Long Term Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills: Most women have heard of “the pill”, but many of us do not know exactly what it is and how it works. In this article, you will learn what oral contraceptives are and how they work in a woman’s body.
In the 1930’s, it was discovered that the hormone, progesterone, could cause a woman to stop ovulating. When a woman ovulates each month, she produces eggs that, if fertilized by the male, resulting in a pregnancy. But, it wasn’t until 1960 that the birth control pill got approval in the United States from the Food and Drug Administration.
Birth control pills contain synthetic (man-made), estrogen and progesterone, which are natural hormones produced in a woman’s body. The synthetic hormones are extremely similar in chemical makeup to the natural hormones and have the same effect on the woman’s body. To understand what effect “the pill” has on the body, we must, therefore, know what roles estrogen and progesterone play in the woman’s body.
Estrogen is one of the two female hormones produced by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. The woman’s menstrual cycle is controlled by these hormones. Each month, the hormones trigger the uterine lining to build up, or mature, in preparation for pregnancy, then if there is none, to then, slough off. Estrogen is produced in the first few weeks of the menstrual cycle, and progesterone and estrogen are produced in the last half of the cycle, after ovulation, (release of the egg). Ovulation occurs around the middle of the cycle. Each cycle is about 28 days, roughly or each month.
Although there are other types of contraceptives, or birth control, such as the IUD, which is a device put in place by your doctor in the uterus, to prevent pregnancy, one of the most popular and common forms of birth control is oral contraceptives. “The Pill” is an oral contraceptive. There are two types of oral contraceptives. Combination control pills contain the synthetic hormones, estrogen, and progestin, which mimic the natural hormones, estrogen, and progesterone. The combination pill is more effective than the mini-pill.
Birth control pills that contain the synthetic hormones, estrogen, and progestin, to prevent pregnancy. The pill is taken orally, and the hormones in the pill are absorbed into the bloodstream. The hormones reach the hypothalamus in the brain and the anterior pituitary gland near the brain. The hormones send a signal to the hypothalamus, and then this reacts by signaling the anterior pituitary gland.
The pituitary gland, which is responsible for producing the female hormones, naturally that normally would stimulate the ovary to produce a mature egg and release it, is now inhibited from producing the hormones, due to the pill. The ovary does not release the egg because the hormones were not produced and released by the pituitary gland. Thus, ovulation does not occur. Obviously, if a mature egg is not ovulated and sent out, the fertilization and pregnancy cannot occur.
Another way the pill works is that the progestin in the pill produces a thick cervical mucus that is hostile to sperm. And lastly, even if by a rare chance, ovulation and fertilization did occur, while a woman is taking the pill, the hormones in the pills act directly on the lining of the uterus to keep it in a state that makes implantation of a fertilized egg impossible. Oral contraceptives usually stop ovulation by their action, the hypothalamus, and the pituitary gland, but they also have effects on cervical mucus and the lining of the uterus.
Birth control pills are said to be 99.66 percent effective in preventing conception if used correctly. Many women, do, however, take them incorrectly, such as missing a pill here and there, thus, decreasing the effectiveness of the pill and giving a chance that she will become pregnant.
First of all the pill is convenient because the pill is taken daily, routinely, so there is no worry as to the timing related to sexual intercourse. Oral contraceptive use, also, is said to reduce the occurrence of menstrual cramps. Another pro is that the periods or flow is lighter. Women lose less blood, so there is a less chance of iron deficiency in the blood.
There are less PMS symptoms because there is no ovulation, acne diminishes or improves, and there is a 75% less chance of developing ovarian cysts. This is because ovarian cysts are caused by eggs in the ovaries that are not released and continue growing in the ovary and develop into cysts, which can be painful and sometimes have to be surgically removed.
Like almost anything, there are good and bad sides. Some of the downsides of using “the pill” include the following:
You have to see a doctor in order to get the pills prescribed to you.
Next, a woman must be very accurate and faithful in taking them or they are not effective.
Nausea, weight gain, swelling, breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding, which is unexpected bouts of bleeding, some women have trouble with their contact lenses because of the estrogen-related fluid retention which changes the shape of the cornea.
Some women have reported a decrease in libido while on the pill. Breastfeeders say it can decrease the amount of milk.
Headaches are common complaints.
For a small percentage, acne or other facial complexion problems get worse instead of improving.
Strokes, heart attacks, and blood clots are eight times more likely in women who smoke while using the pill than those who do not smoke. The pill does not cause cancer, but you should have an annual Pap smear, as should all women to detect early signs of cervical cancer.
Women who have high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer or a history of blood clots, it is not recommended to take the pill. Overall, birth control pills have come a long way, they are made much better than when they first came onto the market 40 years ago.
There is an increased risk of cervical and breast cancers
It increases the risk of heart attack and stroke
It Increases Migraines
Increased higher blood pressure
Chances of gallbladder disease
Increases in Infertility
Chances of benign liver tumors
A decrease in bone density
Chances of yeast overgrowth and infection
Increase in the risk of blood clotting
They contain lower doses of hormones, so there are not nearly as many side effects, yet it is effective. With weighing the positive and the negative attributes of the pill, it is clearly believed that, for most women, the benefits outweigh the risks. Talk to your doctor, to find out what is the best alternative for you.
Finally, one last note, the pill does prevent pregnancy, but it does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases.
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