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Encyclopedia > Hormonal contraception
Hormonal contraception
B.C. type Hormonal
First use 1960
Failure rates (first year)
Perfect use Varies by method: 0.05-2%
Typical use Varies by method: 0.05-9%
Duration effect Various
Reversibility Upon discontinuation
User reminders Must follow usage schedule
Clinic review Every 3-12 months, depending on method
Advantages and Disadvantages
STD protection No
Periods Frequently lighter, for some methods periods may stop altogether
Weight No proven effect

Hormonal contraception refers to birth control methods that act on the hormonal system. For other uses, see Birth control (disambiguation). ... Norepinephrine A hormone (from Greek όρμή - to set in motion) is a chemical messenger from one cell (or group of cells) to another. ...

Currently, all hormonal contraceptives are designed for use by women rather than men, though research on a male hormonal contraceptive (“the male Pill”) has been underway for some time. The Male pill is a colloquial term for a male oral contraceptive. ...

Hormonal contraceptives may be introduced into the woman’s body in many different ways, among them orally, vaginally, transdermally, or through injections or implants. The oral method was the first and most famous of these; within a few years of its introduction in 1960, "the Pill" became one of the most popular contraceptives in the United States and elsewhere, and it remains so today. Year 1960 (MCMLX) was a leap year starting on Friday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Oral contraceptives are contraceptives which are taken orally and inhibit the bodys fertility by chemical means. ...

Hormonal contraception may act in one or more ways to prevent pregnancy. It may cause ovulation to cease, preventing the possibility of fertilization; it may thicken the woman’s cervical mucus, making penetration of the uterus by sperm more difficult; or it may alter and thin the endometrium so that a fertilized egg has difficulty implanting. (Technically, if the drug works in this third fashion, it acts as a contragestive rather than a contraceptive, since it has not prevented conception, acting instead to prevent gestation.) Ovulation is the process in the menstrual cycle by which a mature ovarian follicle ruptures and discharges an ovum (also known as an oocyte, female gamete, or casually, an egg) that participates in reproduction. ... The cervix (from Latin neck) is the lower, narrow portion of the uterus where it joins with the top end of the vagina. ... This article is about female reproductive anatomy. ... The endometrium is the inner membrane of the mammalian uterus. ... Controversy over the beginning of pregnancy usually occurs in the context of the abortion debate. ... The term conception can refer to more than one meaning: Concept Fertilisation This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists pages that might otherwise share the same title. ...


Advantages and disadvantages

Because hormonal contraception represents a large group of diverse products, the advantages and disadvantages differ between different formulations. Generally speaking, if used properly, hormonal contraceptives are highly effective; except for abstinence, vasectomy, and tubal ligation, no other method of birth control has as great a degree of effectiveness. Hormonal contraceptives also allow spontaneous intercourse. Abstinence is a voluntary restraint from indulging a desire or appetite for certain bodily activities that are widely experienced as giving pleasure. ... Vasectomy is a permanent birth control method for men. ... Tubal ligation (informally known as getting ones tubes tied) is a permanent form of female sterilization, in which the fallopian tubes are severed and sealed or pinched shut, in order to prevent fertilization. ...

On the other hand, hormonal contraceptives offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections. Like many other forms of birth control, hormonal contraceptives rely on the woman to use them correctly. Some, such as implants, require relatively little attention; others, such as injections or transdermal patches, require a schedule ranging from a week to several months. Still others—the wide varieties of oral contraception require a daily schedule. For example, many patient information leaflet for these pharmaceuticals suggest using a back up method of birth control if 2 or more doses are missed.[1] Information on the side effects and serious health risks can be located on the specific formulation's patient information leaflet. Finally, artificial contraception is objectionable to some religious traditions. These objections are furthered by the suggested, yet unproven post-fertilisation mode of action of preventing the implantation of a blastocyst. Sexually-transmitted infections (STIs), also known as sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs), are diseases that are commonly transmitted between partners through some form of sexual activity, most commonly vaginal intercourse, oral sex, or anal sex. ... Patient information leaflets (PILs) are leaflets containing information about medical conditions, available services, and treatments. ... A sperm cell fertilizing an ovum This article is about reproduction in organisms. ... The blastocyst is an early stage of the human (or any other mammal) development early in pregnancy. ...

Effects on rates of cancers

There is a mixed effect of combined hormonal contraceptives on the rates of various cancers, with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) concluding that "Combined oral contraceptives are carcinogenic to humans" and that "there is also conclusive evidence that these agents have a protective effect against cancers of the ovary and endometrium":[2] The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC, or CIRC in its French acronym) is an intergovernmental agency forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations. ...

  • The (IARC) note that "the weight of the evidence suggests a small increase in the relative risk for breast cancer among current and recent users" which following discontinuation then lessens over a period of 10 years to similar rates as women who never used them.
  • Small increases are also seen in the rates of cervical cancer and hepatocellular (liver) tumours.
  • Endometrial and ovarian cancer risks are approximately halved and persists for at least 10 years after cessation of use; although "sequential oral contraceptives which were removed from the consumer market in the 1970s was associated with an increased risk for endometrial cancer".
  • Studies have overall not shown effects on the relative risks for colorectal, malignant melanoma or thyroid cancers.
  • Information on progesterone-only pills is less extensive, due to smaller sampling sizes, but they do not appear to significantly increase the risk of breast cancer.[3]
  • Most other forms of hormonal contraception are too new for meaningful data to be available, although risks and benefits are believed to be similar for methods which use the same hormones; e.g., risks for combined-hormone patches are thought to be roughly equivalent to those for combined-hormone pills.[4]

Cervical cancer is a malignant cancer of the cervix. ... Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC, also called hepatoma) is a primary malignancy (cancer) of the liver. ... Endometrial cancer involves cancerous growth of the endometrium (lining of the uterus). ... Ovarian cancer is a malignant tumor (a kind of neoplasm) located on an ovary. ...

Types of Hormonal Contraception

Oral Contraceptives

The Pill redirects here. ... Progesterone Only Pill (POP) are contraceptive pills that only contain progesterone (or, as used in the USA, the term Progestin for synthetic progesterones). ...

Non-surgical devices

  • Contraceptive patch: an adhesive patch containing hormones which is applied to the skin and worn continuously. It is changed each week for three weeks and removed for one week.
  • Contraceptive vaginal ring ("NuvaRing"): a flexible ring containing estrogen and progesterone, it is inserted into the vagina and worn for three continuous weeks, removed for one week, then replaced with a new ring.

A contraceptive patch is a transdermal patch applied to the skin that releases synthetic estrogen and progestin hormones to prevent pregnancy. ... - This is a copy of manufacturers copyrighted patient information leaflet, rather than an encylopedic entry - please edit. ...

Surgical devices

  • Implants: a set of small, flexible rods which contain progesterone, which are implanted under the skin. Norplant, an implant of this type, is being phased out of production, though Implanon, a newer implant, was approved in July of 2006, and Jadelle was approved in 1996.[5]
  • Progesterone IntraUterine System: otherwise known as the IUS, this device is inserted into the uterus by a health care professional, where it continuously releases progesterone. It remains in the uterus for a period of years, as determined by the manufacturer.

An implant is an artificial device made to replace and act as a missing biological structure. ... Norplant is a form of birth control released in 1991 by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, consisting of a set of six small, silicone capsules filled with levonorgestrel, a synthetic progestin used in many birth control pills. ... Implanon, made by Organon International, is a single-rod contraceptive subdermal implant that is inserted just under the skin of a womans upper arm. ... Norplant is a form of birth control developed by the Population Council that was first approved in 1983 in Finland, where it was manufactured by Leiras Oy Pharmaceuticals. ... The IntraUterine System or IUS is an IntraUterine Device (IUD or coil) that has a coating of levonorgestrel (a progesterone) on its shaft, rather than the traditional copper wire. ...


  • Lunelle: a monthly injection of progesterone and estradiol combination, recalled in 2002 and not currently available for sale in the U.S.
  • Depo Provera: an injection of progesterone administered every three months.

Most combined and progesterone-only pills may also be taken in high doses as emergency contraception (also known as the morning after pill). However, unlike plain copper IUDs, hormonal IUS is not approved for emergency contraception. Depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) is a progestogen-only hormonal contraceptive birth control drug which is injected every 3 months. ... Wikinews has related news: FDA to move on approval of over-the-counter sale of Plan B birth control Emergency contraception (EC), or emergency postcoital contraception, refers to contraceptive measures that, if taken after sex, may prevent pregnancy. ...


Main article: Ormeloxifene

Ormeloxifene (a.k.a. Centchroman) is sometimes mistaken for a hormonal contraceptive, probably because it is a pill that prevents pregnancy. Although it may be correctly termed a 'weekly contraceptive pill', it is not a hormonal contraceptive. Ormeloxifene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator, or SERM. It causes ovulation to occur sooner than it normally would, while causing the lining of the uterus to build more slowly, which, together, prevent pregnancy. Ormeloxifene is legally available only in India. This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs) is a class of medication that acts on the estrogen receptor. ...

See also

Centchroman is a non-hormonal, non-steroidal form of birth control that is marketed in India, under the trade names Centron® and Saheli®. Centchroman is a pill which is taken once per week. ... Within the framework of WHOs definition of health[1] as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. ...


  1. ^ Yasmin 28 Tablets, Physician Labeling (PDF). Berlex. Retrieved on 2006-08-16.
  2. ^ International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) (1999). "5. Summary of Data Reported and Evaluation", Oral Contraceptives, Combined, Vol. 72, p49. 
  3. ^ IARC Working Group on the Evaluation of Carcinogenic Risks to Humans (1999). "Hormonal contraceptives, progestogens only", Hormonal contraception and post-menopausal hormonal therapy; IARC monographs on the evaluation of carcinogenic risks to humans, Volume 72. Lyon: IARC Press, pp. 339-397. ISBN 92-832-1272-X. 
  4. ^ McKinley Health Center, University of Illinois: OrthoEvra™ Contraceptive Patch. Retrieved on 2007-07-13.
  5. ^ Jadelle® Implants. Population Council (May 2005). Retrieved on 2006-10-25.

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