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  • Writer's pictureShruti GOCHHWAL

How Birth Control Pills Damage Your Body?

Pregnancy can bring a lot of excitement, joy, and happiness to the family. But an unplanned pregnancy causes lots of frustrations and negative emotions. To avoid a pregnancy, birth control pills are used.

A Pregnancy Test at Home

Home Pregnancy test

Urine Samples for pregnancy test, Credits: pxfuel

Home pregnancy tests are not always accurate but they are close. Pregnancy strips are the easiest and quickest way of finding out whether you are pregnant or not. When the pregnancy is an unplanned one, these home pregnancy tests can help you decide whether to continue or not in an early stage itself.

Abortion in India

Abortion in India

The rates of abortion in India is high, Credits: pxfuel

Abortion in India is legal in certain circumstances and it can be performed until 20 weeks of pregnancy. Legal abortion is performed only in four circumstances.

  1. If the continuation of pregnancy poses significant physical and mental health defects to the mother

  2. Chances that the fetus develops any severe abnormalities

  3. Pregnancy happened due to failure of contraception (applicable only to married women)

  4. Pregnancy as a result of sexual assault or rape

The choice of abortions has to be purely decided by a doctor. Medical abortion is done in the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and a medicine called mifepristone is used. This pill blocks the progesterone and causes the lining of the uterus to become thin and break down. After a few days a medicine called misoprostol is prescribed. This pill makes the uterus contract and empty. After taking these pills, women experience heavy bleeding.

Shocking Statistics!

A study from Lancet estimated that 15.6 million abortions occured in India in 2015. In that, 2·7 million (81%) abortions were medication based abortions, 2·2 million (14%) abortions were surgical, and 0·8 million (5%) abortions were performed via unsafe methods.

What are Birth Control Pills?

Birth Control Pills

What are Birth Control Pills?, Credits: pxfuel

The best way to avoid abortions is to prevent unplanned pregnancies. The hormonal birth control pills help you to prevent pregnancy. These pills have significant side effects and tend to affect each person differently. Like any other drugs, these pills have lots of benefits and pose a significant number of side effects too.

How do Birth Control Pills Work?

Ovaries produce progestin and estrogen. The synthetically designed hormones are used as contraceptives. When the hormonal levels are higher than normal, it stops the ovary from releasing an egg. The progestin also tends to change the cervical mucus thick and sticky, making the job of sperm difficult to find its way to the uterus.

Hormone Contraceptives

Birth Control Pills

Hormone Contraceptives, Credits: pxfuel

The hormone-based contraceptives should only be used based on a prescription. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hormone birth controls are used by 60% of women in the United States.

They are available in various forms like

  1. Pills

  2. Patch

  3. Ring

  4. Birth control shot

  5. Intrauterine devices

  6. Implant

  7. Pills: There are many brands of oral hormonal contraceptives available. The main differences arise in the amount of progestin and estrogen in them. These pills must be consumed every day to prevent pregnancy.

Unwanted 72

Birth Control Pills

Unwanted 72 as emergency contraceptive, Credits: pxfuel

Unwanted 72 is an emergency contraceptive pill that has to be taken to prevent an unplanned pregnancy after unprotected sex. It contains Levonorgestrel and has to be taken as a single dose after food and is effective when taken within 24 hours of unprotected sexual intercourse.

Unwanted 72 inactivates LH and FSH, making the lining of the uterus unaffordable for implantation and ovulation. It does not terminate an existing pregnancy.

  1. Patch: These patches are placed on the skin and it needs to be changed every week to attain the full effect.

  2. Ring: The ring contains progestin and estrogen and is worn inside the vagina so that the vaginal lining can absorb the hormones. These rings need to be changed once a month.

  3. Birth control shot: These shots contain only progestin and help stop ovulation and need to be administered every 12 weeks in a hospital. The effects of these shots tend to last for a year even after stopping it.

  4. Intrauterine devices (IUDs): IUDs contain progesterone and are inserted into your uterus by a doctor. Depending on the type of IUDs, they need to be changed every 3 to 10 years.

  5. Implant: The implant contains progestin and is placed under the skin on the inside of your upper arm by a doctor. The effect may last for three years.

Birth Control Pills

Choice of the contraceptives depends on you, Credits: pxfuel

You have to consult with your doctor about which type of contraceptive will work for you. Each has its benefits and risks.

The chances of an unplanned pregnancy can be avoided up to 99% by taking the right measure. None of the birth control pills protects you against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

The Benefits of Birth Control Pills

Birth Control Pills-benefits

Birth Control pills have benefits too!, Credits: pxfuel

Birth control pills are used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder and endometriosis. They aid in easing menstrual cramps. They can also decrease the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers.

Side Effects of the Birth Control Pills

These birth control pills have minor to major side effects.

Effect of Birth Control Pills on Reproductive System

Side effects of birth control pills

Birth Control pills causes vaginal irritation, Credits: pexels

The pills can affect your reproductive system in the following ways.

  1. Loss of menstruation

  2. Heavy bleeding

  3. Small amounts of blood, or spotting, between periods

  4. Vaginal irritation

  5. Lighter periods

  6. Breast tenderness

  7. Breast enlargement

  8. Change in your sex drive

Effect of Birth Control Pills on the Cardiovascular and Central Nervous Systems

Side effects of birth control pills

Birth Control pills can increase blood pressure, Credits: pxfuel

  1. A healthy woman who is a nonsmoker is unlikely to experience side effects from oral contraceptives. In some women, birth control patches can increase blood pressure.

  2. The extra hormones can also increase the risk of blood clots. The potential risks of pills are higher in women who are more than 35 years, having pre-existing conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

  3.   If a woman experiences chest pain, coughs up blood and faints, immediate doctor consultation is necessary. Estrogen can aggravate migraines, and some women experience mood changes and depression.

Effects of the Birth Control pills on the Digestive System

Side effects of birth control pills

Birth Control pills can cause nausea, Credits: unsplash

The pills can affect your digestive system in the following ways.

  1. Change in appetite and weight gain

  2. Nausea

  3. Bloating

  4. Increased risk of benign liver tumors or liver cancer

If you have severe vomiting, pain and yellowing of the skin, dark urine, and light-colored stool, consult a doctor immediately.

Other common side effects include hormonal imbalance, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, and changes in mood, dizziness, and fatigue. Some other long term side effects include skin allergies, irregular periods, hair loss, and infections of ear, nose, and throat.

Take Home Message

Birth control pills can prevent pregnancy, but have minor side effects that harm you.

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