Some important things to know about Contraceptive Pills.
Is the Pill safe?
The pill is basically safe but rarely can it have serious side effects. Research has shown that woman who use pills have a 12% reduction in their risk of developing certain cancers. You should consult your doctor before starting pills. Your doctor will examine you to rule out if you have any ‘risk factors’ that increases your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attacks or strokes.
What does the Pill contain?
Oral contraceptive pills or tablets contain the two female hormones – estrogen and progestogen. The pills may differ in the type and amount of estrogen and progestogen that they contain. Several brands of pills are available in India. The hormones in the pill prevent ovulation (production of an egg) each month. And since you don’t ovulate, you do not become pregnant. Besides this, the cervical mucus is also thickened and this makes it harder for sperm to enter the uterus. The changes in the lining of your womb make it less receptive to an egg.
After I start the Pill, what then?
Consult your doctor regularly after starting pills. Your doctor will advice you on how frequently do you need to come for follow up. During the follow up your doctor will ask you whether you’re having any problems with the pill and will check your blood pressure (and possibly weigh you). He or she will examine to rule out if you have developed any ‘risk factors’ that increase your risk of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), heart attacks or strokes.
Is the Pill the same as the Mini-Pill?
No, the two are not same. The standard Pill contains both the female hormones estrogen and progesterone whereas the mini-Pill contains only one hormone. Although mini-Pill has fewer side effects, it is less effective as compared to the standard Pill.
How effective is the Pill?
It’s a very effective means of contraception if you take it as prescribed. The efficacy is almost 100 per cent if you use the pill as prescribed. After sterilisation it is the most effective method of contraception.
How is the pill taken?
If you have a pack that contains 21 pills, you have to take one pill every day for three weeks. Then you take a break for a week during which you’ll have your period. Start the next packet after the week’s break. Take the pill regularly everyday and if possible at the same time of the day.
What are the advantages of the Pill?
The Pill has several health advantages
Are there any side effects of the pills on starting it?
Yes some women many have minor, passing side effects, such as
In most women the side effects resolve after the first few packs. If the conditions presist, then consult your doctor or switch to another brand.
Do the pills have any serious side effects?
In some women the Pill can occasionally cause serious problems such as
However these side effects are very rare.
The ‘risk factors,’ which increase your risk of these problems are
The risks of complications increase as you get older.
Is age a worry for taking pills?
Yes as the risks of complications increase as you get older. OCP are very safe for young women (teens -20s without any risk factors such as smoking). The risk of DVT increases as you get to the age of 35 or 40. Some women of 40 take the pill, but it is preferable to switch to the mini-Pill, or to some other method of contraception, such as sterilisation.
What is effect of Pill on cancer?
The risk of certain cancers is increased with use of pill whereas the risk of certain other cancers is reduced. Consult your doctor regarding it before you start the pill.
The Pill reduces the risk of
The Pill increases the risk of following cancers
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