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Contraception (The Pill)
Health Guide
Contraception and The Pill (MiniPill)
The Pill or combined oral contraceptive pill is a medicine taken by women that contains hormones. The hormones are progesterone and oestrogen or their synthetic equivalent. These hormones are already produced by the body but the hormones present in the pill trick the brain into thinking that it has already produced an egg. Thus no egg is produced and the woman does not get pregnant.

To work the pill must be taken the same time every day (give or take 12 hours). There are two packs available one with continuous pills and one with 7 pills missing for your period. In the continuous form there are 7 small sugar pills to take while you are having your period. The most critical pills are the 7 hormone free pills and the first 7 pills in the pack. If the pill free week is extended by a day or one of the first 7 pills is missed then the chances of pregnancy are at their greatest.

Effectiveness
The combined pill if taken properly is about 99% effective or more.







Advantages

  • Easy to use.
  • Not permanent i.e. wears off and allows user to get pregnant afterwards.
  • Regulates periods and usually decreases pain and amount of blood.
  • Can also reduce premenstrual syndrome or PMS.
  • May protect against some cancers (ovarine and uterine cancers - womb).



Disadvantages

  • Unable to be used when breast feeding.
  • Does not protect against STD's.
  • Some people get side affect from the medicine, such as:

    1. Increased appetite and weight gain.
    2. Tenderness of breast.
    3. Mood swings and depression.
    4. Nausea and stomach upsets.
    5. Decrease in libido or sex drive
    6. Increase in body hair.
    7. Pigmentation of skin on face (rare).



Health Risks on the Pill
There are some medical conditions which should imply not using the pill.

  • Focal migraine (migraine that causes numbness on one side of the body or similar symptoms) that is not improved by the use of the pill.
  • High blood pressure
  • A history of clots in the legs of the person or close family member.
  • Angina or Ischaemic heart disease.
  • TIA or stroke.
  • Circulatory disease.
These conditions are all worsened by smoking thus use in smokers over 35 with caution.



What Happens If You Miss a Pill(s)?
If a pill is missed or you are taking antibiotics or have vomiting or diarrhoea then the pill will not work any you have to obey the 7 day rule.
The seven day rule - you will only be safe to have sex after 7 hormone pills have been taken. If there are less than seven hormone pills left skip the pill free week and take the hormone pills. If you are unsure about what you should do, contact your doctor or see the nurse at your local Family Planning Clinic.

The Mini Pill
The mini pill is a medicine taken by mouth by women that contains progesterone hormone only. It does not stop a woman from ovulating but instead makes the mucus in the cervix (the opening to the womb) thick and impervious to sperm. It must be taken every day within 3 hours of the same time each day. If you miss a mini pill you must assume you are unsafe to have sex for the next 2 pills or 48 hours. The mini pill is not affected by antibiotics.

Effectiveness
The effectiveness of the mini pill is about 98% if used properly.






Advantages

  • Easy to use.
  • Not permanent.
  • Can decrease bleeding.
  • Not affected by antibiotics.
  • Able to be used when breast feeding.


Disadvantages
See previous side affects nausea, breast tenderness, weight gain and depresseion.
There are however few contraindications or reasons not to take it

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