Combined Oral Contraceptive Pills
The combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) is a contraceptive in tablet form to be taken every day. They contain two hormones, estrogen and progestin, hence their name. The pill provides a very safe protection against pregnancy.
The pill makes you not get any ovulation. It also affects the mucus in the cervix so that it becomes tough and thick, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus. The pill also affects the lining inside the uterus and causes it to become thin and therefore cannot receive a fertilized egg.
How to use the pill
You take a tablet at the same time every day for about three weeks and then make a break, or taking sugar pills for about a week. Duration of the pause depends on the type of pill you use. During the days when you eat sugar pills or do not take any pills at all to get a menstrual-like bleeding. You are protected against pregnancy even during these days.
If more than 36 hours between the two tablets there is a risk that you are no longer protected against pregnancy.
All hormonal contraceptives affect the body and often need a little time to get used to. When you just started taking the pill can get breast tenderness, spotting and feel a bit shabby. Some people get headaches, acne or feel depressed. It may also happen that hormones affect one so you get less hassle for example, PMS or acne. If you get trouble and they have not gone after two to three months, you can try a different type of birth control pills or other protection. Each birth control pill should be prescribed by your practitioner or gynaecologist.
When is the pill to be taken?
Birth control pills are great if you remember to take tablets at about the same time each day. They often make your periods decrease, it becomes more regular and you eventually have less menstrual cramps. You can also resort to the help of the COC pill to induce your period, for example if you want to go on vacation.
When the pill should not be taken?
The pill does not fit if you find it hard to remember to take pills every day.
Contraceptives containing the hormone estrogen may increase the risk of blood clots. The risk is very small in comparison to the risk of blood clot that a pregnancy entails. You should not take the pill if you are very overweight, have a parent or sibling who had blood clots or if you yourself had blood clots before. You can always ask your doctor for advice.
The pill should not be used during the first six weeks after childbirth. This is because there is then an increased risk of blood clots. Then you are welcome to use the pill regardless of whether you are breastfeeding or not.
You can see on our website for more advice on birth control from the regularly updated database of health articles at Canadian Health and Care Mall. There you will also find an assorted choice of medicines. Remember that you should be approved for any pharmacological therapy before starting on it.