pills primarily work by thickening the cervical mucus, thereby preventing sperm from entering the uterus. To work effectively, they must be taken at a specific time every 24 hours. 



2. Combination pills: When you hear the term "birth control pill," it most often refers to oral contraceptives containing synthetic estrogen and progestin. Each pill in the pack contains a combination of these two hormones. Monophasic pills (21 to 28 pills in the pack) contain equal amounts of estrogen and progestin in the active pills, and the remaining pills are placebos that contain no hormones. (Menstruation occurs while they are being taken). Multiphasic pills contain varied amounts of hormones and are designed to be taken at specific times throughout the entire pill-taking schedule. They were developed to reduce side effects like breakthrough bleeding. Continuous-use pills are multiphasic pills that come in a 28-day pack and are designed to be taken continuously, with no break in between pill packets and no resulting period. 



Cons:

According to the National Cancer Institute, the most serious side effect of the Pill continues to be an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. This risk is particularly high in certain groups, like women who smoke who are over 35. Anyone with a history of blood clots should talk to her doctor. Some pills have more of an effect on blood clots and heart attack than others. Birth control pills contain hormones that may also lead to weight gain and an increased risk for breast cancer. 



Protects against STDs?

No 



Prescription needed?
Yes

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