How To Choose Oral Contraceptives And What Is Their Mechanism Of Action

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How To Choose Oral Contraceptives And What Is Their Mechanism Of Action
How To Choose Oral Contraceptives And What Is Their Mechanism Of Action

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oral contraceptives
oral contraceptives

Researchers began developing oral contraceptives at the beginning of the 20th century. The first drug was patented already in 1951, tablets for preventing unwanted pregnancy appeared on the market after another 10 years. 1960 marked the beginning of a period when oral contraceptives can be purchased at any pharmacy around the world.

The content of the article

  • 1 Weight gain
  • 2 Misconceptions about oral contraceptives
  • 3 How oral contraceptives work
  • 4 Is long-term medication possible
  • 5 Choosing the right drug
  • 6 Indications for the use of oral contraceptives
  • 7 Withdrawal syndrome
  • 8 Recommendations for taking oral contraceptives
  • 9 Mode of action
  • 10 Amount of hormones in tablets
  • 11 Pros of oral contraceptives
  • 12 Cons of Oral Contraceptives

Accordingly, the life of women using hormonal contraception has changed since that time. Today it is almost 35% of the female population.

Weight gain i

The very first generation of contraceptive pills scared the first women who tried it so much that myths about its harm to the body not only exist today, but also quite realistically scare away women.

Women are worried about a possible fairly significant weight gain, many are afraid of infertility. These two fear factors have shaped, first of all, the general negative reaction of consumers to oral medications.

Oral contraceptive misconceptions2

So why are there so many misconceptions about birth control pills? What was the basis for their appearance and is there even a grain of truth in them. Initially, indeed, the first oral contraceptives for women wished for the best.

They contained huge doses of hormones. To be more precise, there was only one of them in the composition, which subsequently led to disruptions in the functions of the endocrine system. And they, in turn, led to:

The appearance of extra pounds

Increased, more precisely, irrepressible feeling of hunger

Decreased libido

Coarsening of the mammary glands

The physicians developing the drug drew attention to the obvious side effects and concluded that one active drug was not able to have a normal effect on the body.

Scientists have radically changed the composition. They injected them with hormones similar in composition to the natural sex hormones of a woman. In addition, their doses were reduced. These innovations were able to completely eliminate side effects. But, as they say, the spoon was found, but the unpleasant residue remained.

How oral contraceptives work3

Absolutely all oral contraceptives act on the principle of suspending the natural process of producing sex hormones. Each dose of the drug contains synthetically produced hormones (we are talking about progesterone and estrogen).

use of oral contraceptives
use of oral contraceptives

The combination of these hormones prevents the eggs from maturing. In addition, they affect the endometrium and the processes of thickening of mucus. These changes, in turn, prevent the sperm from fixing in the uterus. The high efficiency of modern contraceptive pills (about 98%) allows you to gain confidence in their reliability.

Is long-term drug use possible4

Many women are naturally worried about whether they can take birth control pills all the time. This question is quite controversial and depends on several factors:

Medical examination recommendations and results

General health

Many birth control pills are prescribed by a doctor (and not necessarily a gynecologist) for more than just preventing pregnancy. The cosmetologist prescribes a drug for:

Eliminate acne

Skin hydration and elasticity

Strengthening nail plates and hair

In addition, the drugs have shown themselves well in normalizing the emotional state. There are no mood swings associated with PMS when taken. Now the spectrum of action of the drugs includes:

the effect of oral contraceptives
the effect of oral contraceptives

Weight loss

Normalization of metabolism

That is, drugs of this kind can be used over a long period of time. However, before that, you must definitely consult with your doctor and do a number of tests and examinations. Among them:

Blood biochemistry and its general analysis

Blood clotting and hormonal analysis

Ultrasound of the breast and pelvic organs

Often, additional examinations may be needed - consultation with a mammologist and additional ultrasound examination of the vessel walls and abdominal cavity. Only after passing all the necessary examinations, you can choose a contraceptive for long-term use.

Choosing the right drug5

The appointment by the doctor of this or that oral contraceptive is not yet the final point in order to take it for a long period of time. The doctor continues to monitor the health of the patient taking the drug. In case of side effects, the doctor replaces the medication with another. The most common signs that the body does not accept the drug are:

Blood smear

Desire for nausea

oral contraceptive safety
oral contraceptive safety


Decreased libido

It is also necessary to take into account the fact that if the drug is not suitable for a woman, it is impossible to abruptly cancel its intake, as well as to abruptly replace it with another drug. Here, again, you need to strictly adhere to the recommendations of the attending physician.

Indications for the use of oral contraceptives6

The woman's body is a complex system, failures in it can lead to many negative consequences. For example, if the content of the male hormone androgen rises, a woman may experience:

  • Acne on the face
  • Violations of the menstrual cycle (given its complete absence)

In addition to preventing unwanted pregnancies, hormonal contraceptives are prescribed to treat:

  • Functional ovarian cysts
  • Scleropolycystic ovary
  • Pathological changes in the endometrium
  • Preparing the body for menopause
  • Hyperandrogenism and endometriosis
contraceptive pills
contraceptive pills
  • The consequences of an undeveloped pregnancy
  • With PMS.

The choice of the drug and the percentage of certain hormones in it depend on what kind of disease is planned to be treated. That is, if a teenager girl complains about menstrual irregularities or cosmetic problems, she is prescribed a drug of the same composition. If a woman comes to the doctor who is worried about night flushes in combination with insomnia, the drug will be of a completely different composition.

Withdrawal syndrome7

As with any medicine, oral contraceptives have a so-called withdrawal syndrome. In this case, the body will need to restore the "usual" working regime for almost three months. The point is that he needs to re-learn to produce hormones on his own.

By the way, women who do not want to get pregnant need to be especially careful during this period. When hormonal drugs are stopped, the ovaries increase their functioning at times. At the same time, eggs begin to form at a higher rate, which, accordingly, increases the likelihood of pregnancy. In addition, the likelihood of multiple pregnancies is greatly increased.

Recommendations for taking oral contraceptives8

It is important to know that oral contraceptives are purely a method of contraception, but they cannot protect against sexually transmitted diseases. It should also be remembered that a mistake in the selection of the drug can cause irreversible harm to the body.

choice of oral contraceptives
choice of oral contraceptives

It is because of this that in no case is it recommended to choose an oral contraceptive on your own. Now almost 85% of women take these drugs to prevent unwanted pregnancies. The use of many hormonal contraceptives is often associated with a lack of certain vitamins. Often, in parallel with them, it is necessary to take carefully selected mineral elements and vitamins, which reduce the negative effects and preserve the woman's ability to reproduce.

Mode of action9

The action of the drugs is provided by substances similar in action to progesterone - the "hormone of pregnant women". In addition to progesterone, the tablets may contain a combination of it with estrogens. Therefore, they are divided into two types:

  • Combined
  • Gestagenic

The composition of gestagenic contraceptives includes only gestagens. These are substances that in their action on the uterus are similar to the action of progesterone. In order for the developed new medicines to be as effective as possible and the level of side effects to be reduced to a minimum, pharmacists are constantly looking for new, more suitable substances.

There are already 4 generations of gestagenic drugs. They operate as follows:

Alter the properties of cervical mucus

contraindications to oral contraceptives
contraindications to oral contraceptives
  • Change the endometrium
  • Suppress ovulation

Changes in the quality of cervical mucus (fluid from the cervix) is that it thickens, and sperm cannot overcome it.

Changes in the properties of the internal endometrium do not allow the embryo to stably position itself.

An almost complete decrease in ovulation is observed in almost 40% of women using these drugs.

In most cases, gestagenic contraceptives contain desogestrel (gestagen 3). A small amount is enough to achieve the contraceptive effect.

Moreover, this type of contraception is easily prescribed to nursing mothers, since it has no effect on lactation. Progestational drugs are also recommended for use with contraindications to estrogen. We are talking about high blood pressure or thrombosis.

In addition, the use of contraceptive drugs can have negative effects:

  • Intermenstrual bleeding.
  • Anointing.

Contraceptives do not harm women's health, and in order to get rid of side effects, combined drugs are prescribed. They contain estrogenic compounds: synthetic or natural estradiol. Precisely because estrogen is designed to prevent bleeding between menstruation, these drugs are best at controlling the menstrual cycle.

what are the oral contraceptives
what are the oral contraceptives

In addition, they can compensate for the lack of estrogen in the female body. Their production is significantly reduced while taking the pills. This is facilitated by the lack of follicular growth and ovulation.

The number of hormones in tablets10

The amount of hormones in hormonal contraceptive preparations varies depending on the day they are taken. This is what distinguishes monophase and multiphase varieties.

The monophasic contains an equal amount of gestagens and estrogens in absolutely all tablets.

Two-phase are divided into two types. They both contain the same amount of the hormone estrogen. They differ only in the level of progestin. It is lower in the first half of the course of admission, and, accordingly, higher in the second half.

There are already three types of drugs in three-phase drugs. In the first stage of taking the drug, the concentration of gestagen is reduced, by the middle of the cycle, the content increases and at the very end it already begins to coincide with monophasic drugs.

The coincidence with the natural cycle contributes to the fact that the drug is prescribed to those women who do not have bleeding against the background of stopping the use of combined contraceptives, or their bleeding is irregular. Also, three-phase drugs are prescribed for patients with a lack of estrogen.

Advantages of oral contraceptives11

The positive aspects of taking hormonal oral contraceptives include their high efficiency. For example, the possibility of pregnancy when the dosage is observed is only 0.3%. In this case, the effect has a reversible effect and, after finishing drinking the pills, a woman can become pregnant without problems.

what are oral contraceptives
what are oral contraceptives

These drugs can be used by both nulliparous and women who have given birth. Preparations based on gestagenic components are also suitable for lactating women.

Some types of drugs can provide:

  • The regularity of the menstrual cycle, and its painlessness
  • Reducing PMS Symptoms
  • Getting rid of acne
  • Reducing the likelihood of ovarian and endometrial cancer

Cons of oral contraceptives12

Among the many advantages, oral contraceptives have their disadvantages. For example, they are unable to provide protection against sexually transmitted infections. Therefore, they should only be used in a relationship with a permanent sexual partner. Otherwise, it is much safer for a woman to use condoms.

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