Birth control pills are oral contraceptives that inhibit the body's fertility level through chemical means. The oral contraceptive contains synthetic hormones that alter the woman's hormonal system so that ovulation is prevented. The birth control pill has been around since the 1960s and is popularly used even today. The modern combination pills are popular on account of the fewer side effects and high success rate. But the birth control pill does not offer any protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV and AIDS.
Estrogen and progesterone are the key hormones that keep a woman's menstrual cycle going. The contraceptive pill contains both these hormones, which go into making a hostile environment for an embryo to develop. Modern pills contain less estrogen than their earlier versions. The birth control pill works as a contraceptive by blocking the release of an egg. While a woman is on birth control pill, the brain no longer signals the ovaries to produce an egg each month. In this way, the contraceptive pill seeks to block ovulation so as to prevent a pregnancy. The cervical mucous becomes thick and unreceptive to sperm thereby making its progress through the fallopian tubes difficult. The endometrium also becomes unreceptive to receive the fertilized egg.
The combined birth control pills contain both the hormones estrogen and progesterone. Combination pills prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs. The progesterone-only contraception pills thicken the cervical mucus making it difficult for the sperm to travel. Combination pills are more effective than progesterone only pills. The success rate of birth control pills is about 97 - 99%, if taken correctly. The pill is an easily reversible method of contraception. If the woman is also taking antibiotics such as rifampin or anti-seizure medications, the birth control pill may not be as effective. Some anti-HIV protease inhibitors and anti-fungal oral medication may also affect the efficacy of oral contraceptives.
Contraceptive injection progestin
Just like oral contraceptives, birth control injections work at suppressing ovulation. With a success rate of nearly 99.7 %, these hormonal injections are effective for 12 weeks. The hormonal birth control shots are also known as DMPA - depot medroxyprogesteroneacetate.
It is effective for women who cannot take estrogen. There is lesser menstrual cramping as well as lesser chance of anemia when on such birth control injections. Besides, it decreases the risk of endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease. Contraceptive shots can be used while breastfeeding.
Progestin injection is not recommended for long-term use since it has some side effects. Irregular bleeding is a common side effect. Some women complain of longer or heavier menstrual bleeding. Some women who are on birth control injections also experience depression, skin rash, weight gain and nausea. Hair loss or increased hair growth on the face and body can also result from use of birth control shots. It is noticed that some women experience decreased sexual drive. Some studies have shown that women using contraceptive injections may experience loss of bone density that may increase their risk of osteoporosis.
Therefore women who are on birth control injections are advised to take plenty of calcium and keep up an exercise regimen. Women taking medication for Cushing's syndrome may not receive adequate birth control protection from this injection. Birth control shots do not offer any protection against sexually transmitted infections. Sometimes, there is a slight delay of return to fertility in some women.
Birth control shots are not recommended for women who want to become pregnant in the near future or those who have unexplained vaginal bleeding. Women who are diabetic or have recently suffered from liver disease are allowed to use injectable birth control shots only under close medical supervision.
CRP blood test
CRP (C-Reactive Protein) blood test measures the levels of a special protein produced by the liver during infection or acute inflammation. Usually blood does not contain CRP. CRP blood tests are often done to diagnose rheumatic fever, cancer, tuberculosis, pneumonia or heart attack. Often CRP test is suggested along with ESR blood test to check for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus. Pregnant women or women on oral contraceptives may notice positive CRP in the blood. Since CRP blood test is indicative of inflammation in the blood, it is an important predictor of heart problems.
This blood test aids in detecting the risk of developing myocardial infarction. In patients suffering acute coronary syndrome, the hsCRP test can predict the risk of developing cardiovascular disease or ischemia. The reference range for hsCRP:
Low Risk: < 1 mg/L
Average Risk: 1 - 3 mg/L
High Risk: >3 mg/L
Acute inflammation: >10 mg/L
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Bibliography / Reference
Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 4, 2020