Men's Health | Women's Health | Kid's Health | Family Planning | Disease Condition | Nutrition | Dental Health | Mental Health | Emergencies

Alternative Medicine | Sex Guide | Health Insurance | Weight Loss Guide | Home Remedies | Pregnancy Guide |

Wellness Tips

Weight Loss Wellness

Beauty & Wellness

Health and Wellness

Women's Wellness

Men's Wellness

Sex Wellness


Home » Family Planning » Combined Oral Contraceptives

Combined Oral Contraceptives

Women who use oral contraceptives swallow a pill each day to prevent pregnancy. Combined oral contraceptives contain two hormones similar to the natural hormones in a woman’s body---an estrogen and a progestin. Also called combined pills, COC’s, OC’s, the pill and birth control pills.

How do they work?
-Stop ovulation (release of eggs from ovaries)
-Also thicken cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to pass through.
-They do not work by disrupting existing pregnancy.

How effective?
Effectively as commonly used – 6 to 8 pregnancies per 100 women in first year of use (1 in every 17 to 1 in every 12).
Very effective when used correctly and consistently – 0.1 pregnancies per 100 women in first year of use (1 in every 1,000).

Advantages
Very effective when used correctly
No need to do anything at time of sexual intercourse
Increased sexual enjoyment because no need to worry about pregnancy
Monthly periods are regular; lighter monthly bleeding and fewer days of bleeding; milder and fewer menstrual cramps

Can be used at any age from adolescence to menopause
Fertility returns soon after stopping
Can be used as an emergency contraceptive after unprotected sex
Can prevent or decrease iron deficiency, anemia

Helps prevent:
-Ectopic pregnancies
-Endometrial cancer
-Ovarian cancer
-Ovarian cysts
-Pelvic inflammatory disease
-Benign breast disease

Disadvantages
Nausea (most common in first three months)
Spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods, especially if woman forgets to take her pills or takes them late (most common in first three months)
Breast tenderness
Slight weight gain
Not recommended for breast feeding women because they effect quality and quantity of milk
Very rarely can cause stroke, blood clots in deep veins of the legs, or heart attack. Those at highest risk are women with high blood pressure and women who are age 35 or old and at the same time smoke more than 20 cigarettes per day
Do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Starting Low-Dose Combined Oral Contraceptives

When to start?
The first day of the menstrual bleeding is best
Any of the first 7 days after her menstrual bleeding has already stopped, some programs advise avoiding sex or using condoms or spermicide for seven days
After she stops breast feeding or 6 months after child birth—whichever comes first
3 to 6 weeks after childbirth. No need to wait for menstrual periods to return to be certqain that she is not pregnant

Some important points for the user to remember
Pills can be very effective if taken regularly every day
Safe-Serious problems are very rare
Please come back or see another health care provider at once if you have severe , constant pain in the chest, leg, or belly, or very bad headaches, if you see flashing lights or zigzag lines, or if your skin or eyes become unusually yellow (jaundice)
Pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including HIV/ AIDS. If you think you might get an STD, use condoms regularly along with your pills.

Suggested Reading -
- Deciding what method of birth control to use is not easy. Here's and overview of the various methods available.