Contraceptive pills - For the first time ? 14 points you must know .

1. What are contraceptive pills?
The term contraception includes all the measures ,permanent or temporary, which are designed to prevent pregnancy through coitus. Contraceptive pills are hormonal pills which are aimed at preventing pregnancy temporarily.

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2. Who should take it?
Ideally contraceptive pills are to be taken by motivated women in the reproductive age group of 15 - 45 years.

3. Why should it be taken?
Contraceptive pills constitute one of the many objectives of family planning. Contraceptive pills mainly protect the women from unwanted, untimely pregnancies and help the couple to plan their families.

4. When should it be taken?
New users are required to start their pill packet on the first day of their menstrual cycle. One tablet a day, preferentially at bedtime for a consecutive 21 days followed by 7 day break. Next pack should be started on the eight day, irrespective of bleeding. Simple regimen of 3 weeks on and 1 week off is to be followed for effective contraception.

5. What are its side effects?
Minor side effects of contraceptive pills are nausea, vomiting, breakthrough bleeding, pain in the breasts, leg cramp, weight gain, scanty menstrual bleed. Major side effects which demand stoppage of pills are severe migraine, chest pain, visual disturbances, depression, hypertension, thromboembolic manifestations.

6. Is there any chances of getting a permanent solution through these pills?
 The pills are just temporary measures to prolong the time of conception and plan the family. They do not offer any permanent solution.

7. What should be the dosage of these pills?
The dosage of hormones varies with different brands of pills. Commercial names like MALA N contain 0.30mg of norgestrel + 30 microgram of ethinyl estradiol in 0ne tablet. Brands like MALA D contain 0.30 mg of D -norgestrel + 30 microgram of ethinyl estradiol in 0ne tablet. Usually these packs come in a pack of 28 tablets, of which 21 tablets contain the hormones and the last 7 are iron substitutes.

8. Should these pills be administered in empty stomach?
There is no need for these pills to be administered in empty stomach. they are preferably to be taken at bed time.

9. Will there be any hormonal imbalance by taking these pills?
Hormonal variations do occur with these pills which differs in different individuals. These may include acne, skin pigmentation, menstrual irregularities, vaginal discharge, loss of libido etc.

10.After stopping the consumption of these pills when can the couple plan for a baby if they are interested?
Ovulation returns within 3 months of withdrawal of these pills in 90% of individuals. The couple can plan for a baby after 3 months of complete stoppage of pills.

11.What are the precautions that needs to be taken care after taking the pills?
Women need to exercise precautions if they are taking drugs like methyldopa, oral anticoagulants, oral hypoglycemic drugs. the effectiveness of these drugs is reduced by contraceptive pills. On the other hand the effectiveness of drugs like beta blockers, aminophyllines, corticosteroids, diazepam are increased by these pills. Women who have liver diseases, heart ailments, thromboembolic phenomena, severe migraine, hormonal dependent tumors should absolutely refrain from taking these pills.
Women should be very cautious as to not miss a pill.
if one pill is missed she should take one pill at once and continue rest as per schedule.
If she misses 2 pills in first 2 weeks, she should take 2 pills on each of the next two days and continue the rest as per schedule. Extra precaution needs to be taken for the next seven days by using a condom or by avoiding sex.
If  she misses 2 pills in the third week or if more than 2 active pills are missed at any time, another form of contraception should be used as backup for the next 7 days as mentioned before.

12.Can the couple continue to have intercourse after taking these pills?
Yes, couple can continue to have an active sexual life after taking these pills.

13.Will their be any irregularity in monthly menstrual cycle after taking these pills?
Yes, minor menstrual irregularities in the form of scanty flow or absent flow or sometimes excessive flow do occur while on these pills.

14. Is it safe and 100 % sure ?
Any woman of reproductive age group without any systemic disease and contraindications is a suitable candidate for pill therapy. Growth and development of pubertal girls, sexually active girls is not affected by these pills. No pill is 100% protective against pregnancy.

This article only hopes to educate and remove the misconceptions about the contraceptive pills. This article does not advise or suggest any pills and will not hold any responsibility. The person should first consult the doctor and then get it administered based on the dosage prescribed by the doctor.

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