Tuesday, January 31, 2023

How Safe Is the Birth Control Pill?

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Birth control pills have been in use for over 50 years. Millions upon millions of women use this contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy. According to Planned Parenthood, contraceptive pills are 99% effective if used diligently and 91% effective if not used as prescribed. But how safe is the birth control pill? In this article, we discuss the benefits, drawbacks, and side effects of using contraceptive pills.

What are the Benefits of Using Contraceptive Pills?

They are Effective

Contraceptive pills are better at preventing pregnancy than most birth control methods, provided you take them every day and on time as per the prescription. However, their effectiveness might lessen if you vomit or suffer from diarrhea for more than two days.

They are Reversible

The moment you stop taking the pills, your menstrual cycle goes back to normal. You can then proceed to get pregnant if you wish to.

They Have Positive Side Effects

Besides protecting you against pregnancy, contraceptive pills have several positive side effects, though it depends on the type you take. Both progestin-only pills and combination pills can lighten your periods, ease your menstrual cramps and reduce your risk of getting an ectopic pregnancy.

Other positive side effects of combination pills include;

  • Lessen your Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Prevent cysts from developing in your ovaries
  • Reduce acne
  • Prevent bone thinning
  • Protect you from ovarian and endometrial cancer

They Are Convenient to Take and Carry

Birth control pills are taken orally, which is easy and effortless for most. The size of one pack is proportional to your hand or cell phone, which means you can carry the pills in your handbag wherever you go.

What are the Disadvantages of Using Contraceptive Pills?

Contraceptive Pills are High-maintenance

For the pill to be effective, you must take it every day and at the same time. You risk getting pregnant if you take it irregularly. A good tip would be to set a daily reminder or use a birth control app to alert you to take the pill every day.

Contraceptive Pills Don't Prevent Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Contraceptive pills are only effective at protecting against pregnancy. They do not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. To prevent STIs, ensure you practice safe sex.

They Don't Work for Every Woman

There are instances when you should consider a different birth control method. For example, if you are a smoker and over thirty-five years, avoid combination pills. Other cases when you should avoid contraceptive pills are;

  • If you are breastfeeding
  • If you have a history of cardiovascular complications
  • If you are on medications like the antibiotic Rifampin, antifungal Griseofulvin, or certain HIV and anti-seizure medicines
  • If you are hypertensive or diabetic
  • If you have a history of breast cancer

What are the Risks Using Birth Control Pills?

Contraceptive pills, particularly combination pills, can have adverse side effects. Combination pills can increase your risk of getting blood clots, which can cause a heart attack, stroke, and deep vein thrombosis. The chance of getting a blood clot is, however, still low.

Combination pills contain hormones, which can cause side effects, such as;

  • Spotting
  • Sore breasts
  • Changes in your menstrual cycle
  • Headaches and nausea

Some of these side effects will vanish once your body adjusts. Consider consulting your doctor or physician if the pills make you sick or if you have a history of medical complications. Based on your medical history, the doctor will recommend the most suitable contraceptive pills for you.

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