Content on this page requires a newer version of Adobe Flash Player.

Get Adobe Flash player

What is Combined Oral Contraceptive Pill (COCP)

There are two types of hormones used for birth control in contraceptive pills – oestrogen and progestin. The combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP) is the one in which both these hormones are present while the other type of pill contains only a single hormone progestin. Their basic functions are preventing ovulation, i.e. the release of eggs, and making the lining of the uterus thinner. The women need to take their pills correctly to have better chance of success in preventing pregnancy.

Research has proven that the failure rate of COCP when used correctly is one in a thousand, although 5 percent first time users get pregnant accidentally, mostly because they do not take the pills correctly. This is the reason users are advised to use a backup contraceptive for the first 7 days of their routine of taking pills.

There are certain benefits of combined pills apart from the already mentioned effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. These include:

• No interference with sex.
• It makes the periods lighter, less painful and more regular.
• Menstrual cramps and pain are reduced by these pills, as well as premenstrual tension in some women.
• The risk of cancers of ovary, womb and colon are reduced by the use of these contraceptives. In particular the cancer of ovary is prevented even after stopping the pill for several years. Formation of some types of cysts in the ovary is also prevented.
• Risk of pelvic infection is also minimised. This is because the mucous plug developed due to the pills prevents bacteria, and even the germs from entering the uterus.Some breast diseases that involve formation of benign structures can also be prevented by the combined-pill.

The users need to be careful in taking these pills and precautions such as taking the pills on the same time every day are essential to be followed for ensuring success. The disadvantages of taking the pills which result mostly from lack of understating of its correct use are:

• If you think contraceptive pills can prevent you from HIV and sexually transmitted diseases, grow wise as that is not the case. There is no such pill yet.
• Your effort of preventing pregnancy can fail just by missing out on taking pills for one day.
• Some women report of depression, headaches and lesser fulfilling sex after starting the routine of pills.
• Blood clots can occur and if you are predisposed to having breast cancer, the pills can promote that. They do not result in breast cancer by their own effect.