Birth Control-Hormonal: Pills

Hormonal or chemical birth control pills will be explained in this video, with the pros and cons of each type. But before I demonstrate the different types, I would like to explain to you how hormonal birth control pills work.

When a lady is pregnant, ovulation (or egg release) does not occur. That’s how our body’s system normally works. The hormones in a woman’s body are balanced in a certain way that makes the hormones that stimulate the release of the eggs – called the ovulation hormones – to become inactive during pregnancy. So we thought: If we give the woman pregnancy hormones in pills, we will be able to inhibit ovulation, in other words: to stop it from happening, which, in turn, would prevent the pregnancy to occur. So the scientists decided to put the pregnancy hormone and the female hormone in a pill.

This gives us an idea about the first type of birth control pills. This type consists of synthetic forms of hormones – the pregnancy hormone progesterone (called progestin) and the female hormone oestrogen.

On the other hand there’s another type of birth control pills that consists of the pregnancy hormone only, and in a very small amount. It is called the mini Pill or the Progesterone-Only Pill (P.O.P.).

The pills I will talk about are not the only hormonal birth control methods. We can take other forms of chemical or birth control at the doctor’s office, which would have the same mechanism of action.

So, back to the pills. Let me explain them now.

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Let’s start with a combined pill. “Combined” because it has a combination of hormones. Let’s know more about it. The combined pill consists of progestin – a synthetic progesterone (the pregnancy hormone) – and oestrogen (the female hormone). You will need to take a pill daily for 21 days, starting from the 7th day of your menstruation. Even if you’re still bleeding, you must start using the pill. Take a pill daily for 21 days and stop the pill for 7 days, taking into consideration that your period cycle is 28 days.

The combined pill is a good birth control choice in cases of:

  • You don’t mind to take hormones for birth control
  • You usually suffer from pains [I’m not sure about what comes here à 2:40] during menstruating, since it will ease the dysmenorrhea.
  • If your period is not regular, this will regulate it.
  • You bleed heavily during the period: it will decrease the amount of bleeding, which in turn might prevent you from becoming anaemic.
  • If you have acne: this might improve your skin condition.
  • You’re not a smoker

The combined pills are not good if you

… don’t wish to take any hormones

… are Breastfeeding

… are a heart patient

… have hypertension or high blood pressure

… have risk of thrombosis or atherosclerosis

… have had diabetes for more than 20 years

… have a liver or gall bladder disease

… have a history of breast cancer in the past 5 years

… are suffering from recurrent migraines or have the symptoms that proceed migraine, called the aura

… are overweight

… have been taking medications such as antibiotics, epilepsy medications or antidepressants

All these may weaken the effect of the combined pill. Always read the patient information leaflets. This birth control method is 99% effective, on condition that the pill is taken on the same time every day.

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The other type is the mini Pill or the pill that has progestin only, which is the synthetic form of the pregnancy hormone progesterone. Let’s have a look.

The mini Pill or P.O.P. is consisting of synthetic progesterone, which is one of the pregnancy hormones. Take one pill at the same time every day from the 5th day of your menstruation. Do not forget to take it at the same time daily, to make sure it’s ultimately working.

The mini Pill is a good choice if you…

… don’t mind to take hormones

… have an irregular period

… are breastfeeding

… are a smoker

… are aged 35 or older

… suffer from menstruation problems

The mini Pill is not a good choice if you

… do not prefer to take hormones

… do not remember to take the pill daily or do not wish to bother remembering it everyday

… had breast or liver cancer

… have had polycystic ovaries or ovarian cysts

… have experienced ectopic pregnancy, which is pregnancy outside the uterus

… had vaginal bleeding for unknown reasons (like bleeding between two regular periods or after sexual intercourse)

… do not wish to have any chances in your menstrual periods

This birth control method is 99% effective if taken as prescribed.

In case of an emergency you can take one pill that has a concentrated amount of the pregnancy hormone. So your body will think that you are pregnant and ovulation or implantation will be prevented.

When do these emergency cases happen? Might you forget to take one of your pills on time? Or if you’re not using any birth control methods and had unprotected sexual intercourse, you can take the morning after pill.

So, again, let’s see when this morning after pill can come in handy:

It’s an emergency birth control pill, and you can use it…

… when you have unsafe sexual intercourse, like when you’ve had intercourse and your partner is not using a condom

… when the condom brakes during sex

… if you used the birth control pills the wrong way or forgot to take one

… in cases of rape

This morning after pill is available at the pharmacies. It is best to be used within 72 hours after sexual intercourse. The morning after pill package might contain one or two pills, but most of the times one pill is enough. Please make sure that you read the patient information leaflet before use.

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I wish you the best of health!

Alyaa Gad