Birth Control Pill

Birth Control Pill

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  • 1 Answer
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    Scientific evidence shows that the longer a woman uses the birth control pill, the lower her risk for developing endometrial and ovarian cancer later in life, up to 20 years after discontinuing use. The pill also seems to offer some short-term protection against colorectal cancer among current or recent users.

    Women using the Pill for non-contraceptive benefits, generally return to fertility soon after discontinuing the medication. On the opposite side of the coin, women who have completed child bearing and may be entering the perimenopausal state can benefit from the hormone balance the combined pill provides.
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    For many women, periods interfere with school, life and/or social activities. Whether a woman suffers from heavy bleeding, painful periods, fatigue due to chronic anemia (because of heavy bleeding), headaches or mood changes, the pill can often help alleviate those symptoms.

    Pelvic pain, either because of painful periods or other conditions, such as endometriosis or fibroids, is one of the leading causes of women missing school and work. Many women who are treated with the pill are able to function at the level they were accustomed to prior to the pain. Continuous use of the Pill can resolve the symptoms of pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder for many women.
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    The Pill was the first medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use in healthy women, and it still functions as a go-to drug for many different clinical situations. The Pill works primarily through influencing estrogen and progesterone, the hormones that cycle in women naturally.

    There is a progesterone-only pill that works somewhat differently than the combined hormone pills and is an appropriate clinical choice for women unable to take estrogen.

    Estrogen stabilizes the uterine lining, reducing breakthrough bleeding and significantly reduces bleeding for each month that women are on the pill. Estrogen also inhibits the development of eggs and helps to prevent ovulation. This combination of effects helps treat menstrual disorders as well as provides contraception.

    Today, there are many different combinations of the amount of estrogen as well as the amount and type of progesterone available in different medications, including a combination transdermal patch and a removable vaginal ring.
  • 2 Answers
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    Many women are concerned about taking the contraceptive pill continuously. Historically, the week of bleeding, which occurs when you take the placebo pills built into a typical four-week pill pack, was considered normal, but continuous dosing (i.e., avoiding the week of inactive pills) is very safe and is an excellent option for many women. Some of the newest versions of combined pills are designed to minimize bleeding, representing a shift toward recognizing not only the safety of continuous use, but the importance of giving women more control over their cycles.
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  • 2 Answers
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    In the development of the Pill, a hormone-free week was built into each month in order to provide women with reassurance that they were not pregnant. During this week, a woman may take placebo pills or no pills at all.

    Typically, she will bleed during this week, and some women will mistake this for a period, when it is not. The hormones in the Pill prevented ovulation and stabilized the lining of the uterus; the bleeding that may occur is merely the uterus responding to the withdrawal of the hormones. 
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    AEva Cwynar, MD, Internal Medicine, answered
    Monophasic birth control pills provides the same amount of hormones throughout the cycle, which means there are fewer mood swings; women bleed for a maximum of four days a month, which is a lifestyle benefit; and it causes less weight gain than other types of pills. In addition, monophasic birth control decreases libido less than biphasic or triphasic pills (in which levels of estrogen and progestin vary during each cycle). Monophasic pills don't affect sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG) as much as the others do, which means it has less binding potential with testosterone -- in other words, one stays hornier when taking monophasic birth control.
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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - how pill relieves menopause symptoms

    For many women, taking the Pill in their late 40s and early 50s can help relieve hot flashes and other unpleasant symptoms of perimenopause, gynecologist Dr. Carolyn Westhoff tells Dr. Oz. In this video, she explains how the birth control pill differs from hormone replacement therapy.


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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - is the pill unnatural

    Do you shy away from the birth control pill because you don't want to interfere with your natural cycle? In this video, gynecologic oncologist Dr. Judith Wolfe tells Dr. Oz why ovulating less often is actually more natural.


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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - does pill cause blood clots

    The Pill does raise the risk of blood clots—but chances are, that's not something that should worry you, even if you're over 35. In this video, gynecologic oncologist Dr. Judith Wolfe tells Dr. Oz why. 


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    AMehmet Oz, MD, Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease), answered
    Dr. Oz - does pill increase cervical cancer

    Studies suggest that taking the Pill can increase the risk of cervical cancer, but  gynecologist Dr. Carolyn Westhoff tells Dr. Oz that the benefits outweigh that danger for most women. In this video, she explains what you can do to lower your risk of cervical cancer if you take the Pill.