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How Does Hormonal Contraception Work?

Contraception plays a vital role in family planning. It greatly helps in preventing unwanted pregnancies, thereby reducing unsafe abortions. There are different types of contraception that are widely used. It can be a device, a medicine, a medical procedure, or a behaviour. The use of contraceptives has reduced the infant mortality rate. One very common method of birth control is hormonal contraception. They are easy to use and effective in avoiding pregnancy. Before using it, you must be aware of the pros and cons of the various hormonal contraceptives. Here is a detailed outlook on how hormonal contraception works.

Hormonal Contraception-Overview

What is hormonal contraception? Hormones are responsible for the menstrual cycle in women. Hormone-based contraception is a birth control method that directly influences the endocrine system. It consists of hormones that help prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries, thereby avoiding pregnancy. Now you must know which hormone is used as an oral contraceptive. Hormonal contraceptives contain both estrogen and progesterone hormones. Some may contain only the progesterone hormone. Hormonal contraceptives are quite reliable only when they are used regularly. Some women experience side effects with the use of hormonal contraception.

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Types of Hormonal Contraception

There are different types of hormonal contraception, mostly used in family planning. Before choosing a hormonal contraception method, you must know what are the hormonal methods of contraception commonly used. Different types of hormonal contraception are used in different ways. Birth pills, vaginal rings, contraceptive patches, and hormone-based contraceptive coils are some of the types of hormonal contraception. The effects of each type of hormonal contraception are the same. All these hormonal methods of contraception help prevent pregnancy by influencing the hormones responsible for the menstrual cycle.

How Does It Work?

Let's learn about how hormonal contraceptives work. Different types of hormonal contraceptives work in different ways. Here is a detailed explanation of how hormonal contraceptives work. This helps you choose the right one.

Birth pill: It is the most widely used oral hormonal contraceptive. It is a simple oral medicine that contains a combination of two hormones, namely progesterone and estrogen. The intake of these hormones prevents pregnancy in different ways. These hormones mainly prevent the release of eggs from the ovaries. It also thickens the mucus of the cervix, thereby preventing the entry of sperm. The hormones also lessen the thickness of the uterus, thus preventing the implantation of the fertilized egg. It is important to take this pill every day at the same time for better efficiency. It is taken for 21 days, with a 7-day break in between.

Mini Pill: This is also an oral hormonal contraceptive medicine, and it contains only one hormone, i.e., progestogen. This pill can be used to prevent pregnancy when women cannot tolerate the effects of the combined pill. The hormone present in the pill is responsible for thickening the mucus in the neck of the womb. This makes it difficult for the sperm to travel. It also makes the uterus lining thinner, which prevents pregnancy. Unlike a combined pill, a mini pill must be taken every day without any breaks.

Contraceptive skin patch: This is a hormonal contraceptive method that is less likely to be used. It is a combination hormonal patch that is stuck in the skin. Both estrogen and progesterone hormones are released in the bloodstream, preventing pregnancy just like a combined pill. This patch is used only for 21 days in a 28-day cycle. The patch must be replaced every week so that the contraceptive method is effective.

Vaginal Ring: This is a small, flexible device that is soft. It is transparent and is inserted inside your vagina. There are vaginal rings that must be replaced every month or every year. Both types of rings are placed in the vagina only for 3 weeks and removed during the menstrual period. It can be easily inserted by women without medical assistance. It works similarly to the combined pill, and it contains a combination of hormones. The ring releases the hormone regularly into your body, thus preventing pregnancy.

Contraceptive Implants: This is a small rod that is inserted under the skin. This implant contains a single hormone, progestin, which inhibits pregnancy as the hormone enters the bloodstream. This hormonal contraceptive works just like a mini pill.

Advantages of Hormonal Contraceptives

There are many other advantages to using hormonal contraceptives other than avoiding unnecessary pregnancy.

  • It is completely safe to have sexual intercourse on all days.
  • Women on hormonal contraceptives experience less bleeding and fewer period cramps.
  • It is also said that it protects women from ovarian, cervical, uterine, or colon cancer.
  • It prevents infection of the fallopian tube.
  • Hormonal contraceptives are used to treat polycystic ovaries.
  • Reduces anemia

Side-effects of Hormonal Contraceptives

There are several side effects that women experience due to the use of hormonal contraceptives. The side effects may vary based on the type or method of hormonal contraceptive used.

  • The use of oral contraceptives can result in blood clotting in the veins.
  • It also increases the risk of cervical cancer.
  • Smoking can increase the chance of a heart attack.
  • There are chances of abnormal vaginal bleeding.
  • It is likely to have high blood pressure.
  • It can cause irregular periods.
  • Women may suffer from headaches.

Considerations of Hormonal Contraceptives

It is important to consult a gynecologist before you use hormonal contraceptives. Your medical history can affect the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. The use of other medications can also influence the effectiveness of hormonal contraceptives. Women who suffer from high blood pressure, migraines, or obesity are not recommended for hormonal contraceptives.


1. How do hormonal contraceptives work?

A hormonal contraceptive contains a combination of hormones or a single hormone. It contains progesterone and estrogen. These hormones prevent ovulation. Thus, the ovaries stop releasing eggs and avoid pregnancy. The hormones enter the bloodstream, which thickens the mucus of the cervix and prevents the entry of sperm into the uterus. It also reduces the lining of the uterus. thereby avoiding the implantation of the fertilised egg.

2. How long does hormonal contraception take to work?

Hormonal contraception works immediately when it is taken within five days before the onset of your period. Starting hormonal contraception on any other day requires 7 days for it to work.

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