Birth control pills: The Choice is in your hands

Birth control pills or oral contraceptive pills are the most popular and effective of reversible birth control methods. Birth control pills work in several different ways:

  • They prevent ovulation from taking place, which means they prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg.
  • They make the cervical mucus so thick that the sperm cannot penetrate and thereby prevent fertilization from taking place.
  • They make the lining of the uterus so thin that the egg can not stick to it.

Birth control pills contain hormones like estrogen and progesterone. Two types of birth control pills are available in the market. One is the Combination pill and the other is the Mini pill. The combination pill uses both estrogen and progesterone and it is more effective, whereas the Mini pill uses only progesterone, and it is not as effective as the Combination pill.

Birth control pills generally come in a packet of 28 pills or 21 pills. One has to make it a point to take it at about the same time everyday. While taking the 28 days pills, the period will generally start after the last hormone containing pill is taken.

The benefits of taking a birth control pill are that it not only safe-guards against unwanted pregnancy but it may decrease the risk of uterine and ovarian cancer. Periods too become regular, less painful and lighter.

Some of the side-effects of taking the birth control pill include nausea or vomiting, weight gain in some cases, increased appetite and headaches.

However, one must remember that birth control pills do not offer any protection against STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases) and this includes the HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus).

Sometimes hormonal acne occurs in women due to the natural cycles of menstruation, pregnancy or menopause. Some birth control pills in small doses used along with topical remedies can be used to reduce blemishes by keeping the andiogens steady. However, before trying to use birth control pills for acne be sure to consult your doctor first.

A short list of birth control pills available in India would include Mala D, Mala N (both subsidized by Government of India in Government Hospitals) Saheli, Arpan and a host of others which can easily be prescribed by the gynecologist.

A birth control patch is another effective method of birth control used by women all over. It is a thin square patch of about 4.5 cms. It releases hormones through the skin into the bloodstream to prevent pregnancies. The birth control patch is as effective as birth control pills, but this method of contraception also does not offer any protection against STD including HIV. The side-effects of using this birth control patch are the same as that of birth control pills.