The oral contraceptive pill

The oral contraceptive pill (OCP) is that little hormone pill you take every day that stops you getting pregnant and/or helps to manage hormone fluctuations that can cause bad premenstrual syndrome (PMS), acne, or other conditions such as endometriosis. It contains progestin and various forms of oestrogen. This is the combined oral contraceptive pill (COCP). It comes in a packet with the days of the week on it, so you can remember what day you are up to.

The OCP has a 7-day sugar pill dose per 21 hormone pills (for a 28-day cycle), which contains no hormones and causes what’s known as ‘breakthrough bleeding’. This is meant to look and feel like a period, but it is not a real period because you haven’t ovulated (and the hormone cascade doesn’t exist that causes ovulation and your period), but instead a false ‘period’ occurs to make a woman think she has had a period, and feel more comfortable and ‘normal’.

It is up for debate as to what is safer – to have a period or not have a period – but it is believed that you can run several pill packets together without harm, though you may get breakthrough bleeding after one or two cycles which can be really inconvenient.

The hormones are all very slightly molecularly different from each other (to allow patents). This is why if one doesn’t work for you, another one might.

     The pill and your sex drive (remember that old thing?)

Ironically, the pill is famous for causing women to lose their sex drives. It is also famous for numbing, blanking and generally causing a woman to become a slight shadow of her former self. (A non-pregnant shadow.)

     The pill and gut bacteria

The pill kills your good bacteria in the gut on contact, which then decreases the amount of friendly microbes you have to fight off other germs in your gut and vagina.