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Understanding the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill

Understanding the Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill

What is the combined oral contraceptive pill?

The combined oral contraceptive pill, also known as the birth control pill, is a daily pill that contains two synthetic types of hormones: estrogen and progesterone. When taken in the proper dosage and with the correct intervals, the combined oral contraceptive pill can help you to prevent unplanned pregnancies.

There are several brands on the market. Each one is slightly different in terms of the type of synthetic estrogen or progesterone they contain, but all of them work equally well to prevent pregnancy.

How does this pill work?

The pill works by preventing the biological function of ovulation from occurring through the introduction of hormones.

When you are on the combined oral contraceptive pill, you stop releasing an eggs from your ovaries. Additionally, your cervical mucus thickens, which makes it harder for any sperm to enter your uterus. Finally, your uterine lining will be thinner, which will make implantation of any egg more difficult.

All factors considered, the combined oral contraceptive pill can prevent conception up to 99% of the time if used correctly and consistently.

Who should take the combined oral contraceptive pill?

Most females seeking a temporary barrier-free contraceptive method can consider using the combined oral contraceptive pill. However, suitability can change with certain medical conditions.

Taking the combined oral contraceptive pills may actually be beneficial or women with medical conditions like severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea), thick menstrual flow (menorrhagia), acne problems, or premenstrual syndrome symptoms.

The converse is true if you have pre-existing medical illnesses like poorly controlled high blood pressure, migraines with aura, breast or hormone-related malignancies, liver or gallbladder issues, blood clots (thrombosis), or a family history of thrombotic tendencies. Additionally, this pill is not recommended for smokers, especially those over 35.

You may want to check with your doctor if you are taking any regular, long-term drugs because some medications may interfere with the combined oral contraceptive pill and reduce its effectiveness.

What are advantages and disadvantages of using the combined oral contraceptive pill?

Benefits:

  • It promotes sexual spontaneity.
  • It can ease menorrhagia or dysmenorrhea symptoms in women.
  • It can regulate menstrual cycles and lessen premenstrual syndrome symptoms.
  • Some forms of the combined oral contraceptive pill can treat acne.
  • It lowers the risk of ovarian and uterine cancer.

Cons:

  • Requires daily pill taking, and people who regularly forget to take them may not be sufficiently protected against unintended pregnancy.
  • It may have a number of side effects (see below), but if any of them become intolerable, the medication can be stopped at any time.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections.
  • Depending on the severity of your condition, taking a tablet may not work as well if you have nausea or diarrhoea.

What are the possible side effects of taking the oral combination contraceptive pill?

  • Breast tenderness
  • Bloating
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes or mood swings
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual cycles might be common, especially in the initial starting phase.

What may I anticipate after taking the medication?

With a few exceptions, most combined oral contraceptive pills sold in Singapore are monophasic 21-day pills. This implies that you take hormonal pills for 21 days in a row, then skip medication for 7 days (some brands may come with 7 placebo pills which do not contain any hormones). This is done in an effort to replicate the menstrual cycle.

You should try to take the pill every day at the same time. If you miss a dose, consult your doctor immediately because the best course of action will depend on where you are in your cycle.

When should I start taking the pill?

You will avoid an unintended pregnancy if you begin on the first day of your menstrual cycle and will not require further barrier protection. However, you should use additional barrier protection for a week before you can have unprotected intercourse without risk if you start throughout the rest of your menstrual cycle, especially if it is after Day 5.

While taking the combined oral contraceptive pill, would I still have periods?

Your period will still happen, but it will probably be lighter than usual. Additionally, the pill will help with symptoms of unpleasant menstrual cycles (dysmenorrhea), which is a natural condition.

The pills can be taken constantly without a pill-free interval for longer than a month if you wish to avoid monthly periods, whether due to an underlying medical condition as recommended by your doctor or for personal convenience. Before embarking on this journey, you should discuss this with your doctor as well.

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