The high level of awareness by the media and the authorities has stirred a family planning buzz in the state. People have got more conscious and conservative about raising the family and maintaining its size. The natural way to limit the size of the family is abstinence from sex; however, it is very abnormal to maintain a healthy married life. For this reason, other alternatives have been desired by the families, especially females, to preserve intimacy. There are various alternatives now available in the market for the purpose. The sperm entry in the female could be prevented by using barriers like condoms or implantable devices. However, condoms are not 100% effective, and the device interventions are not 100% safe.
‘Take a pill every day and prevent unwanted birth’- possible by birth control pills. Birth control pills are a type of medication used profoundly for preventing pregnancy. Women can take them daily to prevent pregnancy. They are commonly called “the pill” or oral contraception. Over 100 million women worldwide currently use oral contraceptives to prevent pregnancy.
The questions and answers outlined below provide important information to assist you in safely and effectively using the pill. Be sure to read this information before you start taking birth control pills. Please feel free to discuss with your provider any questions or concerns that you may have about taking the pill.
Birth control pills are made up of hormones- estrogen and progestin. These are the same hormones naturally produced in the ovaries and regulate ovulation and the menstrual cycle. There are several different brands available, manufactured by several different companies. Pills containing both the hormones estrogen and progestin are called combination pills. Some are progestin-only pills. Most women on the pill take combination pills though they can be taken individually. The hormones in the pill work by impeding the release of eggs from the ovaries, and when there is no release of eggs, sperms do not fertilise, and pregnancy does not happen. They also thick cervical mucus to keep sperm from getting to the eggs.
Birth control pills are generally safer for use; however, some medications pose certain risks to a specific class of women, so safety is a concern when choosing a birth control method. Certain conditions increase the risk of serious side effects. Some of these conditions may even rule out the effects of pills with adverse effects. You should not take birth control pills if you have breast cancer or think you might be pregnant.
The relationship between cancer and Contraceptive Pills?
- Pills and cervical cancer: Some studies have indicated an increased incidence of cervical cancer. However, this may relate to other factors such as several sexual partners, STD exposure, etc., and birth control pill use.
- Pills and ovarian cancer: Three years of use reduces the risk of ovarian cancer by 40%; ten years of use reduces the risk by 80%.
- Pills and endometrial cancer: Pills reduce the risk for endometrial (uterine lining) cancer.
- Pills and Breast Cancer: The conclusion followed by the existing studies is that the pills neither reduce nor increase the risk of breast cancer; however, research continues. Women are encouraged to undergo monthly self-breast exams and report any changes or problems to their health care provider.
Birth control pills and Breast Cancer: A controversial analogy
A study by Women’s Contraceptive and Reproductive Experience (Women’s CARE) between 1994 and 1998 showed no increased risk of breast cancer in current or former users of birth control pills. Other research was also conducted targeting the same and attempts to evaluate the risks of breast cancer in women who had taken birth control pills in the past year compared to users who haven’t taken pills. The findings of the various types of research are summarised below:-
Objective: To study the possible link between oral contraceptive use and breast cancer risk in women.
- Dosage of estrogen in pills and risk of breast cancer: When birth control pills contain high doses of estrogen and other formulations, it is likely to increase the risk of breast cancer in women under 50. Oral contraceptives containing low-dose estrogen, which is 20 micrograms of Ethinyl estradiol, are considered safe in contrast to the oral contraceptives containing 50 micrograms of ethinylestradiol or 80 micrograms of mestranol, which are associated with nearly a three-fold higher risk of breast cancer.
- Triphasic combination pills with 0.75 milligrams of norethindrone were linked to a three-fold higher risk of breast cancer.
- Pills with ethynodiol diacetate, a progestin, seemed to increase the risk of breast cancer.
- It is also suggested that the pills which became popular in the 1990s are not a problem because they contained lower-dose estrogen.
- Those with a family history of breast cancer caused by the mutations in the BRCA1 genes are at 11 times higher risk of breast cancer, and they should use birth control pills carefully. However, those associated with BRCA2 genes do not threaten health.
What do the experts caution about the research findings?
The experts say that the results may be affected by an extraneous factor attributing to increased breast cancer risk while using contraceptive pills. Additionally, researchers do not explain why high-dose estrogen pills lead to elevated risk. Also, nothing positive is said about estrogen receptors. (This type of cancer needs estrogen to grow).
Recommendation for women
The best advice for women taking birth control pills is to get a consultation with a doctor about considering a lower dose estrogen birth control pill that does not have the higher-risk progesterone. You should not forget to check the specific doses and types of hormones used in oral contraceptives inscribed on the packaging. Although there are no chances of elevation of breast cancer by using contraceptives, many other established health adversities may be associated with oral contraceptive pills. Also, do not stop the pills by anticipating the likelihood of a disease without a valid ground because the pregnancy risk will increase if you either stop using birth control pills altogether or use the pills on an unregular basis.
If you found this blog helpful, please share it with your friends. Also, remember to post comments in case you have any health queries.