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Are Birth Control Pills Safe?

Rooma Sinha

Senior Consultant Gynecologist, Laproscopic & Robotic Surgeon, Apollo Health City, Hyderabad

3 min read

Birth control pills or oral contraceptive pills are hormonal medications that prevent pregnancy. These may contain combinations of the hormones estrogen and progestin or progestin alone. They are one of the methods of birth control and spacing between children.
How It Works
While the pill obstructs the ovaries from releasing eggs every month (ovulation), it also thickens the mucus inside the neck of the womb. It prevents the sperm from penetrating the womb and reach an egg. It also lessens the lining of the womb so that there is less probability of a fertilised egg infusing into the womb and grow.
Safe Or Unsafe?
A 39-year-old study following 46,000 women showed that the pill does not raise death risk and might even help women live longer. Therefore, the birth control pill is an accepted and highly effective method of birth control, if taken correctly. Moreover, the tablet has less than one per cent failure rate. For women who miss taking their medicines, the lack of success rate elevates roughly to eight per cent. Otherwise, eight out of a hundred women become pregnant unintentionally.

Beginning on the first day of your period: If you start the combined pill on the first day of your period (day one of your menstrual cycle), you will be straight away safeguarded from pregnancy and will not need additional contraception.
Beginning on the fifth day of your cycle or before: In case you start the pill on the fifth day of your period or earlier, you will need additional contraception, such as barrier methods until the next cycle.

Care Instructions On The Combined Pill
In case there are no medical reasons involved, you can take the pill until menopause. However, you should avoid the pill if you are pregnant, are a smoker and aged 35 or more, have stopped smoking less than a year ago, are overweight and take certain medications. Additionally, you should also avoid the pill if you have (or have had):

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  • Thrombosis (a blood clot) in your vein, maybe in your leg or lungs
  • Anyone in your close family below the age group of 45 with a blood clot
  • Stroke or any other disease that reduces the functioning of the arteries
  • Severe migraine, especially with aura (warning symptoms)
  • Breast cancer
  • The disease of the gallbladder or liver
  • A heart irregularity or heart disease, including high blood pressure
  • Diabetes with complications or diabetic for the past 20 years

The birth control pill is an accepted and highly effective method of birth control, if taken correctly.

Advantages Of Using Birth Control Pills

  • You will have lighter periods and also less frequent periods
  • The birth control pill can reduce heavy bleeding, pain and severity of endometriosis and fibroid tumours
  • The intake of birth control pills may reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine cancer and ovarian cancer Side Effects

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Disadvantages Of Using Birth Control Pills

  • A woman’s general danger of blood clots is approximately one in 10,000. Still, due to the higher risk for blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks, estrogen-containing birth control is not advisable if you have the above risk factors
  • The hormones in the pill can alter the level of your sexual desire
  • You may also notice spotting or bleeding between periods (this is more common with progestin-only pills) sore breasts, nausea, or headaches
  • Acne or premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) may also get exacerbated due to birth control pills