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The Essentials of Birth Control Pills Usage

First prototype of modern hormonal birth control pills – Enovid – was introduced in 1960 by Searle Drug Company. The voice of excellent efficiency is 10 times higher dose of synthetic progesterone which was invented a decade before. Only in 1980s low-dose birth control hormonal pills became available.

The common effects various birth control pills can achieve with different efficiency are: • Prevention of ovulation (the release of egg) • Thickening of the mucous around the cervix (to make a barrier for sperm on its way to egg) • Alteration of the lining of the uterus making it difficult for an egg to attach

For these purposes usually synthetic steroid hormones estrogen and progesterone are used in oral contraceptives. Naturally they are secreted by the ovaries and both are involved in the menstrual cycle.

Estrogen protects against vaginal atrophy and being female sex hormone promotes the development of secondary sex characteristics, creates proliferative endometrium. In case of estrogen dominancy (or imbalance caused by too little progesterone) it may cause an increase of body fat and weight gain, cyclical migraines, reduced oxygen level in the cells, impaired blood sugar control.

Among numerous progesterone effects are: reduction of symptoms of premature menstrual syndrome, protection against breast fibrocysts, and use of fat for energy, natural diuretic, promotion of normal sleep pattern and normalization of blood clotting.

These progestogen class hormones are also widely used for hormone replacement therapy mostly to treat symptoms of menopause.

Consisting of birth control pills progesterone and estrogen suppress pituitary gland, situated at the base of the brain, which stops the development and release the egg.

There are three main types of hormonal oral contraceptives: 1. One-phase combined estrogen-progesterone pills 2. Multi-phase (2- and 3-phase) combination pills 3. Progesterone only “mini-pills”.

Pills are also varying by the number and composition of the pills in the pack: • 21 pills/pack for three weeks hormone influence and one week pause • 28 pills/pack with 21 hormones-containing pills and 7 placebo pills

All 21 pills of one-phase combination pills contain a constant amount of the two hormones.

A pill-pack of 2-phase subgroup contains 1 pill with estrogen to prevent egg release is taken in the early phase of the cycle and pills for last stage with both estrogen and progesterone. 3-phase pills, with 5 containing estrogen taken in a middle phase, are believed to give fewer menstrual disruptions.

“Mini-pills”, which contain only progesterone, are taken every day without pause and so provide a constantly delivered dose of progesterone. As the result the cervical membrane remains viscous and sperm will not be able to penetrate.

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Effects like: more regular cycles, reduced menstrual cramps and decreased risk of uterine cancer undoubtedly could be referred to the benefits of hormonal oral contraceptives.

All types of birth control pills could cause side effects of different severity and seriousness: headache, upset stomach, vomiting, diarrhea, appetite and weight changes, change in sex drive and ability, brown or black skin patches, nervousness, acne, swelling of hands or feet, bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, changes in menstrual flow, breast tenderness, double vision, severe abdominal pain, mental depression, fever, dark-colored urine or light-colored stool.

Pills which decrease the number of menstrual periods from 12 to 4 a year are already available now and researches continue to work on other pills that would schedule only one menstrual period a year.


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