Is the pill dangerous for your health?

La pilule est-elle dangereuse pour la santé ?

When was the birth control pill invented?

It was in 1956 that the American doctor Gregory Pincus developed the contraceptive pill. In 1967, it was authorized in France. Its arrival on the market was a real revolution for women: it was synonymous with sexual liberation, since at the time illegal abortions were still numerous (before the latter was legalized in 1975).

At the beginning, the pill was not reimbursed by the social security (it was only in 1974 that it was). In 1999, the morning-after pill was introduced. The pill became the most widely used method of contraception, with many advantages: it is a very simple method of contraception to take, with an effectiveness rate of about 99% if taken properly.

The first generation pills were the first to appear. Highly dosed in estrogen, they had many side effects such as nausea, headaches, breast swelling and vascular disorders. A few years later, 3 new generations of pills appeared on the market. The aim was to reduce the side effects of the first generation pill as much as possible. Nevertheless, each generation of the pill carries a risk of venous thrombosis, and this risk is even higher with the 3rd and 4th generation pills.

Why is the birth control pill controversial?

It is at the end of 2012, beginning of 2013 that the pill (especially the 3rd and 4th generation pills) will undergo many controversies, after the complaint of a user who suffered a stroke.

From 2000 to 2016, there was a 20%* decrease in the use of the pill in France. Among the reasons that push women to stop taking the pill, we find, for some, the constraint of having to remember to take a medication every day, but also the benign side effects but which prove to be constraining on a daily basis, such as headaches, weight gain, mood change, spotting etc... The decrease in libido is also a frequent side effect that pushes many women to stop taking the pill. The above-mentioned side effects are the most common, and it is estimated that they occur in one woman out of 10.

For others, it is simply the desire to get back to their natural cycles, to no longer ingest hormones that pushes them to change their method of contraception. In fact, reconnecting to your natural cycle is to offer yourself the possibility of knowing yourself, of knowing when you are most productive, when you are most suitable for a particular activity. Because our emotions and energy vary according to our cycle.

Is the pill really dangerous?

With the controversy surrounding the 3rd and 4th generation pills, the French National Agency for the Safety of Medicines and Health Care recommended that all health professionals prescribe 2nd generation pills as a priority, except in special cases. If a 3rd or 4th generation pill is prescribed, personal and family history must be looked at to assess all potential risks. In January 2013, the French social security system stopped reimbursing certain 3rd and 4th generation pills.

Although the list of adverse effects of the pill is long and mild side effects are common, it should be noted that the risk of thrombosis (rare serious side effects) is only 0.06%*. The national drug agency estimates that there are 2,500 thromboembolic accidents per year. The benefit (contraceptive efficacy of 99.7%) far outweighs the risks, but the cardiovascular risks must be taken into account when taking the contraceptive pill. It is important to have all the information in hand to make an informed choice.

Which contraception to choose? How to choose your contraception?

The objective is not to put the pill on trial, but rather to inform about the advantages and disadvantages of this little pill that thousands of French women swallow every day. A method of contraception is personal: the pill may well suit you and not cause you too many side effects, while your sister will prefer an IUD! It's up to you to choose what you prefer! The best contraception is the one that suits YOU! To discuss your choice of contraceptive method, talk to your partner: it's a choice that is made together. Don't hesitate to ask a health professional about the different alternatives available: doctor, gynecologist or midwife. Today, there are many alternatives to the pill, including hormonal contraceptives such as the implant (which may be suitable for those who tend to forget to take their pill), the patch, the vaginal ring, hormonal IUD, etc... There are also non-hormonal methods such as the copper IUD, various cycle observation methods, symptothermia, condoms (male and female) .... Male contraceptive methods are also emerging: it may be worthwhile to find out more about them.

It is up to you to determine which criterion is most important to you, as each contraceptive method has its advantages and disadvantages:

  • effectiveness rate
  • frequency of use
  • price (reimbursed or not)
  • hormones or not
  • duration of use
  • protection against STIs and STDs

If you want to know more:

Sabrina Debusquat - I stop the pill", 2017

For all non-menstrual losses and for those who do not have a period, Elia offers a collection of comfortable menstrual panties made of organic cotton, invisible under clothing.

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Les informations issues des articles présents sur le site sont des informations générales. Bien qu’elles aient été relues par des professionnels de santé, ces informations ne sont pas exemptes d’erreurs, ne constituent pas des conseils de santé ou des consultations et n’ont pas vocation à fournir un diagnostic ou proposer un traitement. Ces informations ne peuvent, en aucun cas, se substituer à un avis médical et ne peuvent pas remplacer une consultation auprès d’un professionnel de santé. Pour toute question, nous vous invitons à consulter votre médecin.