The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is a very effective method of birth control. OCPs are approximately 92% effective in preventing pregnancy and when used perfectly (that is, at the same time, every day, without missing a pill), it is 99.7% effective.
It includes a combination of two female hormones, estrogen and progestin. It works mainly by preventing the release of an egg (called ovulation) during the menstrual cycle. It also makes the vaginal mucus thicker which prevents the sperm from fertilizing the egg and thins the uterus lining to prevent the attachment of a fertilized egg.
It is a reversible method of contraception. On discontinuing use, it is possible to become pregnant immediately.
There are side effects of OCP use like spotting between periods, mild nausea or dizziness, headaches or migraines, breast enlargement or tenderness and weight-gain. These routine effects are usually felt during the first few months of use but are resolved with time or can be managed effectively.
OCPs have gone through several advancements over the years, which are referred to as different generations. The newer generation OCPs or advanced OCPs have relatively fewer side effects and provide health benefits beyond contraception.
How are they better?
Lesser frequency of nausea and headache associated with use of OCPs
Lower rate of menstrual irregularities, resulting in lighter and more predictable periods
Reduced menstrual blood loss
Reduced pre-existing acne and hirsutism (excessive hair-growth on the face, chest or back)
Positive effect on mood
Lowered cardiovascular risk associated with taking OCPs for women with hypertension
PSI India Private Limited (PSI IPL) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Population Services International, a leading global health organisation, based in Washington DC, USA. The company’s mission is to provide consumers with family planning and health care products that are safe and effective, allowing consumers to lead healthier, more productive lives.