The birth control pill is considered the most popular means of contraception in the whole world. Its popularity did not only stem out from its convenience but also from its effectiveness. In fact, because it is so easy to use and can be purchased almost everywhere, the birth control pill is also the most used means of family planning out there.
The combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), often referred to as the birth control pill or colloquially as “the pill”, is a type of birth control that is designed to be taken orally by women. It includes a combination of an estrogen (usually ethinylestradiol) and a progestogen (specifically a progestin). When taken correctly, it alters the menstrual cycle to eliminate ovulation and prevent pregnancy.
They were first approved for contraceptive use in the United States in 1960, and are a very popular form of birth control. They are used by more than 100 million women worldwide and by almost 12 million females in the United States. From 2015 to 2017, 12.6% of women aged 15–49 in the US reported using oral contraception, making it the second most common method of contraception in this age range with female sterilization being the most common method.
Use varies widely by country, age, education, and marital status. For example, one third of women aged 16–49 in the United Kingdom currently use either the combined pill or progestogen-only pill (POP), compared with less than 3% of women in Japan (as of 1950–2014).
Combined oral contraceptives are on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines. The pill was a catalyst for the sexual revolution.
Today, many women are using the birth control pill to prevent themselves from early pregnancy but it seems that they don’t have sufficient knowledge about it.
More and more women remain elusive and ignorant about the birth control pill because they do not bother to get information from the experts such as gynes and healthcare professionals. In fact, studies show that majority of the women who re-used the birth control pill have heard about the medication from other women who used it and not from the authorities who know more about the pros and cons of the birth control pill.
What you need to know about the birth control pill
For women who are sexually active, proper information about the birth control pill should be acquired first before they finally decide to use it as a contraceptive. Having enough information on how to use it as well as its advantages and disadvantages can help women make smart decisions about their lives.
Commonly called as “the pill,” the birth control pill remains the topmost choice of women to prevent themselves from getting pregnant. Taken daily, the birth control pill is known to contain hormones that affect the way how the woman’s body works. Once taken, there will be hormonal changes in the body that prevents possible pregnancy.
Studies show that the hormones contained in the birth control pill are a combination of various chemicals and substances which manipulate how the organs in the body function. These hormones in a birth control pill specifically target the way a woman’s uterus and ovaries work.
For the birth control pill to work it should contain a combination of hormones such as progesterone and estrogen that prevents the release of the egg every menstruation or “ovulation”. Once no ovulation takes place, there will also no fertilization of the egg that leads to pregnancy.
Aside from preventing ovulation, the birth control pill also thickens the mucus around the woman’s cervix to prevent the sperm from entering the uterus and also affects the lining of the uterus which makes it harder for the egg to be attached to the uterus.
When taking a birth control pill, it is very important to religiously take it daily so you can achieve its effectiveness.
To ensure that there will be no pregnancy; women who are taking pills should also use other forms of contraceptives during the first week in case the pill doesn’t work right away. Taking the pills every day—ideally at the same exact time—is very important to prevent one’s self from getting pregnant.
Advantages and disadvantages of the birth control pill
The major advantage of using a birth control pill is that it can prevent a woman from getting into an early or unplanned pregnancy. However, improper use of the birth control pill can also lead to possible side effects such as the irregular cycle of menstruation, headaches, nausea, dizziness, gaining of weight, tenderness of the breast, emotional fluctuations or being moody, and in rare cases, blood clots.
To avoid any complications from using the birth control pill, it is always best to consult a doctor or healthcare provider before using any contraceptives.