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Oral Combined Hormonal Contraceptive (AHCO)
AHCO is the use of progesterone-associated estrogen, preventing conception by inhibiting ovulation by blocking the release of gonadotropins through the pituitary gland.
It also modifies cervical mucus making it hostile to sperm, alters endometrial conditions, modifies tube contractility, interfering with ovular transport.
There are several types of pills. The most commonly prescribed are:
- single phase pills: One pill is taken each day, and they all have the same dosage of hormones (estrogen and progesterone). You start taking it on the fifth day of your period until the pack is gone. One gets seven days without taking, during which menstruation happens.
- multiphase pills: One pill is taken per day, but there are pills with different strengths depending on the phase of the cycle. Therefore, they may have lower dosages, and cause fewer side effects. They are taken as single-phase pills, but have different colors according to the dosage and phase of the cycle: they cannot be taken out of order.
- low dose pills or mini pills: have a lower dosage and contain only one hormone (usually progesterone); causing fewer side effects. They are indicated during breastfeeding as an extra guarantee for the woman. They should be taken every day without interruption, including menstruation.
Ideally, the pill should only be taken after a thorough medical examination by a gynecologist who will prescribe the most appropriate for each case..
- It can cause side effects in some women, such as nausea, breast tenderness, weight gain or water retention, mood swings, skin blemishes, headache, increased blood pressure.
- In some women may cause health risks. Therefore, female smokers with heart problems, liver and heart disease, hypertension, suspected pregnancy, phlebitis or varicose veins, glaucoma, migraine, stroke, or obesity should not use pills.
- It is less effective when taken with some drugs. Certain medications, specifically antibiotics, interfere with the action of the pills, making control less effective.
- A failure in the pill regimen may cancel or diminish its effectiveness.
- Taken too long, it may increase the risk of breast cancer.
- Not recommended for women under 16 or over 40 years.