All hormonal contraceptives are based on synthetic substitutes for estrogen and progesterone. The main function of these drugs is to prevent fertilization in several ways due to the uptake of hormones.
The most important thing that needs to be done to a woman who wants to use birth control pills as the main type of contraception is to undergo an examination and consultation with a gynecologist. The fact is that all birth control pills have a number of contraindications. But taking hormonal contraceptives can be absolutely safe for health if the tablets are selected correctly, taking into account the individual characteristics of each woman. Therefore, you can’t start taking them on your own.
One more conclusion follows from this: the “best” birth control pills do not exist. There are those that are most suitable for a particular woman.
The benefits of birth control pills
Help cope with acne. One of the causes of acne is increased production of sebum. The sebum production rate is controlled mainly by the balance of male and female sex hormones. It is known that increased production of male hormones in a woman’s body leads to increased excretion of sebum, and preparations containing estrogens have the opposite effect, which is why they are often used in the complex treatment of acne.
They have a therapeutic effect in polycystic ovaries. NMC (menstrual irregularities of all kinds) is one of the first manifestations of polycystic ovary syndrome. The danger of this disease lies in the increased risk of developing diabetes mellitus and infertility, although in general, with an early visit to a gynecologist, polycystosis proceeds favorably and can be treated with hormonal birth control pills.
Favorably affect the body during menopause. Also, hormonal contraceptives are used for replacement therapy in menopause and the postmenopausal period, which is characterized by a decrease in the level of hormones secreted by the ovaries. In the pathological course of menopause, which occurs in 50% of women and is accompanied by impaired activity of the nervous, endocrine, cardiovascular systems, hormone therapy is necessary.
An effective contraceptive. Hormonal contraceptives are monophasic and multiphase, depending on the dose of estrogen and gestagen. In monophasic preparations, it is constant throughout the cycle, while multiphase ones simulate fluctuations in the levels of hormones produced by the ovaries during the cycle. That is why multiphase oral contraceptives are considered more natural and less effective in terms of contraception, and therefore are used mainly for the correction of hormonal status. Monophasic drugs are the optimal contraceptive in young women.
Birth control pills may offer you some protection against these diseases:
- Iron deficiency anemia (which may be the result of heavy periods).
- Ovarian cysts.
- Dry vagina and pain during intercourse.
- Non-malignant neoplasms of the mammary gland.
- Excess body hair.
- Menstrual migraines.
- Symptoms of premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
Cancer protection and birth control pills
Studies show that women who use birth control pills are three times less likely to get cancer of the ovaries or uterine lining (endometrial cancer) than those who do not take them.
The protective effect can last up to 30 years after stopping the use of combined birth control pills. In addition, protection increases with each year of use. Thus, if you take combination pills for 6 years, using pills can reduce your risk of developing ovarian or endometrial cancer by 60%.
Recent studies show that pills have virtually no effect on the risk of developing breast cancer. But the risk of developing colorectal cancer among women who use pills is reduced by 18 percent.
Cons of birth control pills
If you use birth control pills, then you may experience unwanted side effects. The good news is that most of them will disappear by the second or third month of use, after your body has adapted to the progestin and / or estrogen in the pill.
The disadvantages include the following:
- Soreness of the mammary glands.
- Nausea (sometimes with vomiting).
- Bleeding between menstruation.
In addition, combined birth control pills can:
- Cause depression.
- Change in sexual desire.
- Progestin-only birth control pills can lead to an irregular cycle and bleeding (at least this happens more often than with combination pills).
It is worth noting that birth control pills do not give a 100% guarantee of protection against unwanted pregnancies. It should be borne in mind that the method of using the drug plays a big role here: a missed pill, for example, jeopardizes the safety of the entire cycle. Thus, the disadvantages of the application include a high degree of responsibility of women.
Before use, it is very important to familiarize yourself with the information leaflet that is included with the drug to get more detailed information about the use and risks of your birth control pills. In addition, the insert should also explain when to take birth control pills (and what to do if you missed a pill or two).
You can take birth control pills during dinner or at bedtime to reduce nausea and / or vomiting. Try not to stop taking the pills, even if you are not feeling very well at first.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if you experience side effects after three months of using birth control pills – this may mean that a particular brand of pills is not suitable for you.
Possible risks and complications
Serious problems are extremely rare. Women who use combination birth control pills may be slightly more likely to have certain medical problems than those who do not.
The risk is increasing:
- If a woman smokes.
- At the age of 35 years and older.
- There are conditions associated with a heart attack (such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and conditions that increase the risk of blood clotting).
The most serious complication of using birth control pills is the formation of blood clots in the heart, lungs, brain, or legs. Women who use combination pills, who are required to observe bed rest or wear plaster, are more likely to develop a blood clot. If you are planning a major operation, you should tell your surgeon that you are using combined birth control pills.
Additional risks associated with the use of birth control pills that you should be aware of:
- There is a connection between birth control pills and weight. This means that the effectiveness of the pill can be compromised if you are overweight.
- You should also pay attention to the medicines you are taking. Some medicines may decrease the effectiveness of the pills. Drugs that contain drospirenone can suppress hormones that regulate the level of water and electrolytes in your body, so these pills can interact with drugs that increase potassium.
- When you visit any doctor, it is very important to keep him informed about the birth control drugs you are taking.