ORAL CONTRACEPTIVE

How They Work

Oral contraceptive pills are commonly known as birth control pills (The Morning After, Plan B, etc.). Oral contraceptive pills prevent pregnancy by keeping a woman’s body from releasing an egg for sperm to fertilize. Without a fertilized egg, there can be no pregnancy.

What Happens

Birth control pills keep a woman from releasing an egg by changing her body’s hormone balance. Without the correct hormone balance, her body won’t release an egg. Birth control pills don’t always change hormone levels enough to prevent the release of an egg, though. This means a woman can become pregnant even if she is on birth control.

YES

Cost

91%

Effectiveness

YES

Side Effects

Possible Side Effects of Oral Contraceptives:

*Bleeding/Spotting

*Breast tenderness

*Elevated blood pressure

*Headaches

*Nausea

*Bloating

*Blood clots in the legs

*Heart attacks and stroke

*Liver disorders

*Gallbladder disease

**Mood swings

**Depression

**Acne

**Hair loss

**Higher risk of yeast infection  

**Drop in sex drive even after going off birth control

**Higher risk of chronic diseases such as cancer or crohn’s disease

**Trouble conceiving after going off birth control

**Pulmonary embolism (when a main artery in the lungs is blocked by a blood clot)

Three other effects of Oral Contraceptives:

Pregnancy Termination

Birth control pills thin the lining of the uterus, which lowers the blood supply to the uterus. If an egg is released and fertilized, it most likely won’t attach to the uterus because of this. This terminates the pregnancy.

Pregnancy Prevention

There is also weak evidence that birth control pills thickens cervical mucus. With this thicker mucus, it becomes more difficult for sperm to travel to the egg and fertilize it. 1

Improper Use

Birth control pills are one of the top two most commonly used types of birth control. It is important to remember that the success of birth control pills decreases if a physician’s directions aren’t followed.