The combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP), often referred to as the birth-control pill or simply "the Pill", is a birth control method that includes a combination of an estrogen (oestrogen) and a progestin (progestogen). When taken by mouth every day, these pills inhibit female fertility.
The combined birth control pill suppresses the natural hormone cycle providing:
one of the most effective contraceptive methods available (Pearl Index).
less painful periods
less heavy periods
treatment of ovulation pain - Mittelschmerz
improvement of premenstrual tension (premenstrual syndrome).
regular cycles for those with irregular periods.
The additional benefits may include:
improvement of acne.
oestrogen for those with amenorrhoea (absent periods) and low oestrogen levels.
reduction of excess body hair (hirsutism - hirsutism treatment).
reduced incidence of functional ovarian cysts.
improvement in endometriosis.
reduction in the incidence of cancer of the ovary and endometrium.
The Oral Contraception Pill works by suppressing ovulation (the release of eggs from the ovaries). They also change the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation and change the mucus in the cervix (the opening of the vagina into the uterus) to prevent the entry of sperm cells.
There are three main classes of OCPs;
The Combined Pill OCPs are derived from estrogen and progesterone, the two major female sex hormones. Different Types of formulations containing a combination of a variety or a single component.
The combined pill contains both estrogen and a synthetic form of progesterone called progestin. Different brands contain different combinations of the two components which provides various options for women and allow the patient to choose the appropriate dose according to their different lifestyles and preferences.
Progestin Pills Progestin pills (otherwise known as the mini-pill). These birth control pills are the preferred choice in women who may be at risk from certain health problems such as blood clots, or in women who experience serious side effects when using the combination pill, or who are still breastfeeding.
'Morning After Pill' or Emergency Contraceptive Pill. These pills are used in cases of accidental exposure, such as contraceptive failure when using other methods. They must be taken as soon as possible after exposure to the risk of pregnancy and are most effective only if taken within 72 hours after the episode of sexual intercourse without a condom. This contraceptive pill contains higher doses than those usually seen in the contraceptive pill. Other combination contraceptives (taken in higher doses) also are sometimes used in emergencies.