The "pill" is the most favoured and approved contraceptive choice among females. The oral contraceptive pill is often called the "pill". It contains synthetic or unnatural versions of female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are naturally produced in the ovaries.
As we know, pregnancy happens when the sperm reaches an egg. Contraception is the way to cease this by keeping the egg and sperm apart or stopping the release of an egg (ovulation). It prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. You can't get pregnant if you don't release an egg.
The recommended way to take the pill is to take one every day for twenty-one days. Then take a break for seven days. During this week, you experience bleeding like a period. After seven days, start retaking the pill. However, you might be protected from getting pregnant after seven days of consistent use of birth control pills. The term "consistent" means taking the pill every day at the same time (plus or minus two hours). Try taking medicine at around the same time every day. Consistency not only increases the pill's effectiveness but following a schedule will make it easier to remember. If you take the pill every day simultaneously, the chance of you getting pregnant is 1%. However, you might get pregnant if you do not follow this. The risk also prevails if you miss a pill, vomit, or have severe diarrhoea. So, one week of birth control pills is enough to put the ovaries to sleep and keep you from getting pregnant.
The pill is over 99% effective if used correctly. But that's effective only if you never skip a dose and take the pills ideally every time. It is not suitable if you smoke or are over 35, or if you have certain medical conditions. Continue reading the article and explore how you can benefit from the pill.
How long the pill takes to be effective?
Protection from pregnancy depends on when you start taking your pill and the type of pill you use. Be wise enough to use backup contraception, like condoms or abstaining from sex for the first seven days you are on birth control. Also, the time the pill takes to become effective depends on whether you're taking combination or progestin-only pills. You may start taking the combination pill at any time. Combination pills contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin, and prevent ovulation.
It is effective immediately if a woman takes the first dose within five days of her period. If you start at any other time, the pill takes seven days to work. If you start within 5 days after your period starts, you're protected from the pregnancy right away. There is no need to use a backup method of birth control, like a condom. To be more precise and clear, if your period starts on a Monday morning, you can start the pill up to the following Wednesday morning to be protected. However, suppose you begin taking it at any other time during your menstrual cycle. In that case, you'll be protected from pregnancy after seven days of using the pill. Try using some other method of birth control, like a condom, if you have vaginal sex during that time.
You can start the minipill (progestin-only pill) at any time. The "minipill" starts working right away if you take it between days one and five of your menstrual cycle. You must take the first pill five days after the period begins. However, these pills take two days to work if the person has a short cycle or starts taking the pills after day five. You have to use another method of birth control, like a condom, in case of having sexual contact during the first 48 hours of progestin-pill use. Protection will begin after two days.
Who Can Take the Pill?
There is no hard and fast rule; you can take the pill at any time and any age, as long as you are sure of not already pregnant. It is better to take a minipill if you are near menopause. Minipill contains one hormone instead of the usual two and in a lesser amount. The pill may not be the right choice for you if you:
- are over 35 years of age and smoke
- have high blood pressure
- have a history of circulation problems, stroke, heart disease, or breast cancer
- are breastfeeding within the past month
- have migraine headache
- have liver disease
- have unexplained uterine bleeding
Benefits of the Pill
Apart from contraception, the pill offers certain other benefits like:
- your period may be more regular, lighter, and/or shorter with less cramping
- pill may help with acne and painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- it may lower your risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer
- safe to use the pill for many years; no need to "take a break" from the pill
- you can get pregnant as soon as you stop using the pill
Side effects of the pill
Like every medicine, the pill has side effects. However, these are rare and temporary and may last a few days. The common side effects are:
- Tender breasts
- Upset stomach (nausea)
- Slight weight gain or loss
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
If you have any side effects, don't stop taking the pill. Instead, talk to your healthcare provider. Most of the side effects get better within 3 months.