Birth Control (Contraception) Community
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Avatar universal

questioning the efficacy of the pill

I should start out that I've never really trusted the pill.

I've been using ortho-tricyclen for years.  I remember when I first started on ortho-tricyclen, the prescribing doctor asked many questions to try to get a feel for which brand would be most effective.  I recently moved out of the country, and thus my brand isn't available here.  The doctor I spoke with didn't ask any qualifying questions and wrote me a prescription for a common pill used here.  I am into my second cycle using this brand.  I didn't have intercourse last month and I'm ten days into my cycle this month.  I had sex with my partner 4 days ago without a condom.  Last night I woke up in the middle of the night feeling cramping that usually comes just a day or two before my period, but I haven't experienced any bleeding today.  Should I be concerned about reduced effectiveness with this new pill?
8 Responses
661650 tn?1302286158
i wouldn't worry about switching, but you should def read up on what the pill does why they say it is 99% accurate, it really isn't there is always a chance you can become become preg and ovulate. Read this article i found, the only reason i looked into it was because i had a 1 week mc, they call it a chemical pregnancy. I believe since the pill was still in my system is aborted the baby, by not letting it implant. Im not telling women not to take the pill, but since there is a chance you ovulate anyway, what happ when you miss days, women do not understand the importance of not missing a pill and what it could do.

The Mechanisms

According to definition, an effective contraceptive would absolutely prevent conception--it would suppress or inhibit ovulation, making it impossible for sperm to meet with eggs. The only products falling into this category are jellies and foams--spermicides--and condoms. (Diaphragms are considered a mechanical barrier and not true contraceptives. But they are not abortifacients either.

Today's birth control pills are not the same "Pill" of the 1960s. That first pill with its high dose of hormones did prevent ovulation in the majority but not all) of its users, and conception. In the mid-'70s, because of the dangerous side effects associated with the high-dose "Pill." the pharmaceutical companies started reducing the doses of the hormones estrogen and progestin from 150 micrograms down to 35 micrograms by 1988. Now'. some are as low as 20 micrograms.

BCPs today work in one of three ways: by suppressing or inhibiting ovulation so that fertilization is impeded: altering cervical mucus to reduce sperm migration: or via a backup mechanism that prevents implantation of the newly conceived human life in the lining of the womb by creating a chemically hostile environment, sometimes called a post-fertilization effect In 1994, Dr. Thomas Hilgers, a respected fertility specialist and clinical professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Creighton University School of Medicine. said. "All birth control pills available have a mechanism which disturbs or disintegrates the lining of the uterus to the extent that the possibility of abortion exists when break-through ovulation occurs." (Break-through ovulation is the term used when the contraceptive component of the pill has failed, allowing ovulation and therefore conception to take place.)

Pharmaceutical company statements, medical textbooks, doctors, scientists, and even the government show total agreement when it comes to the abortifacient nature of the backup mechanism. Dr. Leon Speroff, the nation's premier contraceptive expert and advocate, in his paper A Clinical Guide for Contraception, says about BCPs, "The progestin in the combination pill produces an endometrium which is not receptive to ovum implantation, a decidualized bed with exhausted and atrophied glands." Dutch gynecologist Dr. Nine Van Der Vange of the Society for Advancement in Contraception said, "The contraceptive preparations are more complex than has been thought. They are not only based on inhibition of ovulation."

Searle, Ortho, and Wyeth-Ayerst, major manufacturers of BCPs, admit in the fine print of some of their package inserts that alterations in the endometrium (uterine lining) reduce the likelihood of "implantation" of the already conceived embryo. Wyeth-Ayerst says its product maximizes protection "by causing endometrial changes that will not support implantation." The Food and Drug Administration reported as early as 1976 that the pill changed "the characteristics of the uterus so that it is not receptive to a fertilized egg." And a standard medical reference, Danforth's Obstetrics and Gynecology, states, "The production of glycogen by the endometrial glands is diminished by the ingestion of oral contraceptives, which impairs the survival of the blastocyst in the uterine cavity." A blastocyst refers to a newly conceived human being.

While it is difficult to quantify the postfertilization effects of BCPs due to the failure of the contraceptive component, there is scientific research available to support the thesis that chemically induced abortions are probable. Dr. Van Der Vange conducted an award-winning study and showed, from research based on ultrasound exams and hormonal indicators, a 4.7 percent rate of breakthrough ovulation occurring in women who were given high-dose pills. Dr. Don Gambrell, Jr., a gynecological endocrinologist at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, noted a 14-percent incidence of breakthrough ovulation in women taking the relatively low dose 50-microgram BCPs in his research. Of course, the greater the rate of breakthrough ovulation, the greater the chance that the postfertilization mechanism would kick in to end the pregnancy.

Dr. Bogomir M. Kuhar, a doctor of pharmacy and director of Pharmacists for Life International, cited numerous studies by experts and pharmaceutical companies in his paper Infant Homicides Through Contraception. Dr. Kuhar concluded that the average rate of breakthrough ovulation due to a number of factors is between two percent and 10 percent per cycle. By factoring in a 25-percent overall conception rate for normally fertile couples per cycle with a user estimate of 13.9 million (Kuhar's article was written in 1993 so the user estimate might be lower than today's), and multiplying them, he deduced a two-percent rate would yield the potential for 69,500 chemical abortions per cycle or 834,000 per year, while the 10-percent rate would yield 347,500 per cycle or 4,171,000 chemical abortions per year--almost all of them due to the pill's abortifacient mechanisms. (Other factors such as naturally occurring miscarriages and surprise pregnancies would have some impact on the numbers.)

The longer-lasting (three months) Depo-Provera injection acts by altering the lining of the uterus, preventing implantation of the newly conceived life. Based on one million users with an ovulation rate of 40 to 60 percent, combined with a 25-percent conception rate, yields either 1.2 million chemical abortions per year, or on the higher end, 1.8 million a year. The popular Norplant, a subdermal implant of six tiny rods containing only progestin, acts up to five years as an abortifacient. With an ovulation rate of 50 to 60 percent, 2,250,000 to 2,925,000 chemical abortions might be the result.

The newer "mini-pill" uses only progestin as well, and is often given to postpartum women who are nursing their babies. Ovulation is estimated at taking place 67 to 81 percent of the time making the possibility of postfertilization effects high.

Homicidal Deception?

One thing is certain: there is no data that denies the existence of a potential post-conceptional effect; it simply cannot be ruled out. And there is evidence concerning a causal link between hormonal birth control and abortion, but nothing definitive. With the approval of RU-486 and methotrexate, both "morning after" drugs that kill the unborn swiftly and mercilessly, plus all 44 varieties of BCPs, implantable and injectable-style drugs, and the new "vaccines," the number of surgical abortions could now pale in comparison to the chemically aborted.
Avatar universal
Thanks for that link.  I see what you mean about the method of action of the pill.  I could see where some people could have ethical dilemmas with the information provided in that article, however, i'm not one of them.  In order for a pregnancy to be viable, the fertilized egg has to implant.  I am not interested in getting into a moral or ethical discussion, so as long as the 99.99% chance (when used correctly) refers to the chance of limiting the growth of a fetus without having to bring in the stress of contemplating a surgical abortion, I don't care whether it prevents the development at the ovulation stage or post-fertilization stage/implantation stage.  

I went in and spoke with my doctor today.  He essentially quoted me the stats i'd already looked up and said when used correctly, the new brand of pill works just as effectively as any other pill.  I suppose the differences in pill brands just differ with various side-effects that people can handle.  

Thank you for the reply penggal :)
661650 tn?1302286158
NO prob, im just spreading the word, i also don't care about getting into any heated moral discussions, i just think women do have the right to know how the pill works. It will also deter them from messing up the pill, i used to mess it up all the time, granted i new i could get preg, but what i didn't know was if i did get preg that the baby would most likely result in a Chemical Preg early mc which is what i had. So really it is just an FYI, it is amazing how women are so un educated including myself about how the pill works and what could happ and your period not being a real period. But the Dr and Pill companies kinda want it that way, everyone has to make money. Ok well enough of that, have a nice night. Good luck with everything!!
Avatar universal
Thanks again for the information.  I really didn't know how the pill actually worked except vaguely messing with the hormones.  I like knowing specifics and it makes me feel better when I know what exactly is going on and the mechanism of action of medications.   Thanks for responding and sharing your knowledge.  :)
172023 tn?1334675884
The pill does not abort a fertilized, implanted embryo.  That much is very well known about the pill.  

Taken as directed, one every day at or near the same time of day, you should not have any worries.  

However, as with any method of birth control, 99% effective is not 100% effective.  If you miss a period, take a sensitive pregnancy test using a first morning urine.  If negative, repeat in several days if you still don't get your period.  

Best of luck,

661650 tn?1302286158
I never said it Aborted a fertalized Embryo, It PREVENTS the EMBRYO from implanting there for aborting. Conception is diff to everyone, and used to always be conception was the day the egg met the sperm, with BC pills this can still happ, but rarely, and if it does they design the pill to abort the concieved child by not allowing it to implant in your uterus because your linning of your uterus is too thin. The pill is only 99 % accuarate because it wont allow you to keep or carry or even wind up with a child, women do not know this is even happending. This happ to me so i know. I got preg while on the pill and the state in which the pill puts your uterus in, if getting preg, whether it is my fault or the pills, either way will not allow the already conceived child, which is why i got a POS preg test to keep. That is why my dr said i had a Chemical Pregnancy, which is a REAL early MC, i was prob like 1 week preg, my baby or what ever you would call it was not able to go to the next step based off of the pill. These are not the kind of things that Dr and Pill companies really want you to know, they do not break down to you how the pill works they just tell you the end result which is you will not wind up with a baby and this is true.
Avatar universal
I think you two might be arguing the same point.  I think it gets tricky when you throw the word, "abort" in there, but i do understand what you were saying.  the sperm met the egg, released the pregnancy hormones that showed up on the test but just wasn't able to implant and thus, no true pregnancy.  However, if the fertilized egg does implant, further use of the pill can't do anything about this.  

I think for me, 99.9% effective are good odds (knowing I take the pill correctly) - the user error percentage of 97% is not okay with me.  If i end up in the 0.01% group, i'll have some thinking to do - that little bugger was trying very hard :)

Thanks for taking your time to help educate me (more than my doctor had even when i asked) and now that I know the triple methods of action of the pill, i'm a fair bit more comfortable trusting it.  Thank you both.  Kindly.
661650 tn?1302286158
No it is a true pregnancy and a true MC, if you look up chemical pregnancy, this means you mc really early on. Other then that you got it. And it is a Abortive mean, but it is not like you know about it. Abort is also used in late MC, the word abort should not offend anyone or be taken the wrong way, it is what it is. Also the 99% is inacurrate, since a small percentage of women have break through ovulation more then 1% the thing is you do not know about it, you early preg comes and goes with your AF, that is how early the preg is, which is why you wont know about which is why pill companies can through the numbers 99%, but it is not true. I think there is like a 5% chance if on a reg pill to have break through ovulation, and i think higher with girls on low does pills, why do you think they don't just put everyone on a low dose right off the bat? there is a reason for that. Damage control. See back a long time ago the estrogen in pills was soo high like 150mg or what ever it is, and people were getting sick so they had to lower it a lot, so what was happ was girls were having break through ovulation, so what pill companies and OBGYN's did was change the time of conception from when the egg met the sperm to fertilization, and they i believe added progestrone, which i believe is what does not let the already conceieve baby not be able to implant in the linng of your uterus. This all happ so soon that know one knows it happ. me on the other hand i didnt get a period and was forced to take a much earlier test then normal catching my chemical preg. It is complicated, im not saying that people should not take the pill im just saying dr, should explain how it really works. But thanks for trying to understand, ttyl

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