Contraceptives Pills: Benefits, Side Effects and Myth
Let's first discuss what contraceptive pills are?
Contraceptives are the birth control pills that are orally taken by a woman to prevent pregnancy. If a woman takes the pills correctly without missing any dose, then there is 92-99.9% effective, but even if they miss a single dose, it might not work that efficiently.
Besides the pills that are supposed to be taken daily and there are other different types of medicines also available in the market as emergency contraceptives which are to be taken after unprotected sex. Do not confuse contraceptive pill for an abortion pill. It can only help in stopping pregnancy and cannot assist in terminating it. Hence it is ineffective if a woman is already pregnant.
You should take pills immediately after having sex. It is highly recommended by doctors that you take it within 24 hours or before 72 hours of having sex; otherwise, the medicine would be of no use. Every emergency pill is 95 per cent effective only if you take it on time.
So this was the primary benefit of contraceptives, but every product has its pros and cons. Besides preventing pregnancy, contraceptives have many other benefits also. First, let's have a look at types of oral contraceptive pills:
Oral contraceptives are of two kinds:
- Combination pills, i.e., a combination of estrogens and progestin
- Progestin-only pills, i.e., it only contains progestin and not estrogens.
Both types of pills help in reducing menstrual cramps, lighten periods, and lowers the risk of ectopic pregnancy.
The combination pills which contain both estrogens and progestin can also help prevent or lessen:
- bone thinning
- cysts in your breasts and ovaries
- endometrial and ovarian cancers
- severe infections in your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and uterus
- iron deficiency (anaemia)
- PMS (premenstrual syndrome)
It is convenient for a lot of women to use contraceptives because it helps in making their period regular, easy to predict and lighter.
One of the great perks of taking the pills is whenever a woman feels like she wants to have a kid, she can stop taking pills, and once she stops taking pills, she can get pregnant.
But it may take a few months for your period to return to the cycle you had before you started taking pills.
Besides these, there are some side effects too of taking contraceptive pills. The side effects that some women might have while using Pills are as follows:
- They might have irregular menstrual bleeding which is more familiar with the mini-pill.
- They might feel nausea, headaches, dizziness, and breast tenderness
- There can be changes in mood.
But, mostly it has been noticed that not every woman faces the side effects of pills, only a few of them have.
These were the benefits and side effects of contraceptives, and now we will talk about the myths. The world is full of misconceptions regarding contraceptives.
Misconception regarding Contraceptive Pills
- Most people think the contraceptive pill is like any other contraceptive methods which can prevent pregnancy as well as protect them fromSexual Transmitted Diseases (STDs.)
But the fact is, the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs, including HIV). To protect against STDs, a person can use a male or female condom.
- Most women think that if they take pills, it might lead to pregnancy issues. But the fact is, it does not cause birth defects if a woman becomes pregnant while taking a contraceptive (combined pills) or accidentally starts to take contraceptives (combined pills ) when she is already pregnant.
- Some women who seek family planning believe that combined oral contraceptives (COCs) cause cancers such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, and ovarian cancer. But actually, the fact is, the use of combined oral contraceptives (COCs) is proven to decrease the risk of two gynaecological cancers (ovarian and endometrial). It is hard to know the effect of combined oral contraceptives use on breast cancer and cervical cancer.
Use of COCs helps in protecting women from two kinds of diseases—cancer of the ovaries and cancer of the lining of the uterus (endometrial cancer). The pills continue to protect us from both the diseases for 15 or more years, even if we stop using pills.
- Most of the woman think that pills make them gain weight. While some women seem to gain weight on the tablet, there is basically no relationship between weight gain and taking pills. It is due to estrogens in the tablet that can make someone feel bloated, but this will go away. The progestin found in the medicine may increase the appetite of the person, which may result in weight gain if not counteracted with diet and exercise.
- Women think that all medicines are basically the same, but it is not. There are different brands and varieties of birth control pills. Each of them can contain varying levels and composition of hormones and may also supply different doses at various times throughout each pill pack cycle.
Each pill brand can affect a woman's body differently.
So, these are some of the benefits, side effects and myths regarding contraceptives. I hope your views are more clear now.