Understanding the contraceptive pill

Published 05/22/2020, by ,

Although various techniques exist to prevent unwanted pregnancy, the estrogen-progestin pill remains one of the most common techniques. Indeed, about 4 out of 10 women use this method of contraception in France.

The contraceptive activity of these pills is attributable to 2 molecules: 1 synthetic estrogen and 1 progestin. This type of pill is to be taken every day at the same time for 21 days, with a 7-day break. It is during this week that menstruation, or rather deprivation haemorrhages, occur, which are less abundant than "real periods". Indeed, here, the bleeding is due to the sudden drop in hormones when you stop taking the pill.

If you take the pill well, you will be protected for the whole month, even during the week you stop taking it!

4 locks ensure its effectiveness: 1
. The progestin thickens the mucus of the cervix, which hinders the passage of sperm.
2. Estrogens prevent the growth of the follicle.
3. Both types of hormones inhibit ovulation.
4. Progestin makes the lining of the uterus unable to receive a fertilized egg.

There are several generations of contraceptive pills, those of the 2nd generation are the ones with the least risk of venous thrombosis, they are therefore to be preferred.

However, the pill is not the only contraceptive method: today there are many alternatives...

Some of them act via hormones, like the pill:

  • The IUD**: It is a T-shaped device, placed in the uterus, which releases hormones.
  • The vaginal ring: a ring placed at the back of the vagina that contains hormones.
  • The patch sticks to the skin and releases hormones.
  • The hormone implant: a small stick placed under the skin that releases hormones.
  • The pill containing a progestin alone: it is taken continuously, so there are no more periods.

Others act mechanically:

  • The male and female condoms: they prevent the passage of spermatozoa. It is the only contraceptive method that protects against sexually transmitted diseases!
  • The copper IUD: the copper in this device makes the sperm inactive.
  • The diaphragm: This membrane is placed at the bottom of the vagina and prevents the passage of sperm.

If you don't know which method is best for you, you should contact your health care provider or family planning and education centre for advice.

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