This articles is about the health benefits of the pill and the general health effects and side effects.
Info: Most scientists, consider the public perception that taking the pill can lead to weight gain to be wrong and dangerous. Read this article for more information
Thanks to modern medicine, women can now avoid pregnancy the same way that they ensure adequate vitamin intake, and this is with a simple daily pill. This twentieth century miracle, however, is not as simple as it seems.
There are a variety of different forms of the “pill”, some of which aren’t even in pill form, and a number of varying effects on the user. A proper understanding of hormonal birth control should be had by any woman seeking to begin a regimen.
Estrogen vs. Progestogen
The birth control pill is a contraception method that must be taken prior to sexual intercourse. While there is “emergency” contraception such as the “morning after pill”, this should not be the route chosen for repeated use. If it is utilized properly, hormonal birth control has as little as a .03% fail rate.
It is estimated that as many as 20% of the world’s contraceptive users choose hormonal birth control. These pills act on the endocrine system through the use of steroid hormones. The Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (commonly just referred to as “The Pill”) is the original and most widely used contraceptive hormonal method. It makes use of both estrogen and progestogen to temporarily inhibit fertility.
Generally, these pills are in 28 or 21 day cycles and include variable amounts of actual hormonal pills and placebo pills. The purpose of the placebo pills is to keep the user in the habit of taking a pill every single day, and some contain iron supplements which are useful for women during menstruation.
Additionally, there are so called “Minipills” that only contain synthetic progestogen. These pills, because they lack estrogen, have different side effects. Their efficacy, however, is the same as the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill but the room for error in keeping up with the prescribed schedule is much smaller.
The Pill Health Benefits
Use of birth control pills is associated with an approximately 50% reduced risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers. These numbers increase with the duration of use.
For a large number of women, hormonal birth control seems to significantly reduce acne. Strangely, for a small number it seems that these pills cause or worsen existing acne.
As is the case with acne, there are a number of clashing reports on the side effects of the pill. For some women, the pill is reported to increase vaginal lubrication and sexual desire whilst for others it decreases it.
There seems to be a considerable amount of anecdotal evidence that the pill can lead to weight gain. Most scientists, however, consider this public perception to be wrong and dangerous. Read this article for more information
The mini-pill, because of its lack of estrogen, is not associated with links to DVT or heart disease. The risk of DVT, or Deep Vein Thrombosis, is increased by a small (almost negligible) margin with the use of Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills.
The mini-pill is also strongly recommended for women who are breastfeeding, as it does not affect milk production.
Even amongst these two types of pills, there are almost countless varieties. As always, your primary care physician should be consulted before making a decision.