The Birth Control Pill

The most commonly used non-surgical method of contraception in the United States is the birth control pill with over ten million women currently making use of it.

The fact is that when it first came out in the 1960s it was a taste of freedom for women who had found the other methods they had to use less convenient, more of a hassle and more disruptive to their sex life.

These other methods were also not as effective as what the Pill promised to be. The Pill was their answer. It works because of two types of hormones. One is estrogen and the other is progestogen. The purpose of this mix of hormones is to prevent a woman from ovulating. If she does not ovulate there is no egg and so there can be no pregnancy.

It also works to make the mucus thicker in the cervix which prevents the sperm from travelling and finally it thickens the wall of the womb to make it harder for an egg to attach. With these three steps the Pill is ninety nine percent effective.

FDA Action

Its appearance in the medical field, and eventual availability to the public, was strictly watched by the FDA, Federal Drug Administration, and has been ever since. There have been more studies conducted on the Pill and the potential for side effects because of the long term use issues than any other medicine.

They were looking for horror stories, certain that this wonder drug for women would be a curse as well. They were proven wrong. Over the years the Pill has undergone many changes. The dose levels have been adjusted down to make using this method of contraception as easy on a womans body as possible.

Side Effects

When it first came out there were many fears about side effects. These included blood clots, stroke, heart attacks, infertility and cancer. Years and years of research have put most of these fears to rest. A healthy woman, non-smoking, has no higher risk of these eventualities when taking the Pill than the women who uses other methods of contraception. It is even believed that the Pill protects woman from certain cancers.

Originally the FDA had put a ceiling of forty on the age they allowed the Pill to be prescribed for. This was lifted and the only caution added was that the woman should be healthy and non-smoking. Women who smoke should not use the Pill after the age of thirty five as it can affect their chance of having a serious health issue like a stroke or heart attack.

The Pill can be used two ways. It can be taken for twenty one days and then allow the woman a seven day break while she has her period.

Or it can be taken twenty eight days with the last seven days being placebos. This is for women who are concerned that a week off will get them out of the routine of taking their pill. The decision on which to take is purely personal preference.