Hormonal Birth Control Pills
One of the most common types of birth control are hormonal birth control pills, or oral contraceptives. There are two types: combination birth control pills and progestin-only birth control pills, or the mini pill. The hormones in these pills taken every day work to prevent pregnancy by either stopping ovulation and/or by thickening cervical mucus and preventing sperm from reaching an egg. If you take them as guided, every day at the exact same time, they have a 99% effectiveness rate.
How Effective Is The Pill
The pill has the potential to be 99% effective at preventing pregnancy if you take it without fail meaning you dont forget to take the pill for even a day or two. However, taking the pill perfectly can be difficult, which is why nine out of 100 women who use the pill will have an unintended pregnancy every year. The pill is most reliable when you take it consistently at the same time each day. Being consistent helps keep hormone levels from fluctuating.
How Long Does It Last
Most people will notice symptoms within 4 to 6 months of stopping the pill or other hormonal contraceptive.
Brighten notes that for some, these symptoms can resolve in a matter of months. Others may need more long-term support.
But, with the right help, symptoms can usually be treated.
The most talked about symptoms revolve around periods whether its no periods, infrequent periods, heavy periods, or painful ones.
Menstrual cycle irregularities can be caused by natural hormonal imbalances your body had before birth control.
Or they can be a result of your body taking its time to return to the normal hormone production needed for menstruation.
But period issues arent the only symptoms.
Because you have hormone receptors in every system of your body, the symptoms can also present in systems outside of the reproductive tract, Brighten explains.
Hormonal alterations can lead to skin issues like acne, fertility issues, and hair loss.
Digestive problems can ensue, ranging from excessive gas and bloating to traditional upsets.
People may also experience migraine attacks, weight gain, and signs of a mood disorder, such as anxiety or depression.
That last one has caused some concern particularly after the publication of a large-scale
- a whole host of vitamins, including B-2, B-6, B-12, C, and E
So, taking supplements to boost levels of the above may help symptoms of post-birth control syndrome.
You can also try regulating your bodys circadian rhythm.
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Side Effects Of The Progesterone
The progesterone-only pill, or minipill, doesnt contain the hormone estrogen which is found in the combined pill. Its often a hormonal birth control option for those who face risks taking the combined pill, e.g. those with a family history of blood clots. Side effects of the progesterone-only pill include:
Getty Images 8 Your Risk Of Blood Clots Goes Way Up
The estrogen in hormonal birth control puts women at an increased risk for a number of medical issues, says Masterson.
Theres a one in 1,000 risk of deep vein thrombosis , so if you experience calf pain, swelling of the legs, or shortness of breath, those are serious side effects that need to be addressed by calling 911 or your doctor, says Masterson.
Also, keep an eye out for signs of a heart attack, like pain in your chest, back, shoulder, arm, or neck and signs of a stroke, such as numbness or weakness of the face, arm, or leg, a sudden, severe headache, or confusion.
Some women are more at risk for these conditions than others, like smokers or those with a family history. So, Masterson says it’s smart for women to have their blood pressure checked regularly, particularly after starting a new birth control, and to pay close attention to any alarming signs.
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What Are Levonorgestrel And Ulipristal
Unlike the other pills, these arenât intended for regular birth control. Levonorgestrel and ulipristal acetate can greatly lower your chances of getting pregnant if you had unprotected sex or if youâre concerned that your usual birth control method didnât work.
Levonorgestrel is about 88% effective if you use it as directed. You need to take it as soon as possible within 3 days of having sex.
Ulipristal is about 60% to 70% effective if you use it correctly. You need to take it ASAP within 5 days of having sex.
Back Pains And Cramping
Yes, theyre annoying, but these aches are signs of exciting things happening in your body. As your body prepares to ovulate every month, the follicle on your ovary holding the egg that could become your baby begins to grow.
When the follicle ruptures and releases the egg and surrounding fluid, it can be irritating, causing cramping and lower back pain. You may even feel a quick pinch on one side of your lower abdomen when the egg matures and releases from an ovary . While these pains are no fun, they could clue you in as to when you ovulate so you know when to jump in the sack.
If you find that this pain is getting progressively worse, consult with your OB/GYN, since hormonal contraception can mask the painful symptoms of some conditions like endometriosis.
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Enhancing Healthcare Team Outcomes
Oral contraceptive pills provide patients with the option to prevent pregnancy. If the patient has medical conditions that put them at increased risk for taking combined OC or progestin OC, the prescriber should inform patients of many alternatives to prevent pregnancy. OC’s are a choice made by the patient and her clinician after adequate counseling of risks and benefits. There are significant non-contraceptive uses of hormonal contraceptives, and these should be considered when counseling the patient about her options. Many OC formulations can provide menstrual regularity, treating both menorrhagia and dysmenorrhea. They can even be utilized to induce amenorrhea for lifestyle considerations.
Are There Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills
There are side effects of birth control pills, although most are not serious. Side effects include:
- Swelling or aching in the legs and thighs
Birth control pills that have drospirenone, including Yaz and Yasmin, have been investigated by the FDA because of the possibility that they cause a higher risk for blood clots. Drospirenone is a human-made version of the hormone progesterone. Other brands with drospirenone include Beyaz, Gianvi, Loryna, Ocella, Safyral, Syeda, and Zarah.
The results of the investigation are inconsistent. Some studies showed a higher risk, but others didnât. The drugs are still available. A summary of the findings is on the packaging label. If youâre taking a pill with drospirenone, talk with your doctor about your risk.
The pill is not linked with an overall increased risk of cancer. Its use was tied to a lower risk of colorectal, endometrial, and ovarian cancers. A higher risk of breast and cervical cancers was seen in current and recent birth control pill users, but the risk went away within 5 years.
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Its Actually Used For Doping In Men Sometimes Belinda Pletzer
Its actually used for doping in men sometimes, says Belinda Pletzer, a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Salzburg, Austria. It helps build muscle, so its popular with powerlifters and boxers: the former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury recently served a two-year suspension after testing positive for the steroid in 2015
The hormone used by the pill is a close relative of an androgen that male boxers have used for doping
Weve known about these side effects for decades: the first progestin ever made, norethindrone, was androgenic.
Back in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, pregnant women sometimes took norethindrone in large doses to help prevent miscarriage. But the hormone also caused some unsettling changes to their bodies.
The women were sweatier, hairier and spottier. Some noticed that their voices had deepened. Nearly one in five baby girls born to mothers taking it had masculinised genitals. Some of these unlucky children required surgery.
Today androgenic progestins are much less androgenic. The doses in contraceptive pills are much smaller, and the hormones are usually combined with synthetic oestrogen, which cancels out many of the masculine effects on our bodies.
But there are some side effects.
More recent types of contraceptive pill are designed to be anti-androgenic, often prescribed to treat acne or excessive hair growth
Even small amounts of testosterone can make some parts of the female brain get smaller and others to get bigger
Further Understanding Birth Control
This is your brain on Birth Control is a book I heard of from Marisa from Miss Fit and Nerdy.
She talks about it in her video , and also explains more of the science about how birth control works and what the side effects are.
She is very smart and has a LOT of great info on Hormonal Birth Control.
I highly suggest watching her video and subscribing to her channel on YouTube if you enjoy fact filled nutrition, health and fitness videos for women.
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What Is Birth Control
Birth control is a way to prevent pregnancy, and it comes in many forms. Some forms of birth control might have beneficial side effects, such as making periods lighter, and people may take them for reasons other than preventing pregnancy.
Birth control varies in terms of its permanence. The permanent option is sterilization, including tubal ligation and vasectomy , which alters the tubes that carry either sperm or eggs, rendering them ineffective for reproduction.
Another option is a long-acting reversible contraceptive method, such as an IUD or hormonal implant. Many people choose these options or a short-acting hormonal contraceptive, such as the hormonal birth control pill, patch, ring or shot. Both long-acting and short-acting birth control work by either preventing ovulation or preventing sperm from reaching an egg in order to stop a pregnancy from occurring.
If you dont want to use one of these methods, there are barrier methods, including condoms, diaphragms,vaginal pH modulators or spermicides, all of which are designed to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Other birth control methods dont involve using any kind of added protection, such as menstrual cycle tracking. These types of birth control wont necessarily have the same side effects as certain forms of hormonal birth control but rely more on the user to use a method before every act of intercourse or track menstrual cycles daily.
Youre Experiencing Less Menstrual Migraine
Now, for a good side effect: hormonal birth control can lessen your menstrual migraine.
Menstrual migraines are often caused by low estrogen levels during this phase. Aside from migraines, you can also experience other problems such as dizziness, nausea, and light sensitivity. Adding some estrogen via birth control pills can lessen or even prevent menstrual migraines altogether.
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Getty Images 6 You’re Not Getting Menstrual Migraines As Much Anymore
If you have a predictable migraine associated with onset of period, taking hormonal birth control can allow you not to get the migraine in the first place, says Masterson. A drop in estrogen is to blame for these intense menstrual headaches , so a consistent level of estrogen can help you avoid them.
But the news isnt all good: Masterson warns that migraine with aura is associated with a higher risk of stroke, and is incompatible with hormonal birth control. We would take a careful history of a patient with migraines to make sure they are candidates, she says.
How Do You Get It
A doctor or a nurse practitioner must prescribe the Pill. They’ll ask about a girl’s health and family medical history, and will do an exam, which may include a pelvic exam. If the doctor or NP prescribes birth control pills, they’ll explain when to begin taking the Pill and what to do if pills are missed.
The doctor or NP might want to do a blood pressure check a few months later and make sure there are no other problems. After that, girls who are having sex should get routine exams every 6 months to a year, or as recommended.
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Mental Health And Depression
In one randomized controlled study of 178 women, those on birth control experienced less premenstrual depression, but during other parts of their cycle were more likely to be anxious and moody. An observational study of over 1 million women in Denmark, found that women who took the pill with both estrogen and progesterone were about 20% more likely to end up on an antidepressant. There may even be an impact on cognitive function. According to one small study of 43 women, those on birth control pills had worse verbal fluency than those not taking a hormonal form of birth control.
How Could Oral Contraceptives Influence Cancer Risk
Naturally occurring estrogen and progesterone stimulate the development and growth of some cancers . Because birth control pills contain synthetic versions of these female hormones, they could potentially also increase cancer risk.
In addition, oral contraceptives might increase the risk of cervical cancer by changing the susceptibility of cervical cells to persistent infection with high-risk HPV types .
Researchers have proposed multiple ways that oral contraceptives may lower the risks of some cancers, including
- suppressing endometrial cell proliferation
- reducing the number of ovulations a woman experiences in her lifetime, thereby reducing exposure to naturally occurring female hormones
- lowering the levels of bile acids in the blood for women taking oral conjugated estrogens
Burkman R, Schlesselman JJ, Zieman M. Safety concerns and health benefits associated with oral contraception. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology 2004 190:S522.
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Why You Should Not Go On Birth Control
According to the Food and Drug Administration , the effects of continuously raised estrogen levels in the female body due to taking birth control pills may include an increased risk of breast cancer, blood clotting, migraines, liver problems, increased blood pressure, weight gain, and spotting between periods.
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The pill has been widely shown to be safe, but as is the case with any drug, it can come with side effects and risks, including an increased risk of blood clots. Its worth noting that hormonal contraceptives are used not just to prevent pregnancy, but treat certain conditions such as hormonal acne, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis, among others. It can also lower the risk for certain types of cancers ovarian in particular when taken long-term.
Still, given how many people take hormonal contraception, the lack of more robust data on side effects is notable, and leads some patients to want to experiment with going hormone-free.
Paula Castaño, associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, said theres a range of reasons that influence whether patients decide to stop taking the pill.
I think is multifactorial, she said. For some women, its a feeling or desire that they want to know what they feel like when theyre not on birth control, for some it is a question about whether there are any health reasons why they should, for some there is concern about whether fertility is affected in any way by long-term contraceptive use. A large factor in deciding to stop taking the pill can be influence from friends and family based on their opinions and experiences, whether or not those are based in medical fact.
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Hormonal Birth Control Implants
A hormonal implant is placed under the skin by a health care provider in order to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. It releases a progestin-only hormone to stop ovulation from occurring and also thicken cervical mucus, similar to other hormonal options of birth control. The implant is highly effective at preventing pregnancy with efficacy of 99%.
Hormonal Birth Control Side Effects: How Does The Pill Work
Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. No egg is produced, so there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize. Pregnancy cannot occur. You become pregnant when an egg released from your ovary is fertilized by a man’s sperm. Hormones in your body control ovulation, and prepare your body to accept the fertilized egg.
Hormonal contraceptives all contain a small amount of man-made estrogen and progestin hormones. These hormones work to inhibit your body’s natural cyclical hormones to prevent pregnancy. A combination of factors work to prevent pregnancy. The hormones stop you from ovulating and menstruating. Hormonal contraceptives also change your cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to go through your cervix. Hormonal contraceptives also prevent pregnancy by changing the lining of your womb so it’s unlikely the fertilized egg will be implanted.
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Contraceptive Content And Routes Of Administration
There is a wide variety of HC drugs available, and these might affect the female brain in different ways. The orally administered drugs can be combination pills that commonly consist of ethinylestradiol and a progestin, or progestin-only formulations. They may have different cycle regimens, such as mono-, bi-, tri-, and quadriphasic as well as flexible regimens. Both the estrogen and the progestin contents of these pills have been gradually lowered over the years in an effort to reduce side effects .
Different types of formulation may also be associated with different side effects. Some progestins are considered to have androgenic properties, while others may have anti-androgenic effects on brain and behavior . Progesterone may lead to reduced testosterone action due to affinity for the enzyme 5Î±-reductase, and this may reduce conversion of testosterone into the more potent dihydrotestosterone . Combined oral contraceptives with a progestin content considered to be anti-androgenic, such as drospirenone and desogestrel, have been postulated to be favorable in terms of mood symptoms in comparison with progestins displaying an androgenic profile .