It is incredible that the generic word “pill” has come to signify a very specific drug in modern parlance- the oral contraceptive pill (OCP).
For over half a century, The Pill- which typically contains varying doses of estrogen and progestin or only progestin- has had a far-flung impact on our culture.
For the first time, there was a medicine meant for people who were healthy. Moreover, they were expected to take the medicine every day.
What further complicated the adoption of the Pill by the general population was the public disapproval of figures from the Catholic Church and Conservative school of political thought.
Despite these significant barriers, The Pill gave women unprecedented access to control over when they could get pregnant. It gave, perhaps for the first time, women the choice to choose their timelines.
The invention of OCPs was the labour of love of feminists, gynecologists, and iconoclastic scientists. Today, 98% of women have used some form of birth control.
While the most popular use of OCPs remains its original intended use- prevention of pregnancies- the Pill has found a host of other uses as well. OCPs have been found use in the treatment of heavy menstrual flow (menorrhagia), painful menstruation (dysmenorrhoea), and conditions such as endometriosis (where endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus).
No method of birth control is perfect, and The Pill has side effects as well. It may cause weight gain, and tenderness of breasts, and exacerbate mood swings.
For people who are smokers or have certain clotting disorders, OCPs containing estrogen may be actively contraindicated.
While OCPs are a safe and effective option for millions of women across the world, it’s worth noting that they do nothing to prevent the transmission of STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections).
If you are unsure about the STD status of your partner, condoms are non-negotiable irrespective of whether you are on The Pill.