Birth control pills have always been an exquisite choice of contraception for women who have been taking these pills without any hesitation or fear. Many women have relied upon them for long and consider birth control pills as an ultimate method to avoid pregnancy. However, it is also true that your birth control pill may not be the safest option available for you.
The popularity of these pills is not just due to their ease in consumption but also because of the multiple benefits they offer. A contraceptive pill normalizes the menstrual cycle, regulates the blood flow, relieves the menstrual cramps and prevents unwanted pregnancy. But the easy availability of emergency pills (like i-pill) being sold over the counter without any medical prescription has raised one question - Is it safe to take contraception pills without consulting a doctor?
AdvertisementAn oral contraceptive pill contains two types of female hormones, progestin and estrogen; the right combination of these is used to prevent the release of ovum from the ovaries for fertilization. But the ratio of progestin and estrogen varies from one pill to another and it is this ratio which makes one pill different from another. While some pills possess progestin in higher quantities, others may have estrogen as the main component. It is crucial to understand that different women have different needs of these hormones and thus should take the pill only after consulting a doctor.
Pills vary in the amount of female hormones they contain. Taking a pill that strikes the right balance of hormones needed by your body is a prerequisite. While the emergency pills are taken within 72 hour of having unprotected sex, the progesterone-containing pills are recommended for lactating mothers. On the contrary, pills are not recommended in women with a family history of jaundice, blood pressure, weak cervix, blood coagulation problems or infections. Thus, a general check up with a gynecologist is mandatory before you start taking any birth control pill.
There are three different types of combination birth-control pills. They are:
• Monophasic Pills
• Biphasic pills
• Triphasic Pills
While monophasic birth control pills deliver estrogen and progestin in equal quantities, biphasic pills deliver female hormones in different ratios during different periods of the cycles. In triphasic pills, the hormone concentrations (both estrogen and progestin) keep changing throughout the cycle.
Though the birth control pills are 99.7 per cent effective and score high over any other method of contraception, each type of pill has its own side effects. The risk of side effects increases if emergency pills are consumed without proper consultation with a doctor.
A thorough medical examination not only reduces the possibility of side effects but also increases the effectiveness of the pill. Consuming an inappropriate contraception pill may result in irregular menstrual bleeding or it may even lead to delayed conception when the woman wants to conceive.
While the emergency pills should be taken within 72 hours, other pills should be taken at the start of menstrual cycle. However remember that the birth control pills do not protect from AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases (STD). It is always recommended to use a condom to prevent getting infected.
Taking other medicines along with contraception pills may hinder with the effectiveness of the pill and it may fail to control birth or deliver other desired results. Diarrhea and vomiting that occur at the beginning of the birth control pill course also tend to lower the effectiveness of the pill.
Progestin can cause unpleasant side effects such as breast swelling and tenderness, acne and fluid retention. A doctor is the best person to tell which pills are likely to suit you the best.
Oral pills are also gaining popularity because they help women to delay or advance periods as and when they like. While the birth control pills prevent unwanted pregnancy, adolescent and young women take pills to treat irregular or absent menstrual cycles. Many of these women do not care to consult a gynecologist before taking these pills which later makes the situation worse for them. Like birth control pills, pills to control menstruation should also be taken only after thorough medical examination. Consuming these pills may lead to mood swings that go away with exercise and proper diet but if they still persist, the woman may need to change the type of pill she is consuming.
Often, women fear that taking oral contraceptive pills may cause birth defects or may reduce their fertility. It must be understood that though these pills are not that dangerous, they may have some negative effect on the reproductive system which is why consultation is important.
It is advisable that one should not go by advertisements or word of mouth. Rather, it is advisable to have a proper examination done by a gynecologist before taking birth control pills.
Reference: Based on personal interview of Dr Arpana, a gynaecologist with Alchemist hospital.