Birth control (oral)
Birth control is a way for men and women to prevent pregnancy. There are many different methods of birth control, including hormonal contraception such as “the pill.”
Women take the pill by mouth to prevent pregnancy, and, when taken correctly, it is up to 99.9% effective. However, the pill does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS).
Birth control pills work by preventing ovulation. No egg is produced, so there is nothing for the sperm to fertilize. Pregnancy cannot occur. Also it has both advantages and disadvantages. People with different risk factors may be advised to use a particular kind of pill.
Common side effects of oral contraceptives include:
Headaches and Migraine
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.
Combination pills can slightly increase the risk of cardiovascular side effects, such as heart attack, stroke, and blood clots. These can all be fatal.
The risk is higher with some pills. A doctor can advise on suitable options.
Anyone who has uncontrolled high blood pressure or a personal or family history of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke should ask their medical provider about alternative methods.
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