How the Pill Actually Works
Before you decide that the birth control pill, or “the pill,” is the right choice for you, it’s good to understand what it contains and how it works. This pill is actually a form of medication and needs a prescription before it’s taken, so every woman should know what she’s putting into her body before she decides it’s the right choice for her.
The pill is actually a concentrated mixture of estrogen and progestogen. Estrogen is called the female hormone and is present in both men and women, but more so in women. This hormone is also vital for a healthy menstrual cycle and for supporting a pregnancy.
Progestogen is a combination of other hormonal steroids produced by the human body and also needed for a healthy pregnancy. These are produced in higher quantities in a woman’s body when she’s pregnant, and their production wanes as she reaches menopause.
So how does the pill work? When you take this concentration of these hormones, your body is led to believe that it’s already pregnant. This inhibits ovulation, the dropping of an egg near the entrance of the uterus so as to be ready for fertilization. The pill also inhibits the penetration of sperm through the cervix so there is less chance that it will reach an egg for fertilization.
The pill is effective with a failure rate of only 0.3% with perfect use, and 0.8% with typical use. This means that if you use the pill perfectly, you have only a slight chance of getting pregnant with each sexual encounter, although failing to take it as directed will increase your chances of pregnancy. If you have any questions about the use of the pill or its effectiveness, speak to your doctor.