Avoid pregnancy and enjoy your life by swallowing one small pill every day. Oral contraceptives are often touted as the best medical advance of the 20th century. These drugs have freed many women, but at the same time their side effects have created many sufferers. Let's take a quick look at the current status and basic details of the contraceptive pill, discovered and developed through the collateral sacrifice of numerous women before us.
An Effective Method of Controlling Pregnancy and Menstruation
Combined oral contraceptive pill, COCP
Pregnancy begins with the fertilization of an ovum by sperm. With no ovum, or no sperm, or no fertilization pregnancy is impossible. Contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy by blocking ovulation before sexual intercourse even takes place.
- How it works
The combined oral contraceptive pill, used around the world, is a compound containing two synthetic hormones.
The hormones estrogen and progestin (synthetic progesterone) inhibit ovulation, thin the inner lining of the uterus, interfere with ovum implantation and block sperm from entering by thickening the mucus in the cervix.
When used correctly the pill has a 99.9% success rate at preventing pregnancy.
The standard success rate is 95%.
The pill may fail if you forget to take it even once during the 21 day period, if you don’t supplement it with other contraceptives during the first 7 days of use, if you take it with other drugs such as antibiotics, or if you vomit or have diarrhea after taking it.
🙆♀ As long as you remember to take one small pill every day, you can be assured of a 99% effective contraception.
🙆♀ Women can choose and practice contraception on their own without reliance on men.
🙆♀ It does not interfere with sex.
🙆♀ Maintaining stable hormone levels can help women's health, by potentially reducing menstrual volume, reducing menstrual pain, treating PMS, and preventing ovarian cancer.
🤷♀ It cannot prevent STI’s.
🤷♀ It can be difficult to remember to take it at about the same time every day.
🤷♀ Various side effects such as irregular bleeding, vomiting, migraine, and swelling can occur while adapting during the first three months of use.
🤷♀ Results are still undecided on unknown side effects such as personality changes and effects on the brain.
- Things to know
A 2015 review of access to oral contraceptives across 147 countries found that 35 countries sold them over the counter, 11 countries sold them without a prescription but only after screening by trained pharmacy staff, 56 countries had them available informally without a prescription and 45 countries required a prescription to obtain them. In some countries you might need a prescription for certain types of the pill, such as 4th generation in South Korea.
Currently the pill can be divided into 3 different generations.
2nd Generation - containing the progestins levonorgestrel, or norethisterone. Popular brand names include Microgynon, Minibora, Loestrin, Levlen, Femme-tab and Rigevidon.
3rd Generation - containing the progestins desogestrel or gestodene. Popular brand names include Mercilon, Marvelon, Senseday, Apri and Mircette.
4th Generation - containing the progestin drospirenone, or sometimes an alternative estrogen hormone. Popular brand names include Yaz, Yasmin, Loryna, Ocella and Syeda.
- How to Choose
When choosing an oral contraceptive it’s important to remember that each drug has different types, concentrations, and balances of synthetic estrogen and progestin. In order to minimize side effects, you should try to find the contraceptive suitable for your body and your symptoms.
If you are going to try the pill for the first time, compare the advantages and disadvantages of each contraceptive after consulting with your doctor and choose the one that suits you. Some people’s bodies will reject a certain medication, resulting in strong side effects. In this case you could try swapping to a different type.
The price range for combined oral contraceptive pills can depend on your country, and whether the medication is available over the counter, behind the counter or by prescription. A one month pack of 2nd or 3rd generation pills over the counter in South Korea cost around ₩9,000 (KRW) or $6.33 (USD). Check the availability in your country, and whether contraceptive pills are covered by your health care service.
0. Most oral contraceptive pills have a 21-day on period then a 7-day break. Remember that menstruation-like bleeding will occur during the seven-day period when you aren’t taking the pills.
1. If you're taking the pill for the first time, you should start by taking a pill on the first day of your menstruation. If you start taking it later than this, you should consider that pregnancy is possible for seven days as of this day and use other contraceptives at the same time.
2. Take one pill at the same time every day.
3. Take all 21 pills and stop taking them on the 22nd day, or take a placebo that does not contain the hormones.
4. If you stop taking it, your menstruation will start on its own in two to four days.
5. After not taking the pill for 7 days, start taking it again on the 8th day regardless of the progression of menstruation.
🔄 Repeat this process if you want to continue the contraceptive effect.
✔️Beginner Users’ Frequently Asked Questions
- People who should NOT take the pill.
Women who fall under the following categories should not take the combined oral contraceptive. Other contraceptive measures should be considered for her safety.
- Women with all symptoms of excessive blood clotting (thrombosis) related diseases.
- Women over 35 years old who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.
- Women less than six weeks after breastfeeding.
- Women who are pregnant, had an abortion, or gave birth less than three weeks ago.
- Women with secondary risk factors such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Women with a history of liver tumors, liver cancer, breast cancer, genital cancer, migraines, etc.
- Medication that can NOT be combined with the pill.
- If you take the antibiotic rifampin or anticonvulsants such as griseofulvin or carbamazepine, phenobarbital, and barbital, the contraceptive effect is reduced.
- The effectiveness of anticoagulants, antidepressants, blood sugar-lowering drugs, and hypertension drugs can be reduced when taken together with oral contraceptives.
- How Safe is the pill?
Women taking the combined oral contraceptive pill may experience any of the following severe side effects. In most cases, side effects can be reduced by switching to a drug with different contents or by having an adaptation period, so consult with your doctor to find the safest method.
- Increased risk of irregular bleeding, heart attack, stroke, depression, and deep vein thrombosis.
Oral Contraceptive pills have been demonstrated to increase the risk of developing breast and cervical cancer. However, they have also been shown to reduce the risk of developing uterine and ovarian cancer. In general, studies have shown that risks of cancer return to base line within 10 years of stopping use.
- If you missed a dose of the pill.
The best thing to do is to refer to the guide provided by the manufacturing company. However, the most common countermeasures include;
⏰ Within 12 hours of prescribed dosage time
→ Take the pill right away and take the next one at the fixed time from the next day.
⏰ After more than 12 hours
→ Take the pill you forgot right away, and then take the next pill you need to take as scheduled. (It's okay to take two pills on the same day.)
⏰ After more than 24 hours → Take the pill you should have taken the day before and the pill you should have taken today at once, and then continue the proper schedule from the next day. As the contraceptive effect may be reduced, avoid sexual intercourse for 7 days, or use other means such as condoms as well.
- When you need to stop taking the pill.
If the following symptoms appear while taking the pill, you should immediately notify your doctor and stop taking them.
- If you have repeated severe headaches or migraines - If your blood pressure has risen significantly (140/90 mmHg or higher) - If irregular bleeding persists past the first few months
- Pregnancy and menstruation can be controlled by taking the combined oral contraception pill
- Learn about the safety, risks and methods of the pill before you try it