Oral Contraceptive Pill (OCP ) is widely used in the western world and even in Nepal. It is one of the methods of prevention of contraceptive that manipulates the hormonal system.
The basic functioning of the OCP is to provide extra dose of hormones like estrogen and progesterone to the body so that the normal process of ovulation comes to a halt.
Ovulation is the process of the development of ovum (The male equivalent to sperm). Without the ovum, there are less chance of fertilization and hence forth no pregnancy.
There are several ways in which OCP acts. Some of them include:
• It decreases ovulation
• It brings changes to the cervical mucosa, producing a thick mucus plug so that sperm cannot enter
• It brings changes in the endometrial wall so that it becomes unfit for implantation
• It also interferes with the motility of the fallopian tube ( A tube that transports the ovum from the ovary to the uterus)
Before you take OCP on your own, you doctor must have mentioned some instructions like :
• You must take it on a regular basis, like after brushing your teeth in the morning or before sleeping everyday starting from the 5th day of menstrual cycle.
• If you forget to take a pill on a day, please take that pill whenever you remember and also take the regular pill as advised for that day.
• If you miss two consecutive pills then you will have to use barrier method of contraception and take the rest of the pills as advised. Please continue taking the pills even if you experience some bleeding.
• You must do a follow up examination after 3 months after taking the pills for the first time, then six monthly afterwards. The doctor will have to monitor your Blood Pressure, breast and pelvic organs.
• After the 21 days of taking OCP, for a period of seven days, Iron tablets also called Dummy Tablets are advised to be taken to prevent from getting anemia, during this time you experience periods which is called the withdrawal bleeding.
• During the pill intake, active bleeding may occur which is called Break through Bleeding. Please mention to your doctor about this, this indicates that you need pills which have a higher concentration of estrogen /progesterone.
Most of take OCP for contraception but it has some non contraceptive purposes as well.
Let’s look at some of them:
• Protects you from benign Breast Disease
• It can be used in PMS ( Premenstrual Syndrome )
• It can be used when you have painful menstruation ( Dysmenorrhoea )
• It can be used when You have a disease called endometriosis ( the presence of functional uterine mucosa in other places )
• It can be used in Dysfunctional Uterine Bleeding (DUB)
• To regulate menstrual cycle.
OCP is contraindication (Not wise to use when):
• When the female is suspected of being pregnant
• Age of the female is more than 40 years
• Has a undiagnosed bleeding from the vagina
• If you have a history of heart diseases
• Severe Hypertension
• Have the habit of Smoking
• Liver diseases including Chronic Liver Disease
• Migraine Headache
• Four weeks before elective surgery
• It is also Contraindicated in teenagers because there epiphysal cartilages have not completely matured at that time
Why Do You Do If You Fall In the Above Mentioned Category?
There are several methods of contraception’s, so don’t panic If You can’t use OCP.
What are the Adverse Effects of OCP?
Nausea (the period before vomiting when you feel like vomiting ) and Vominting
Break Through Bleeding
Reduced Menstrual Bleeding
Absence of withdrawal bleeding
• Certain Cardiovascular effects : Hypertension, Atherosclerosis, Coronary Artery Disease ( the arteries that supply the heart )
• Metabolic Effects : Diabetes ( Non Insulin Dependent Diabetics )
• Hepatic Effects ( Liver Effects ) : Jaundice
• Psychological Effect: Episodes of Depression. Take Vitamin B6 ( Pyridoxine ) To avoid this
• Infertility Effect: Ovulation returns within 3 months after you stop taking the pills. If you use the drug for a period of 10-12 years then there are chances of infertility.
Use OCP wisely and consult with your doctor about any differences in your health and habit of yours.
Enjoy the Freedom of being Not Pregnant. You have the right to live your life on your terms.