Oral contraceptives or birth control pills utilize synthetic hormones to protect users from pregnancy. There are two main types of birth control pills: progesterone only and combined. Combined pills typically contain both progesterone and a synthetic type of estrogen. Oral contraceptives can also be used to reduce acne and treat menstrual complications.
How Oral Contraceptives Work
There are three ways in which oral contraceptives can prevent pregnancy:
- The cervix secretes thicker mucus so that sperm is unable to enter the uterus
- Stopping ovulation each month
- Makes the lining of the uterus thinner, meaning the fertilized egg cannot attach itself on the walls in case fertilization takes place
Let us take a look at some of the key benefits and drawbacks of contraceptives.
Benefits of Birth Control Pills
- Helps with PMS, Cramps, and Anemia
By taking birth control pills, you might reduce the risk of heavy menstrual bleeding by preventing ovulation and reducing the thickness of the uterine wall. Due to light menstrual flow, you are less likely to suffer from iron deficiency. The pill might also be effective for reducing painful cramps. If you frequently suffer from PMS, birth control pills might help to ease the symptoms, which can include breast tenderness, mood swings, acne, and bloating.
- Regular Periods
Women with irregular periods might need a contraceptive pill to even them out. This will help you to know when your periods are coming so that you get prepared accordingly. Birth control pills contain progesterone and estrogen, which are similar to hormones secreted by your ovaries. Take hormone-active pills for three weeks, followed by one week of a hormone-inactive pill. Your periods will come in the week that you took inactive pills.
- You Can Get Pregnant as Soon as You Stop Using the Pills
The contraceptive pill will not hinder you from getting pregnant when you need to. One fascinating thing about these pills is that you can get pregnant right away when you stop taking them. Even if you are the type with irregular periods, you can still get pregnant when you stop taking the pills. Therefore, if you do not want to get pregnant, you must start using another birth control method immediately.
Disadvantages of Birth Control Pills
- You Must take Them Every Day
Unless you take your pills daily, you might not be protected from pregnancy. Therefore, you need to use an alarm or keep your pills next to things that you use every day so that you don’t skip a dose. Other birth control methods might help if you have a busy lifestyle and forget to take your pills.
- They Might Have Negative Side Effects
Like any other medication, birth control pills can have adverse side effects. But most of them will go away naturally after two to three months. Most users will not experience any side effects at all.
In some cases, due to the hormones in the contraceptive pill, the level of your sexual desire might be altered. You might also observe some bleeding or spotting between periods – this issue is common among users of progesterone-only pills. You may also experience nausea, sore breasts, or headache, but these side effects should go away after two to three months.
You should talk to a healthcare provider before you start using any birth control pills. Your doctor will be able to give you helpful advice on which treatment is best for you, especially if you want to take birth control pills primarily for their side benefits, such as easing of PMS symptoms.