1. Hormonal contraception: more information about the contraceptive pill
  2. Hormonal contraception: contraceptive ring, what do we need to know?

Hormonal contraception: more information about the contraceptive pill

According to the World Health Organisation guidelines, hormonal contraception can be used in complete safety from the age of menarche onwards. Still today, contraceptive pills are the most effective contraceptive method used by the majority of women to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies. The new pill is a combined oral contraceptive (COC) and acts by inhibiting ovulation through the intake of the first seven pills, while the remaining pills maintain ovulation absence. The contraceptive pill is considered 100% effective and for this reason it is considered the most safe among the different contraceptive methods. In fact, unwanted pregnancies that occur during the use of contraceptive pills are most likely related to mistakes in the pill’s intake. The contraindications related to the pill are the same for both adults and adolescents that use the COC pill, which reveals to be very useful during a stable relationship. However, the use of condoms is still necessary to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The pill is also indicated for those adolescents that experience irregular cycles because with its use periods become more regular, flow decreases and a significant reduction of pain related to menstruation is observable. Also acne, that is a quite common condition that can affect adolescents, improves with the use of the pill. Pills with “high” and “low” oestrogen dosage exist on the market. Before modern days, pills contained very high oestrogen levels, which caused many side effects. For this reason, research has focused on the production of pills with lower ethinyl estradiol quantity, changing from 50 micrograms to only 15/20 micrograms contained in modern pills. To make sure to take the right decision and avoid any discomfort or side effect, before taking any type of pill it is crucial to undergo all the examinations prescribed by the gynaecologist.

Hormonal contraception: contraceptive ring, what do we need to know?

In Italy, the only existing type of contraceptive ring is sold in pharmacies with medical prescription. It is a device with a 4 mm thickness and 54 mm diameter containing two different feminine hormones, progesterone and oestrogen. Such hormones are slowly released at low quantities and enter general circulation impeding fertilization by blocking the ovary’s release of the follicle. It has several advantages because of the synergy between the two hormones: oestrogen increases the effectiveness of progesterone giving a greater ovulation-inhibiting effect, and mainly maintains the development of the endometrium and provides a good control of the menstrual cycle. To make sure it works correctly, it is necessary to follow instructions: it must be inserted inside the vagina on the first day of menstruation and must be removed after exactly three weeks. During the week in which the ring is removed, vaginal bleeding similar to menstruation is observable usually after 2 or 3 days from the ring’s removal. It is advisable to remove the ring at approximately the same time it has been inserted. The new ring will have to be positioned exactly one week after the removal of the previous one, on the same day and at the same time also in case of continued bleeding. The ring has a contraceptive effectiveness of over 99% but like other hormonal contraceptives it does not protect from sexually transmitted diseases.

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