"What are birth control pills and how do they work?
Birth control pills are also known as oral contraceptives (OCs) or, simply, “the pill.” They offer protection against pregnancy by blocking the union of sperm and egg, thereby prevent"...
Serious ill effects have not been reported following acute ingestion of large doses of oral contraceptives by young children.180, 181 Overdosage may cause nausea, and withdrawal bleeding may occur in females.
Non-Contraceptive Health Benefits
The following non-contraceptive health benefits related to the use of oral contraceptives are supported by epidemiological studies that largely utilized oral contraceptive formulations containing estrogen doses exceeding 35 mcg of ethinyl estradiol or 50 mcg of mestranol.148, 149
Effects on menses:
- Increased menstrual cycle regularity
- Decreased blood loss and decreased risk of iron-deficiency anemia
- Decreased frequency of dysmenorrheal
Effects related to inhibition of ovulation:
- Decreased risk of functional ovarian cysts
- Decreased risk of ectopic pregnancies
Effects from long-term use:
Oral contraceptives should not be used in women who have the following conditions:
- Thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
- A past history of deep vein thrombophlebitis or thromboembolic disorders
- Cerebral vascular disease, myocardial infarction, or coronary artery disease, or a past history of these conditions
- Known or suspected carcinoma of the breast, or a history of this condition
- Known or suspected carcinoma of the female reproductive organs or suspected estrogen-dependent neoplasia, or a history of these conditions
- Undiagnosed abnormal genital bleeding
- History of cholestatic jaundice of pregnancy or jaundice with prior oral contraceptive use
- Past or present, benign or malignant liver tumors
- Known or suspected pregnancy
148. Ory HW, Fam Plann Perspect. 1982;14(July-Aug):182.
149. Ory HW, et al. Making Choices: Evaluating the Health Risks and Benefits of Birth Control Methods. New York, NY: The Alan Guttmacher Institute; 1983.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/17/2008
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
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