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What You Should Know About Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP)


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What You Should Know About Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCP)

Birth control tablets are known as oral contraceptives (OCP). They are sometimes known as hormonal contraceptives or simply pills. Their primary function is to prevent pregnancy, but they can also help in the treatment of acne, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), excessive menstrual flow (period), and cramps.

OCPs can’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

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This article discusses the different types of OCPs, their effectiveness, benefits, side effects, and where to purchase them.

Types of Oral contraceptives

To prevent pregnancy, oral contraceptives use synthetic female hormones. The two primary forms of OCPs are combination pills and progestin-only (minipills). Your doctor may advise you to take them regularly, for a prolonged period, or continually.

Combined Birth Control Pills

Combined birth control tablets are the most commonly given. They contain the female hormones estrogen (Ethinyl estradiol) and progesterone in synthetic form (progestin).

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Combination contraceptives prevent pregnancy by preventing the ovaries from producing an egg (ovulation) and altering the uterine lining.

Pills Containing Only Progestin

The “mini-pill” is another name for progestin-only tablets. This tablet has no estrogen. It works in the same manner as the combination pill to prevent conception, but it also thickens cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to access an egg if ovulation occurs.

Camila, Errin, and Heather are examples of progestin-only OCPs (norethindrone).

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The birth control pills have 21 active pills and seven inactive pills, or 24 active pills and four inactive pills. Vaginal bleeding happens once a month while taking inactive tablets when using a traditional pack.

Effectiveness of pills

When taken as prescribed, oral birth control pills are 99% effective. This involves doing everything consistently and accurately every day at the same time.

The failure rate, or pregnancy rate, for women taking oral contraceptives, is 4%–7% with normal use (not necessarily consistent or accurate use).

What Is the Importance of Taking Birth Control Every Day at the Same Time?

Taking birth control at the same time every day suppresses ovulation and boosts the effectiveness. Setting an alarm on your phone or using a birth control reminder app can help guarantee consistent usage.

When you missed a dose

If you’ve been using birth control and miss a dosage, take it as soon as you notice it, then continue taking it at your regular time every day. This might involve taking two medicines on the same day. Although missing one tablet slightly increases your chance of pregnancy, you may want to consider using emergency contraception for seven days.

If you forget to take two or more tablets, take them as normal. In this instance, healthcare practitioners advise utilizing backup contraception for seven to nine days, such as condoms. 

Use a backup form of birth control for at least the first seven to nine days if you’ve never used birth control pills before or are restarting them.

Benefits of Oral contraceptives

OCPs’ principal function is to prevent pregnancy. However, some can also be helpful in

  • Endometriosis (a painful condition in which uterine tissue develops outside the uterus) (a painful condition in which uterine tissue grows outside the uterus)
  • Heavy menstruation (bleeding).
  • Menstrual cramps are severe.
  • Menstrual irregularities.
  • Cysts in the ovaries.
  • Dysphoric premenstrual syndrome (PMDD).
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS) (PMS).

Benefits of Combined Pills

Aside from the benefits listed above, healthcare practitioners frequently prescribe combined pills to prevent or cure acne.

The Benefits of Progestin-Only Pills

The following are the benefits of taking progestin-only pills:

You can take them just after giving birth or during nursing.
They do not increase the chance of hypertension or cardiovascular disease.
If you have a history of high blood pressure or blood clots, you can take them.
They are safer for women over the age of 35 who smoke.
They might have fewer side effects, including nausea and headaches.

Side Effects of Oral pills

The most frequent adverse effects include breakthrough bleeding or spotting, especially when commencing therapy for the first time. This happens more often with progestin-only pills, although it can happen with combo pills as well. 

Other possible OCP side effects include:

  • Acne.
  • Tenderness or expansion of the breasts.
  • Patches of brown or black skin.
  • Appetite Alteration.
  • Swelling of the gums.
  • Vaginal irritation or itching.
  • Changes in menstrual bleeding (period).
  • Discomfort in the stomach.
  • Weight gain or decrease.
  • Vaginal discharge that is white.
  • Hair growth is unusual.

While major OCP adverse effects are uncommon, they frequently necessitate medical treatment. Consult your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms: 

Complete loss of appetite.

  • coughing up blood.
  • Urine that is dark.
  • Fatigue.
  • Fever.
  • Heavy menstrual flow.
  • Leg ache.
  • Stool in light color (poop).
  • Rash.
  • Extensive headache.
  • Extreme vomiting.


With so many birth control methods available, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Understanding each category allows you to make an informed selection. Working with a healthcare expert can also assist you in determining which type is ideal for you.


Oral contraceptives (OCP) are birth control tablets that are also referred to as hormonal contraceptives or the pill. Their primary function is to prevent conception, but they can also aid in the treatment of acne and menstrual disorders. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are not prevented by OCPs.

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