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What Is an Oral Contraceptive?

An oral contraceptive is kind of medication that is ingested via the mouth, with the purpose of preventing conception or pregnancy. It comes in tablet or pill form and is often called birth control pill or The Pill. A birth control pill works by utilizing hormones that are naturally found in the body of a woman. It regulates the production of these hormones, thereby altering the response of the reproductive system.

There are many kinds of birth control pills available in the market today, but in general, they can be classified into two main groups:

1. The progesterone only pill which, as the name implies, contains only one hormone;
2. The combined oral contraceptive pill which, has progesterone and estrogen.

Both kinds of pills are supposed to be taken once a day, optimally around the same time each day. Depending on the specific brand of oral contraceptive, pills are taken for 21 or 28 days. For the kind which is taken for 28 days, the last 7 pills are actually placebos with no hormones. Which pill an individual decides to take is best determined upon consultation with a medical professional.

Birth control pills are more than 99 per cent effective if taken following the instructions in the package. Missing a single dose does not automatically mean that they will not be effective, but there is an associated risk.

Taking oral contraceptives can cause a wide range of side effects including nausea, weight gain, headaches, mood swings, and even irregular bleeding. On a positive note, there are oral contraceptives which make one’s skin look better

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