A Different Spin on the History of the Pill

The History of the PillThe birth control Pill was the first medication approved for long-term use by healthy people and the first 99% effective way to prevent conception.birth control pills

The Pill (hormonal contraception taken by mouth) fulfilled a dream of activists Margaret Sanger and Katherine Dexter McCormick. Both spurred its development, and McCormick paid for the research. Over time, the Pill helped millions of women avoid unplanned pregnancies. Oral contraception, or “OC,” clearly separated the sex act from birth control. Couples welcomed not having to stop to put on a condom or insert a diaphragm. But the liberation from messy, old-fashioned methods came at a cost. Scientists tested the drug on Third World women. The large doses of hormones in the Pill’s early form caused serious side effects. Physicians had to prescribe the Pill, making it unavailable to women without the resources to visit a doctor or clinic. Feminists attacked the method as harmful and exploitative. The Roman Catholic Church opposed the Pill as unnatural.
How “the pill” works

The Pill’s synthetic hormones thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg, make it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus, and most importantly, prevent ovulation from taking place. Women still have monthly bleeding with most brands of the Pill. Early researchers thought women would need some semblance of menstruation to reduce their anxiety about getting pregnant. Scientists soon discovered that smaller amounts of hormones prevented conception as well as large doses did. The smaller dose reduced the risk of serious side effects such as a blood clot or stroke. The Pill’s hormone content in 2009 was dramatically lower than in 1960. In 2009 most oral contraceptives contained the same type of estrogen, ethinyl estradiol, but different kinds of progestin. Some of the “combination” pills (those that include both estrogen and progestin) featured hormone doses that change weekly during one cycle.   Enovid was first marketed in the U.S. in 1957 not for birth control but to help with “disturbances of menstruation” (see Enovid brochure above). The U.S. Food & Drug Administration mandated a warning on the label that it would prevent ovulation. And women quickly learned that this pill would prevent pregnancy. By 1959 over 500,000 American women used Enovid for contraception. The FDA approved the Pill’s use for method of birth control in 1960. Other manufacturers soon entered the market: Syntex, Ortho, Wyeth, Parke Davis, and more. In 2009 an estimated 12 million women in the U.S. and 100 million world wide use the Pill for contraception.

The first oral contraceptive, Enovid, was manufactured by G. D. Searle and supplied free to clinical trials in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. It contained 10 milligrams of norethynodrel (a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone) and .15 grams of synthetic estrogen. Estrogen was a byproduct of the manufacturing process, but removing it caused more breakthrough bleeding. So estrogen stayed in the formula. By 1958 the Pill had been tested on 830 women, mostly in Puerto Rico. Many question the ethics of such testing, but Puerto Rican women actively sought this new way to control family size.
Packaging the Pill

In 1964 David Wagner patented models for two Pill dispensers, circular and rectangular. An engineer, Wagner was acting as a private citizen and consumer. He wanted to help his wife remember when to take the Pill and if she had taken it on any one day. The Pill first came in a bottle, like other medicine. Women were to take a pill each day for 20 days, then not take it for the next seven days. Though some companies issued a calendar with the pills the plan confused many consumers. Drug companies refused to purchase Wagner’s design but later introduced pill dispensers that closely resembled his patent Wagner sued and won out-of-court settlements. The Pill represents the first use of compliance packaging for medicine.
Impact of the Pill

The Pill became the symbol of the so-called “sexual revolution” of the 1960s-70s. Many blamed it for the events of these years — a rise in single motherhood, unmarried couples living together or in communes, open marriage and wife swapping, women’s liberation, and increased visibility of sex in the media. Scholars now recognize that these cultural shifts began well before the advent of the Pill. But the Pill’s development does represent a watershed in the history of medicine, women’s health, reproduction, and contraception.

Source: Western Reserve Univ

What is Plan B?

What is Plan B?
Plan B is a new emergency contraceptive (morning after pill) that was approved by the FDA in July 1999. It is made up of two progestin-only pills containing levonorgestrel.

Progestins are the “pregnancy” hormone. Levonorgestrel is used in regular birth control methods, such as Norplant. Previous formulations had used progestins in combination with estrogens, the “female” hormone. It is the first progestin-only pill that has been approved in the U.S. for emergency contraception after either unprotected sex or a contraceptive accident, such as a condom breaking.


How does plan B work? plan B is two pills which you take together. If taken within 72 hours, it prevents pregnancy by doing one of three things:

Temporarily stops the release of an egg from the ovary
Prevents fertilization
Prevents a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus

plan B is a day after pill, not an abortion pill—if you take plan B you will not be terminating a pregnancy.

If you are already pregnant and take plan B, there’s no evidence that plan B will harm you or the fetus.

Be Careful to read the Warnings of Yaz

Blood clots, stroke and other dangerous side effects associated with the use of Yaz and Yasmin birth control pills are driving more than 10,000 U.S. patients to file lawsuits against Bayer Pharmaceuticals.

The lawsuits stem from the serious number of heart and blood disorders experienced by Yaz users. Plaintiffs – former users of Yaz and Yasmin and their families – are bolstered in part with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) rulings that Bayer trumped up some of the drugs’ uses in marketing and advertising campaigns and downplayed their side effects. The number of lawsuits grew to the point that multi-district legislation (MDL) is now in place to handle all of the related claims.

About the Drug and its uses

The birth control pill market today is very keen in selling various different contraceptives. Yaz is one of the contraceptives that are preferred by the women these days. Yaz is known to be consisting of two hormones known as drospirenone and ethinyl estradiol. Most of the birth control pills are found to have many side effects.

Yaz is prescribed to prevent pregnancy in about 99 percent of women. It is used to treat premenstrual dysphoric disorder and is not approved to manage premenstrual syndrome. Serious set of symptoms occur prior to the menstruation period. The Acne is treated in women in 14 years of age.

Common side effects of YAZ occurring in more than one percent of women are

Reduced sexual desire
Appetite increase
Bleeding or spotting
Vaginal yeast infection
Vaginal discharge
Weight gain

Serious side effects of YAZ are

High potassium levels in blood
The symptoms of blood clot in the leg are calf pain, leg cramps, foot swelling
Symptoms of lung blood clot are shortness of breath, sharp chest pain and bloody cough
Symptoms of heart attack and chest pain
Loss of vision that can be symptom of blood clot in the eye
Symptom of stroke like speech changes, weakness, numbness, and severe headache
Symptoms of liver damage like yellowing of eyes and skin, pain in the  upper right abdomen and dark urine
Breast lumps
Abnormal vaginal bleeding
High cholesterol
Symptoms of allergic reaction are rashes, hives, itching, wheezing, swelling, and difficulty in swallowing and breathing
Blockage of blood vessels in retina of the eye
Cervical dysplasia
Erythema multiforme

Precautions to be taken to avoid side effects

The person who is already suffering from stroke, blood clots and heart attack is further made to suffer due to YAZ. During the first year of its usage the risk of blood clots formation exists.  The risk of blood clots will increase after some time after four weeks or more. If the person is also under medication that increases potassium along with this drug, it is better to use this medication after consulting the doctor. The blood test that checks the potassium levels is done during the first month of YAZ administration. The health care professional has to be consulted, if the person has these problems while taking Yaz.

Sudden blindness
Persistent leg pain
Sudden shortness of breath
Serious pain in chest
Serious headache
Weakness in arm
Yellowing of skin

Helpful Tips – Birth Control Pills

Birth control pills are that pills that control the pregnancy of the women. These pills control the hormonal change in the women body. Hormonal is that chemical which control the function of the body. Through these birth control pills one can protect the ovaries and the uterus and the women can protect themselves from pregnancy.

With the help of birth control pills men and women protect themselves from pregnancy. There are many ways to control pregnancy but women prefer to take contraceptive pills because it is easy to take and is more effective.  There are many kinds of birth control pills available in the market one can buy through prescription and as per the requirement.  In birth control pills there are combination of estrogen and progesterone that prevent the ovulation. In case if the women are taking birth control pills after having sex then there is no ovulation takes place and no egg fertilization. Due to these contraceptive pills the mucus of uterus thick and it is difficult for sperm to enter into the cervix.

Women prefer to take those pills which will help them to control conceive. Along with these pills there are others measures to like the virginal ring and the patch and many other devices but they have side effects too and there is no surety that is why women choose these pills. Before taking any pills it s advisable to first concern with the doctors. There are many online sites available that gives the information upon various pills like when to take and timing and the duration of course. Before opt to any pills one should read the review of that medicine so as to get the idea about the benefit and side effects. Along with these pills the women should keep themselves away from stress otherwise she needs to take more medicines along with these pills.

In order to keep themselves stress free the women can follow the following steps

Do exercise and yoga and meditation on daily basis
Take proper diet and make diet chart
Should develop new hobbies
Try to involve more in home activities

The Difficult Task: Birth control pills should be taken daily

Women who do not want to conceive usually opt to take varied measures which will ensure that they do not conceive. They use Intrauterine device which will help them to control pregnancy. But few feel this device is not suitable for them because they have side effects hence they opt to take birth control pills. These pills they feel are much safer and also it is convenient for them take them. They need to seek more information and talk to the doctors as to know what benefits they can receive by taking those pills and also they should know what are the side effects which most women complain when they take those pills.

Birth control pills are easily available in pharmacy shops . Few of them need prescription from the doctors and others are available over the counter. Thus due to introduction of birth control pills. Many women have benefited and they are leading a happy life. Thus it helps them plan for their baby when they are free from responsibilities. They should ensure to lead a healthy life style by taking protein rich food and also perform varied exercises which will help them to reduce their stress. Birth control pills should be taken every day at the same time because it takes 24 hours to balance the hormones. Women should not take at varied timing but ensure each day they take the pills at same time. for example if a women takes it at 9.00 P.M then she should take those pills everyday at 9.00 Pm. Women should not take much stress because when they take much stress on them their health get ruined. And they may take few more medication which they may not like to take.

Why Don’t We Have a Pill for Men? OH, ok. Now I understand.

After years of news reports that male birth control is on the way, now there’s some support for what feminists have always suspected. It’s not science that’s holding up the creation of a Pill for men– it’s society.
The original developer of male birth-control pill says they stopped work on it because men wouldn’t use it.

    “It would be possible to make a male pill today. We know how hormones work and we could use the same principles that are used to make the female pill,” Carl Djerassi, 82, told weekly news magazine “Sabado”.
“The problem is that men are afraid to lose their virility. Even if taking a pill carries only a remote chance of impotence, they won’t take the chance,” he added.

Use of the Pill by Female Swimmers

by Doctor Becky Morgan
Oral contraceptive agents (birth control pills) are often prescribed for the female athlete for contraceptive purposes, cycle regulation, or the treatment of dysmenorrhea (cramping and pain.) More recently, birth control pills have been prescribed in athletes with amenorrhea (absence of periods for more than 3 months) to avoid a decrease in bone density secondary to a lack of estrogen (the cause of skipped periods.) There are often concerns regarding performance in athletes prescribed these agents. The following is a brief summary of the action of birth control pills, and the potential complications and benefits of oral contraceptive use in swimmers.

The menstrual period is the result of a specific cycle of estrogen and progesterone secretion that occurs every 25-35 days (see diagram). The length of the cycle is variable among individuals and depends on many factors, such as physical or emotional stress, nutrition, and general health status. An alteration in any of the above factors may cause hormone levels to decrease and result in the interruption of the cycle that was previously normal for that individual. The end result may be an absence of menses, or irregular bleeding.

The effects of estrogen and progesterone on athletic performance during the different phases of the menstrual cycle are not clearly defined with current scientific information and may vary among individuals. Similarly, the effects of oral contraceptive agents (OCAs), on athletic performance are unclear. Current data reflects a wide variety of pills with differing dosages and different responses in individuals. In an effort to understand the potential positive and negative effects of OCAs on athletic performance, the components and function of the pill must be addressed.

Oral contraceptives are either a combination of estrogen and progesterone (the two female sex steroids), or progesterone alone. By supplying a steady level of these hormones in the blood, the pulse levels that stimulate ovulation are avoided. This prevents pregnancy, decreases the lining of the uterus and diminishes the amount of bleeding and cramping during the menstrual phase. The combination pill (estrogen plus progesterone) is the most commonly used formulation and will be the pill addressed in this discussion.

In addition to contraception, there are secondary advantages to OCAs. Regulation of the menstrual cycle, decreased premenstrual symptoms (bloating, fatigue, irritability, depression), decreased symptoms of dysmenorrhea (cramping and pain), and potential improvement in bone density are among those advantages.

Side effects of OCAs are highly variable among individuals. Fluid retention (and temporary weight gain), midcycle (break-through) bleeding, and adverse effects on hemostatic mechanisms (clotting factors and platelets) have all been described in the use of OCAs. The fear of significant weight gain has not been supported in the population studies done with newer low-dose combination pills. (There has been weight gain associated with the progesterone-only pill.)

Although understanding of the unique physiology of the female athlete has increased, there are still many questions to be answered with respect to metabolic, cardiopulmonary, and strength changes with OCAs. Currently, there is no significant difference seen in lactate levels in individuals taking birth control pills. There is conflicting data about changes in carbohydrate metabolism due to OCAs. Data demonstrate no significant change in oxygen consumption, cardiac index (a measure of the work efficiency of the heart), or strength in athletes on birth control pills.

The benefits of oral contraceptives, in addition to the prevention of pregnancy, may contribute significantly to athletic performance, but are difficult to quantify. Decreased cramping and pain may decrease time away from training. Decreased bleeding may prevent further depletion of iron stores and fatigue. Bone metabolism and density may improve with estrogen supplementation (in the form of birth control pills) in an athlete who has been amenorrheic.

Many questions remain in the evaluation of OCAs in athletic performance. Large controlled studies using similar pills are lacking. Additionally, there are many external influences, such as nutrition, emotional and physical stresses, and the use of other medications or supplements which may affect an individual’s response to birth control pills. Overall, the advantages of the pill seem to outweigh the potential risks. Female athletes should be counseled on the benefits and disadvantages in order to make an informed decision based on individual circumstances.

Much of the existing data regarding performance and OCAs involves older preparations with higher dose estrogen or various preparations of more recent pills. Newer studies involving larger populations and the same combination pill with longer follow-up are needed to provide more accurate information. There are many positive benefits of oral contraceptives that are difficult to quantify but may enhance training and competition. There is conflicting data regarding the role of estrogen replacement through OCAs in the maintenance of bone density in athletes.

Medals have been won, and World Records have been set by women in any phase of the menstrual cycle and by women taking oral contraceptives. There is great individual variation in response to oral contraceptives . The potential benefits very often outweigh the potential disadvantages. Each athlete needs to assess her individual circumstances when deciding to use oral contraceptives.

Dr. Rebecca “Becky” Morgan is the team physician for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols. She is board certified in Family Practice and has a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine. Dr. Morgan received her Medical Doctorate from the University of South Alabama and completed her Family Practice Residency Training at the University of Alabama School of Medicine in Huntsville. She also served her Sports Medicine Fellowship at UASOM-Huntsville in 1996. Dr. Morgan completed a volunteer physician internship at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif., and also has experience with international competition through her work with the USA Swimming Program. She is a former member of the USA Swimming Sports Medicine/Science Committee and the USA Swimming Sports Medicine and Science Network.