Birth control pills are the most commonly used contraceptive method, followed by the condom and the withdrawal method. It is a daily pill that contains hormones aimed to change the way the body works and limit, if not eliminate, the chances of pregnancy.
It is usually a combination of the female hormones estrogen and progesterone. When combined in the right balance, these hormones prevent ovulation. If a woman does not ovulate, she doesn't release an egg cell, and therefore nothing will be fertilized. Birth control pills also help thicken the cervical mucus lining that slows down sperm movement from the vaginal canal into the uterus if an egg has already been released. Furthermore, pills also affect the uterine lining, making it difficult for an egg to attach itself onto the wall of the uterus.
What benefits can I get from using birth control pills?
-The effects are reversible. Unlike some other birth control methods, the birth control pill can be stopped at any given time that you are ready to conceive.
-It aides in menstrual regulation. This is most beneficial to women with irregular menstrual period: from none at all (amenorrhea), to too many (polymenorrhea), or too little (oligomenorrhea). This also helps decrease heavy blood flow. Birth control pills help the body mimic a regular 28-day cycle.
-It helps treat benign ovarian cyst. Functional ovarian cysts do not form without ovulation. For this reason alone, the pills ovulation-stopping effect helps decrease the risk of developing functional ovarian cysts.
-It decreases menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Birth control pills decrease cramping by decreasing prostaglandin production.
-It decreases the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Because birth control pills prevent ovulation, it also eliminates the pain experienced during ovulation within the menstrual cycle.
-It decreases the risk of ovarian, endometrial, cervical and colorectal cancer. Certain cancer cells rely on naturally occurring sex hormones estrogen and progesterone to develop and grow. As pills alter the level of estrogen and progesterone in a woman's body, it stunts the growth and development of these carcinogenic cells.
-It decreases the risk of osteoporosis. The hormones regulated while taking birth control pills help reduce risks of getting osteoporosis.
-It decreases the risk of tubal (Ectopic) pregnancy. Because birth control pills work primarily by suppressing ovulation, they effectively prevent ectopic pregnancy as well as normal pregnancy.
What are the side effects of using birth control pills?
-It is tedious. It needs to be taken every day at the exact same time. Women with busy schedules might have some problems following the strict dosing schedule.
-Decreased enjoyment of sex. Some women experience a decreased interest in sex or a decreased ability to have orgasms.
-Risk of experiencing depression. The change in hormone level may affect chemicals in the brain, causing depression to birth control pill users.
There may be more advantages and side effects of using birth control pills that was not included in the list above. However, now that you've learned of some of the benefits and risks of using oral contraceptive pills, it is up to you to decide whether or not you are going to use it. Of course, before making any decisions regarding this matter, consult your physician if this birth control method is the best for you. Do not forget, though, using oral contraceptive pills will not prevent you from acquiring sexually transmitted diseases (STD) or HIV.