Birth control pill, which is also known as the oral contraceptive pill, is a pill taken daily to prevent pregnancy. The following article provides information about the working of these pills.
Birth control, which is also called contraception, involves the use of devices, pills, or different modes of protection to deliberately prevent or reduce the chances of conception or pregnancy. Under the broad number of choices present today, contraception, contragestion, and abortion are the main methods used. Mainly used for family planning, these methods are also used in case of an unwanted pregnancy.
How Does Hormonal Birth Control Work?
The most commonly used method is contraception, under which there are choices of condoms and birth control pills (also known as “the pills”). Condoms are the best choice to rule out any possibility of contraception. The use of pills, however, is more complicated as these are taken orally. In case of contragestion prevention, the egg is fertilized, but it is not allowed to be implanted in the uterus through the use of some medication.
Action of Birth Control Pill
Hormones are the chemicals produced in our bodies, and they are also responsible for controlling how different parts of our body work. The pills are made of artificial hormones, and they confuse the reproductive system when consumed. The pills contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin (also known as combination pills), but some pills are progestin-only pills. Most women prefer to take combination pills.
- The artificial hormones in the pill keep a woman’s ovaries from releasing eggs, that is, it prevents ovulation.
- There is no possibility of pregnancy, if there is no egg to unite with the sperm.
- These hormones also prevent fertilization, by thickening a woman’s cervical mucus, which blocks the entry of the sperm, preventing it from uniting with the egg.
- In yet another way, the hormones in the pill thin out the lining of the uterus, thereby preventing pregnancy by stopping a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus and stopping implantation (contragestion).
- The effectiveness of this method is best observed when the pills are taken regularly. Combination pills work the best when consumed everyday, whereas progestin-only pills are to be taken at the same time everyday. This helps in maintaining the hormone levels in a woman’s body.
How Long Does it Take for Birth Control to Work?
- Since these pills are hormonal medicines which will take time to signal your reproductive system, you have to take them for at least 7 days.
- These pills take a long time to make you safe from pregnancy, however, a condom, will give you immediate protection.
- It will take at least a week after you have started consuming them to make you safe from pregnancy. But make sure you take them regularly. Do consult a gynecologist, as there can be many health issues and side effects related to them.
- Another way of birth control is the use of emergency contraceptives (EC) or the “morning after pills”, which are to be taken within 72 to 120 hours after unprotected sex. They also work in the same manner as “the pills”, but have a high concentration of hormones to suppress the ovulation immediately. This is not a healthy way to prevent pregnancy, as they have a number of side effects on your menstruation cycle.
Pills and ECs should not be used on a regular basis, as it can lead to hormonal imbalance, thereby affecting your reproductive health in an adverse manner. Therefore, it would be best to visit a gynecologist before opting for birth control pills.
Disclaimer: This HerHaleness article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.