Trusted Facts about Oral Contraceptive Pills

Table of Content

Trusted Facts: About OCPs

Myth: The Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) will affect Future Child Bearing Ability (Fertility) or Cause Birth Defects.

FACT: Most women return to normal fertility within 2-3 months after they stop taking the OCPs and have no problem getting pregnant. The pill does not cause miscarriages or birth defects; however you should stop taking them once you know that you are pregnant.

Myth: OCPs Should Not be Taken for a Very Long Time.

FACT: If you are healthy and don't smoke, you can stay on the pill as long as you and your doctor decide that it is the right contraceptive for you.

Myth: You can Stop the OCPs for a Few Months and Then Restart Them.

FACT: There is no medical evidence that supports this; in fact, medical guidelines suggest that a healthy woman can continue to take the pill regularly till she is ready to have a baby. Taking a break from the pill disrupts your routine and can actually put you at risk for an unintended pregnancy. Many of the health benefits offered by the pill are gained over continuous use.

Myth: The OCPs will Decrease My Sex Drive.

FACT: Generally, OCP use does not decrease female sex drive and perhaps not having to worry about pregnancy can improve your sex drive! However, a small number of women do report experiencing this. If you have serious concerns about your sex drive while on OCPs, talk to your doctor and remember there may be other factors or issues that might affect your sex drive.

Myth: Women do Not Need to Take the Pill At the Same Time Everyday.

FACT: OCPs are more than 99% effective when taken correctly and approximately at the same time. It's best to take the pill at the same time each day, e.g. before going to bed at night, after dinner. To remember taking the pill, keep it at a place where you can see it e.g. next to your toothbrush or carry them in your purse/ handbag or keep a reminder alarm on your mobile.

Myth: OCPs are Not a Very Effective Way of Contraception.

FACT When used properly, the chances of pregnancy with OCPs are less than 1%. Their effectiveness lowers in cases like taking the pill at different times of the day, missing days or skipping pills.

Myth: The Pill Protects Against HIV (AIDS) and Other Stds (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).

FACT: NO, OCPs are not at all effective in preventing HIV (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections. The pill is indicated for prevention of pregnancy only. It is advisable to use a condom to protect against HIV or STDs.

Myth: The Pill Causes Weight Gain.

FACT: Women often blame the OCPs for weight gain and many women find this side-effect undesirable. Two reasons why you might gain weight are increase in breast size and often feeling more bloated due to salt water retention. The new generation OCPs (such as crisanta/crisanta LS) do not cause weight gain, ask your doctor about which one would be suitable for you.

Myth: OCPs do Not Affect Blood Pressure.

FACT: OCPs may increase blood pressure and the risk increases with age and the duration of use. If you take or choose to take OCPs, have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you already have high blood pressure or develop high blood pressure while taking the pill, consider an alternative form of contraception. Some new generation OCPs (such as crisanta/crisanta LS) do not increase blood pressure. Ask your doctor about it.

Myth: OCPs Cure Acne (Pimples).

FACT: Some, but not all, OCPs can help control acne. Some new generation OCPs (such as crisanta/crisanta LS) work by lowering the male hormone (testosterone), which is the main cause of acne. Ask your doctor about it.

Myth: There is No Relation Between Smoking and Taking OCPs.

FACT: Smoking is a known factor of increased risk of blood clots and heart disease. OCPs are strictly not recommended for women above 35 years of age who smoke because it increases the risk of cardiovascular disease. Hence, you should quit smoking before safely continuing using your OCP.

Myth: OCPs Delay Menopause.

FACT: OCPs do not delay menopause. Menopause generally occurs around the age of 45 years. If you are on OCPs, you may be going through menopause but you may not know it because your periods will continue, although you can no longer get pregnant. If you are taking the pill, discuss with your doctor on when to stop OCPs.

Myth: All OCPs are the Same.

FACT: Combination OCPs contain two types of hormones, oestrogen and progestin. Most of the currently available OCPs contain the same oestrogen, but different progestin. Consult your doctor about the different types of OCPs and which one may suit you.

Myth: The Pill has Many Side-Effects.

FACT: Some women may experience no side-effects at all; however some women may experience side-effects such as nausea, vomiting, headache, breast tenderness and unexpected spotting or bleeding. These are usually mild and once the body adjusts to the pill (within 3 months), these problems go away. Sometimes a change in the type of contraceptive pill may help. Blood clots in the legs among healthy women are rare, but you should talk to your doctor if there is a history of blood clots in your family, before starting OCP.

On the other hand, the pill has some positive effects such as improving the regularity of the menstrual cycle, reducing menstrual cramps and clearing up acne, lowering the risk of anaemia, less chance of getting PID (pelvic inflammatory disease), protection against noncancerous breast disease, protection against some cancers and PMS (premenstrual syndrome).

Myth: The OCPs Cause Cancer.

FACT: The pill provides a protective effect from cancer of the ovaries and the endometrium (the lining of the uterus). Inspite of many trials, a cause-and-effect relationship between OCP use and breast/cervical cancer has not been established. Rarely, OCP can cause cancer of the liver. Women, who have had breast cancer, should not use OCPs since it is a hormone dependent tumour.

For any further queries, contact your doctor.

 

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