Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. No egg is produced, so there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize. Pregnancy cannot occur.

"The pill" is used by nearly 16 percent of women aged 15 to 44 years in the United States, and it has both advantages and disadvantages. People with different risk factors may be advised to use a particular kind of pill.

There are different types of contraceptive pills. They all contain synthetic forms of the hormones estrogen, progesterone, or both. Synthetic progesterone is called progestin. Combination pills contain progestin and estrogen. The "mini pill," contains only progestin.

Monophasic pills all contain the same balance of hormones. With phasic pills, two or three different types of pill are taken each month, each with a different balance of hormones.

Another option is "everyday pills" and "21-day pills." A pack of everyday pills lasts 28 days, but seven of the pills are inactive. The everyday pill may be easier to use correctly, as the routine is the same every day.

Used correctly, the pill is highly effective, but because people make mistakes, 6 to 12 pregnancies in every 100 are thought to occur each year while using it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) put the failure rate for both types of pill at 9 percent.

Birth control pills do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Only a condom can help prevent this type of infection.

Side effects

Common side effects of oral contraceptives include:

Hormonal contraception is taken to prevent pregnancy and for other medical reasons.
intermenstrual spotting
breast tenderness
headaches and migraine
weight gain
mood changes
missed periods
decreased libido
vaginal discharge
changes to eyesight for those using contact lenses.


The combined pill can increase the risk of cardiovascular problems, such as blood clots, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), a clot on the lung, a stroke or heart attack.

Birth control pills have also been associated with an increase in blood pressure, benign liver tumors, and some types of cancer.

The pill should not be taken by:

women who are pregnant
smokers over the age of 35 years, or anyone who stopped smoking within the last year and is over 35 years old
anyone with obesity
those who are taking certain medications
anyone who has or has had thrombosis, a stroke, or a heart problem
anyone with a close relative who had a blood clot before the age of 45 years
people who have severe migraines, especially with an aura as the warning sign
anyone who has or had had breast cancer or disease of the liver or gallbladder
anyone who has had diabetes for at least 20 years or diabetes with complications
If any of the following occur, the user should see a doctor.

abdominal or stomach pain
chest pain, shortness of breath, or both
severe headaches
eye problems such as blurred vision or loss of vision
swelling or aching in the legs and thighs
redness, swelling or pain in the calf or thighs
They may indicate a more serious condition.

Long-term effects
Use of birth-control pills may increase the risk of long-term health problems.

Cancer risk

Female hormones that occur naturally, such as estrogen, are thought to affect the chances of a woman developing some types of cancer. It is therefore possible that using a hormone-based method of birth control could have a similar effect.

Ovarian and endometrial cancer: These appear to be less likely among women who use the pill.

Breast cancer: There appears to be a slightly higher chance of breast cancer developing in women who have recently been using the contraceptive pill, and especially if they started using it during their teenage years. However, after 10 years of not using the pill, the risk appears to be the same as for someone who has never used it.

Other factors may play a role, such as a woman's age at starting puberty and menopause, her age at her first pregnancy, and whether or not she has had children.

Cervical cancer: Long-term use of the pill has been linked to a higher risk of cervical cancer, compared with those who have never used it. However, most types of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). Whether HPV is linked to the use of oral birth control pills has not yet been confirmed.

Liver cancer: Oral contraceptives have been linked to a higher chance of developing benign liver tumors, but these rarely become cancerous. Some studies have suggested that liver cancer risk is higher after using oral contraceptives for at least 5 years, but other studies have not had the same results.


For those who cannot use or do not wish to the birth control pill, other options are available.


This is a barrier method of birth control that prevents sperm from coming into contact with egg cells. Male condoms are sheathes that are placed over the penis. A female condom is a pouch with a ring at each end. It is inserted into the vagina.

Condoms are widely available, but they are often made from latex, which can trigger an allergy in some individuals. Alternative materials include polyurethane or lambskin.

For both types of condom, the risk of it not working is 18 percent or over in a year.


This is a shallow, dome-shaped rimmed cup that is placed in the vagina to block the cervix. Used with spermicide, it prevents the sperm and egg from meeting.

Disadvantages include possible urinary tract infections and vaginal irritation. The irritation may stem from a reaction to the material the diaphragm is made from or the spermicide.

Between 6 and 12 pregnancies occur annually in every 100 women who use it, because of human error.

NuvaRing (vaginal ring)

A plastic ring is inserted into the vagina, and it releases hormones to suppress ovulation. Each month, it is inserted for 3 weeks and removed for 1 week, during which menstruation occurs. These hormones are very similar to the pill, so similar side effects can occur.

Every year, between 6 and 12 pregnancies occur in every 100 women who use it, because of errors in use.

As a hormonal method of birth control, the vaginal ring can have similar side effects to the pill, including intermenstrual spotting, headache, and reduced libido.

Above all, Tell your health care provider or a specialist to give you a control pills that won't really have effect on your body system. 

Photocredits : islandsexualhealth

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