All you need to know about the oral contraceptive pill

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Dr. Christopher Ng of GynaeMD Women’s and Rejuvenation Clinic brings you valuable information about the contraceptive pill.

contraceptive pill

The pill is used by millions of women worldwide.

Combined oral contraceptive pills (OCP or “the pill”) are used by over 100 million women worldwide and are considered to be almost 100% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancies when taken as directed.

Like any drug, the pill comes with a some side effects that may affect some. Breast tenderness, nausea and headaches are common reactions.

On the other hand, the Pill also has a range of benefits other than, of course, preventing unplanned pregnancies. These include regulating the menstrual cycle, controlling acne, and relieving premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and painful and heavy menses.

Dr Christopher Ng, obstetrician and gynaecologist from GynaeMD Women’s & Rejuvenation Clinic at Camden Medical Centre in Singapore, brings you expert information about the pill.

Q: What are the ingredients usually found in the pill and how do they work?

A: OCPs contain two hormones, oestrogen and progestogen. These prevent ovulation, making fertilization, and therefore pregnancy, impossible.

contraceptive pill

The pill can also help bring about relief for PMS

Q: How do you take the pill?

A: A pack of OCPs contains 21 pills, one for each day. At the end of those three weeks, the woman takes a break for seven days, wherein menstruation occurs. The woman then starts on the next packet.

For a women going on the pill for the first time, it is now the practice to take the first-ever pill on the first day of the period.

Q: Can anyone take the pill? 

A:  The pill is not suitable for women who:

  • Might already be pregnant
  • Are over the age of 35 and are heavy smokers or who have stopped smoking for less than a year
  • Are overweight with BMI >35
  • Have a past experience with blood clot
  • Have heart abnormality, circulatory disease or high blood pressure
  • Have very severe migraines or migraines with aura
  • Have breast cancer now or within the last five years
  • Have active liver or gall bladder disease
  • Have diabetes with complications, or have had diabetes for more than 20 years

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