Contraceptive Pill – Advantage and Disadvantages

Reliability

The combined pill is the most reliable form of reversible contraceptive, with a failure rate of 0.1-2 per 100 woman years. Failures of the method are very rare indeed: failures caused by forgetting to take the pill account for far more of the unwanted pregnancies.

Advantages

The pill is an extremely effective method of preventing unwanted pregnancies. It is unrelated to sex, and so causes no interruption of lovemaking. It is very easy to use — simply swallowing a pill — and the regimes for ordinary pills are easy to follow. It is discreet to use and easy to carry around when travelling or holidaying. It is available free from Gps and family planning clinics. It appears to have no effect on subsequent pregnancies, even those conceived accidentally. The method is virtually one hundred per cent reversible. It helps protect against some forms of cancer and some other minor and major health conditions. It also improves and regulates the menstrual cycle and associated problems.

Disadvantages

The pill does carry a high risk for some women and is very occasionally a contributory factor in a woman’s death. It can increase the incidence of quite a few major and minor diseases and medical conditions. It needs to be issued by a trained person, and cannot be bought over the counter. Not all women are suitable candidates for pill use. The pill interferes with the body’s hormonal systems, and can delay the return of fertility for a few months.

Conclusions

If you are happy with the idea of hormonal contraception, then there are no ethical problems with the combined pill, but you must check very carefully that you are a suitable candidate. The ideal pill user is a normal-weight woman in her twenties who is conscientious about pill-taking, does not smoke, and has no health problems. If you are forgetful, over thirty-five, overweight, a smoker, or dislike taking medication of any sort then you will not be a good candidate for the pill. Because of the pill’s excellent success rate it is a very good method for the first few months/years of marriage, especially where the woman is young and therefore very fertile. It causes very little embarrassment to use, and means that the couple should be free to discover one another sexually without the hindrance of mechanical methods, the abstinence of rhythm methods, or the fear of unplanned pregnancy. If you are concerned about the health risks, then you should weigh them up very carefully against how important it is to you not to become pregnant. The woman needs to be happy with taking charge of contraception — it is difficult for the man to participate in this method, other than by reminding his wife to take her pill. Lastly, every pill user (and her husband) should be aware of the danger signs.