Tag Archives: oral contraceptive pills

The Contraceptive Pills and its Effect on Women’s Health


So how this legal action affects the healthcare and wellbeing of women?


When the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order preventing the Department of Health (DOH) from procuring and distributing certain types of contraceptives, women are suddenly on frenzy because one of their choices of birth control will be off the shelves soon.


Thepills3The order is not only to prevent distribution, it also prohibits the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) from issuing new certificates of product registration (CPR) for these products. Several reproductive health advocates have called on the Supreme Court to act on the petition filed by the DOH and the Office of the President to immediately lift the TRO.


The TRO issued in 2015 covered Implanon and similar implants initially. However it expanded to cover pills, injectables, intrauterine devices, and other brands. The petition was filed by Alliance for the Family Foundation, Philippines, Inc. (ALFI), in protest of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) the issuance of certificates of product registration to Implanon and Implanon NXT, contraceptive devices, which they claim may induce abortions.


So how this legal action affects the healthcare and wellbeing of women?


Birth control pills — sometimes called “the Pill,” oral contraceptive pills (OCP), combined oral contraceptives (COC), or hormonal pills contain one or two types of synthetic or artificial female hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which women produce naturally in their ovaries. A woman can get pregnant if a man’s sperm reaches one of her eggs. The pill is usually taken by women to prevent pregnancy. The hormones in the pill prevent ovaries from releasing an egg and they also make it difficult for sperm to reach an egg. In short, these pills help to keep the egg and sperm apart or by stopping egg production.


But the pills are not just for birth control, it is also being used to treat many different conditions:

Young woman holding "the pill" on her lap

Menstrual Cramps

Doctors may call cramps “dysmenorrhea.” This is one of the most common, annoying parts of women’s period. When over-the-counter medications don’t help with discomfort brought by severe cramps, birth control pills may be one of the solutions because they prevent ovulation and lighten periods.


Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)

A group of physical and behavioral symptoms that occur in a cyclic pattern during the 2nd half of the menstrual cycle. These symptoms include mood swings, breast soreness, weight gain and bloating, along with acne can occur up to 2 weeks before a young women’s period. Birth control pills may be prescribed to stop ovulation and keep hormone levels balanced.


Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)

It is a condition in which a woman’s levels of the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are out of balance. This leads to the growth of ovarian cysts (benign masses on the ovaries). PCOS can affect women’s menstrual cycle, fertility, cardiac function, and appearance. For those whose menstrual periods are irregular these birth control pills work by lowering certain hormone levels to regulate menstrual periods.


Amenorrhea or Lack of Periods

This refers to the absence of a woman’s menstrual period while she is in her reproductive years. This normally happens to women experiencing from low weight, stress, or excessive exercise. Doctors to replace estrogen, which helps to regulate the menstrual cycle, may prescribe birth control pills. If lack of periods is caused by low weight or an eating disorder, the best treatment is weight gain to a normal healthy weight.


Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI)

Also know as premature ovarian failure, is a loss of normal function of women’s ovaries before age 40. If the ovaries fail, they don’t produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Birth control pills are often prescribed to those who have ovaries that don’t make enough estrogen because of radiation and/or chemotherapy or a genetic condition such as Turner Syndrome or other conditions. The goal of this treatment is to regulate the menstrual cycle.


The issue of taking the pills off the shelves is not just limiting the choices for birth control. We are also preventing the treatment of other conditions and health care related issues for women. Apart from these, the absence of birth control pills may result to increase in unplanned pregnancy, teen pregnancy, incidence of unsafe abortions, and among other important issues.

So, to women out there, let our voices be heard. Let’s fight to keep birth control affordable and accessible!