Should you go on the pill?

The pill offers one of the simplest birth control measures, but it does come with its share of myths and side effects.

A lot of women with active sex lives prefer to go on ‘the pill’ as a measure of birth control. The contraceptive pill is a hormonal tablet that releases estrogen and progestin in the system, thereby stopping the ovulation process.

Meanwhile, the cervical mucus also thickens appreciably, to create a further barrier between sperm and the eggs.

The contraceptive pill is prescribed over 28 days, to be taken daily. The period begins once the last tablet in the pack is taken. You can take the next set of tablets after a week, during which time the period comes and goes.

There are many myths associated with the contraceptive pill. These include –

  • Women on the pill cannot get pregnant even after they stop taking it
  • The pill causes infertility
  • You don’t need to use condoms if you are on the pill

This last one, is only half true. Let’s see why.

The pill and the use of condoms

The contraceptive pill regulates the ovulation and menstrual cycles. While you are on the pill, you may have sex but the ejaculated sperms cannot effectively fertilise the egg. Couples who wish to get pregnant must get off the pill for a period of three to six months, till the menstrual cycle and endometrial lining in the uterus come back to normal.

  • However, condoms are a different kind of birth control measure. They prevent the ejaculate from entering the vaginal canal, by creating a physical barrier between the penis and the vagina.
  • Even if you are currently on the pill, you should still use a condom because it is really effective in preventing the spread of STIs and STDs.
  • Most women (wrongly) believe that the pill also protects them from the spread of sexual infections and diseases. This is simply not true, and if you are sexually active and have a new partner, then you should never have sex without a condom.

Should you go on the pill?

Like every other medicine taken internally, the contraceptive pill also exhibits some side effects. These are not seen in every woman, while some may have more pronounced side effects than others. These include:

  • Mild nausea
  • Bloating and some weight gain
  • Mild spotting
  • Headache and loss of appetite
  • Mood swings

Doctors normally recommend the pill to women who are sexually active and who do not wish to get pregnant at the moment, whether they are married or not. If you want another contraceptive method that does not involve taking a tablet every single day, you can try the hormonal injection or patch (which provides up to 12 weeks of protection), or get an IUD (Intra Uterine Device) for up to 5 years of birth control.