- by Dr Sumbul Fatima
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- Nov 13 2017
UNDERSTANDING BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
WHAT ARE BIRTH CONTROL PILLS?
Birth control pills or oral contraceptives are medications taken to prevent pregnancy. Most sexually active women are on the pill. If taken properly, they are one of the most effective forms of birth control.
The two most common types of birth control pills are:
1. Combination Pills: They refer to oral contraceptives that contain estrogen and progestin. Each pill in the pack contains a combination of these two hormones. They suppress ovulation by preventing the ovaries from releasing an egg. Combination birth control pills could either be monophasic - where each of the active pills contain equal amounts of estrogen and progestin and all the pills will be of the same color or multiphasic - where the active pills contain different amounts of hormones and are of different colors; designed to be taken at particular intervals throughout the pill-taking schedule.
2. Progestin-Only Pills (POP): This pill does not have any estrogen and are referred to as the “progestin-only pill” or "mini-pill". It is ideal for breastfeeding women because estrogen reduces milk production for women.
BENEFITS OF BIRTH CONTROL PILLS
- Prevents pregnancy: The primary benefit of birth control pills are as the most effective forms of reversible birth control.
- Improves menstrual cycle: You experience less bleeding during periods, more regular and consistent menstrual patterns, relief from pelvic pain and mood related symptoms during menstruation.
- Prevents cancer: Birth control pills have been shown to have some role in protecting women from ovarian and uterine cancer.
- Protects from ovarian cysts: If you take birth control pills, you may have a lower risk for developing ovarian cysts than women who use other methods of contraception, such as diaphragms or condoms.
- Improve acne.
- Helps in iron deficiency.
RISKS OF BIRTH CONTROL
However effective in preventing pregnancy, birth control pills come with their own set of risks. Most of these side effects are not serious and tend to reduce or disappear after 2 to 3 months.
Signs to watch out for are:
Weight loss or gain
Slight nausea or headache
Emotional sensitivity right before your period
Bleeding or spotting between periods
Breast tenderness or sore breasts
Decreased libido (sexual desire)
Before you go on the pill, consult a health care practitioner who can help you choose the right kind of pill. If you suffer from any disease or other serious health ailment, birth control pills are not the ideal option for you.
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