Pros & Cons of the Contraceptive Pill

Pros & Cons of the Contraceptive Pill

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01 December 2023 . 3 min read

Introduction

Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) have been a game-changing family planning method for countless women over the decades. However, it may be challenging to decide whether OCPs are the right contraceptive method for you, especially with so many others available today.

That’s why understanding more about the advantages and disadvantages of OCPs may help you make a more informed decision! Let’s get started!

What are contraceptive pills?

So, diving straight in, what are contraceptive pills? In a nutshell, they're our trusty sidekicks in birth control. These pills adjust our hormones to keep the egg from being released from the ovary during ovulation. No egg means no fertilisation and, therefore, no pregnancy! Plus, they increase the thickness of the cervical mucus, making it difficult for the sperm to swim up the vagina and meet the egg.

Now, if you're scratching your head thinking about when to take contraceptive pills, here's the scoop: timing is everything. For the best shot at keeping unintended pregnancies at bay, pop that pill at the same time every day.

Your doctor will prescribe the appropriate contraceptive pill based on your health and family planning wishes. Despite their high efficacy, contraceptive pills have disadvantages as well. Let's learn more about the benefits and side effects of OCPs on the menstrual cycle and overall health.

Advantages of the Contraceptive Pill

If you are considering using the contraceptive pill to prevent pregnancy, here are some advantages of using them:

  1. Highly effective

    How to use contraceptive pills? You should take a contraceptive pill daily, starting on the first day of your period and continuing for 21 days (in a 21-day pack). It's essential to take them at the same time each day for the best results. When taken correctly, it's a reliable birth control method (91% effective). Progestin-only pills (mini-pills) are even more effective (99%) when taken as your doctor directs.

  2. Convenient

    Unlike a few methods of contraception, contraceptive pills are convenient and can be taken discretely.

  3. Immediately reversible

    Stopping the oral contraceptive pill under your doctor's guidance can almost immediately reverse your fertility, unlike LARCs and surgical methods.

  4. Regulates menstruation

    Since combined oral contraceptive pills contain oestrogen and progesterone, they can help regulate periods and reduce menstrual pain.

  5. Non-Invasive

    Compared to LARCs and injectables, contraceptive pills are non-invasive and do not need surgeries or insertion procedures.

Other advantages of the contraceptive pill are:

  • It is safe for most women.
  • It may decrease the risk of ovarian, uterine and colon cancers.

Disadvantages of the contraceptive pill

Though widely preferred, there are a few disadvantages of the contraceptive pill, such as:

  • Difficult to remember taking the pill: You must take it every day, at the same time, for it to be effective. However, it is common for women to forget to take the pill during a hectic or stressful day.
  • Side effects: One of the most significant drawbacks of contraceptive pills is their side effects. Common side effects of these pills include:
    • Breast soreness or tenderness
    • Nausea and bloating
    • Headaches
    • Weight gain
    • Loss of sex drive
    • Mood changes
    • Brown patches on the face

You may also experience side effects of contraceptive pills on your menstrual cycle.

Depending on the method of birth control used, periods can be longer, shorter, heavier, or lighter. Most hormonal birth control methods cause spotting and irregular bleeding, especially in the first few months of use.

  • Do not protect against STIs: Another drawback of the contraceptive pill is that it doesn't protect you from sexually transmitted infections (STIs). So, if you are using the pill, you must still wear a condom while having sex to protect from STIs like HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, etc.

Conclusion

To Wrap it Up, the contraceptive pill, with its many benefits and a few downsides, stands out as a versatile choice. But remember, you're unique, and so are your health needs. Always chat with a healthcare pro to figure out what ticks all your boxes in the contraception department.